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Average critic rating : 91.0 points
The 2012 Volnay 1er Cru Carelles lies next to Les Champans and consists mainly of small plots, ergo it is not often bottled separately. There are four barrels this year. “It is my favorite plot,” enthused Jean-Marc. “It has big chalky rocks underground so it is early ripening, warm with little wind. It is usually very sweet.” It has a tight, perhaps laconic bouquet at the moment with faint scents of blackberry and dark plum fruit. The palate is much more expressive with ripe red berry fruit, superb mineralite and wonderful linearity on the chalky, mouth-gripping finish. Once the nose opens up, this will be superb. ||Something has changed since I last met Thomas Bouley three years ago. What is it? The spring in his step or the firmness of his handshake? The maturity in his face? The answer does not take her eyes off me for the entire duration of my tasting on their first floor living room. The answer is fatherhood. Considering Thomas joined the club what doubtlessly feels like a very distant 4-months ago, he appears surprisingly un-fatigued given both the duties of newborn parents, on top of newborn successive tumultuous seasons for a grower whose vines lay directly in hail’s firing line. What did Thomas do when his vitis vinifera was cruelly machine-gunned with ice? “I cried,” he replied. “On the 30th of June, the hail came from the direction of La Rochepot, through Monthelie and then through the higher vineyards in Volnay such as Clos des Chene, Les Cailleret and Champans and onwards up to Pommard and Beaune. We suffered a 30-40% loss. Then there was a second hailstorm on the first of August. This caused less damage, perhaps between 5-10%. At least we could look forward to next year...then 2013 happened.” His father Jean-Marc had done 48 vintages but had never witnessed anything approaching what happened in 2012. Consequently, the average yield at this domaine is just 14.5 hectoliters per hectare. At least the damage was early in the season. The fruit that was cropped seemed healthy with thick skins. Thomas likes to keep the natural CO2 to protect the maturing wine to minimize the use of sulfur as he prefers his wines to be open and “ready for business” once they are released. He plans to possibly extend the elevage in 2012 and keep them in wood for around two years depending on the cuvee. All the samples were taken directly from barrel the wines having not been racked. Just as I feel that Thomas has matured as a person, so I feel he is more assured about his wines that surely deserve a higher profile. Despite the disaster, he has managed to produce an impressive and to use that banal word, delicious, set of 2012s that come highly recommended. His policy of combining climats traditionally bottled separately was an astute move. eRobertParker.com.December, 2013
Domaine Jean Marc Bouley was created in 1974 with just over 6 hectares of wine after training with his father on the family estate that was created in 1948. By 1984 this original domain had extended to over 27 hectares with a further 15 when his father passed away. Jean-Marc now runs 21 hecatres in total with his son Thomas. They believe in controlled yields, limited chemicals and vines averaging 50 years of age. After two to three fermentation the wines go into wood to age. White wines will age in oak on their lees and will be stirred 2 to 4 times a month. Red wines will age in oak for an average of 12 to 18 months, white wines for 8 to 16 months. Volnay and Pommard are the main communes the domain works.
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