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Average critic rating : 90.0 points
Like the corresponding Les Chaumees, his 2007 Chassagne-Montrachet Les Chenevottes reflects – according to Boillot – the northerly, high-altitude sector of Chassagne that is most exciting in this vintage. Refinement and a long line characterize this subtly mineral (saline, chalky, crustacean) yet at the same time effusively fruity (peach, apple, and pineapple) wine that finishes with liveliness and cut (promoted in part by a hint of rhubarb). Hints of toasted brioche and almond lend a suggestion of richness. Here too, I fancy the wine being best enjoyed over the next 3-4 years, but perhaps – as Boillot would have me believe – I am underestimating its underlying stamina. Incidentally, the 40% new wood used here is not at all detectable as such, just as I find myself not thinking about oak in tasting the other wines in this collection. ||As explained in my report in issue 180, Henri Boillot’s domaine is now legally known by his name rather than that of his father Jean, and is thus eponymous with his negociant business. Furthermore, given what seems to be a stylistic convergence as well as given Boillot's own preference in presenting his wines this year, I have folded together the coverage of these two entities, noting in the text of my notes those wines that come from the domaine. Boillot did not begin picking until the second week in September, harvesting fruit that he reported required only occasional, minimal chaptalization and had higher tartaric than malic acid, in contrast to their proportions in 2008. Since Boillot managed to achieve his ideals of “precision and minerality” even in the ripe 2006 vintage, it will come as no surprise that they have been brilliantly achieved in 2007. A preference for volume of healthy lees rather than their stirring and (as mentioned in my report on his 2006s) the utilization of 350-liter barrels rather than barriques are surely among the factors that permit these wines to marry richness with refreshment and clarity. On the other hand, even the wines of lesser appellation that receive less barrel exposure are still given extended time on their fine lees in tank before bottling, Boillot being a believer that "time is of the essence" to great white Burgundy, not in the proverbial sense but rather in that of taking enough if it. eRobertParker.com.December, 2009
Henri Boillot: The Importance
“He has arguably become the finest pure négoce specializing in white burgundy today; yes there are other very fine négociants but the huge majority of them are really domaines hidden inside a "maison" facade that buy in fruit or must to supplement their proprietary wines. And to have done it with the speed that Boillot has is nothing other than spectacular.” Allen Meadows’ judgement here is in fact representative of most critics’ attitude to Henri Boillot’s remarkable wines, and it sums up the attitude to Boillot shared by those in the know. In recent vintages the wines have also gathered superlative reviews from Neil Martin, Steven Tanzer and Antonio Galloni, the latter observing that “a number of the more modestly priced wines far exceed the quality of their respective appellations,” reflecting the perfectionist approach of their maker.
Henri Boillot: The Insight
The stars of the show are the Montrachet, Bâtard-Montrachet and Chevalier-Montrachet Grands Crus. Some of the plots are Henri’s own proprietary ones, while others are leased from growers, but perhaps more than any other négociant, Henri Boillot is proud to regard his leased vines just the same as his own and he spares no expense on their maintenance. The top sites here, particularly the vines based on the Puligny side of the appellation, and indeed the Puligny-Montrachet AC itself, have gone from strength to strength in Boillot’s hands, receiving unanimous approval from all the major critics in every vintage. Further down the Côte de Beaune, Boillot has had spectacular results making Meursault and Corton Grands Crus.
Like many great white Burgundy makers, Boillot also makes outstandingly good wines in the Côte-de-Beaune villages traditionally devoted to the Pinot Noir grape: Pommard and Volnay. These wines show distinctive red fruit and offer excellent expressions at the Village level, while the Volnay Premier Cru Les Caillerets and Pommard Premier Cru Les Rugiens stand head and shoulders above the rest, rivalling top producers such as the Marquis d’Angerville and Michel Lafarge.
As mentioned above, most critics are seriously enthusiastic about all of Boillot’s production, and Galloni is not alone in finding that “the entry-level wines in particular offer fabulous value.” Even the Bourgogne Blanc receives much the same treatment as the top Premier Crus, that is to say an extended barrel maturation on healthy lees (but no stirring), albeit in a lesser proportion of new oak. Typically Boillot uses 350 litre barrels for the overwhelming majority of his wines and about 50% percent of the wood is new for his Premier Crus.
Henri Boillot: The Background
On taking full control of the family estate, Domaine Jean Boillot, in 2005, winemaker Henri Boillot became renowned for the sheer quality of his wines in record time, using a multitude of excellent parcels, with vines often more than 60 years old. He renamed the estate Domaine Henri Boillot soon after taking it over to eliminate confusion with his brother’s estate, Domaine Jean-Marc Boillot.
Henri Boillot's son Guillaume is now overseeing the production of the reds. According to Allen Meadows, “the younger Boillot … is already displaying an unusually sure touch for someone so young.”
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