Spotlight on Red Burgundy: Henri Boillot Volnay “Clos de la Rougeotte” Premier Cru 2006

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In wine there is constant tension between preference and quality. Not only subjective by nature (as involving taste), but also prone to alter one’s state of mind, wine belies objective assessment even as it has objective qualities. It is also odd to analyze an experience that we desire for its subjective pleasures using objective criteria. Nonetheless, the debate rages (or whimpers) on with the cognoscenti on which wines are qualitatively best.

With luck, Volnay offers me an easy out. A confluence of my personal preferences with clear objective quality render Volnay one of my highest recommended villages of Burgundy. These are wines of delicacy and fully formed, highly complex aromatics. It is Volnay first before Pinot Noir: the inimitable master of the Cote de Beaune.

Is Truth White or Red?

Volnay’s brilliant red-wine territory creates a ven-diagram with white Burgundy’s great Meursault terroir, with vineyards overlapping between the two for a ways. Ironically, Volnay is to red Burgundy contrary to how Meursault is to white Burgundy. That is, delicacy, finesse, lightness – the Chambolle of the southern Cote d’Or. This contrasts with Meursault’s famed power and richness. Is this simply due to the differing reaction of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay to climate? Or is there a deeper, more transparent relationship between Pinot Noir and Volnay’s limestone soils? The mystery remains.

As for this wine, the Clos de la Rougeotte is a little known monopole climat located in the premier cru known as “Le Village”, a spattering of vineyards surrounding the town of Volnay towards the south. In the hands of Henri Boillot, the terroir shines.

Delicacy and Style

Henri Boillot has risen to be one of the top producers in Burgundy. After inheritance battles with his brothers, Henri took over many of the vines from Domaine Jean Boillot (located in Volnay) and merged it with his micro-negocient business under the name Henri Boillot. Quality has been steadily increasing. Boillot’s Volnays in particular are becoming some of the top reds of the village, though still in the shadow of the great Marquis d’Angerville and Michel Lafarge.

Boillot makes wine in a modern, restrained style. The wines are clean and sexy: vinification includes de-stemming, cold maceration, and 50-70 percent new oak.

This 2006 Clos de la Rougeotte again proves that 2006 is one of the great underrated vintages of the decade. The wine is fully open and beautiful with vibrant ripe cherry, minerals and an intensity that flows up through the sinuses and directly into the brain. An expressive, delicate wine that is also fundamentally delicious; soft textured, a long, balanced finish, why anything more?

Excellent to Excellent+
~$120 At kits

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