Neal Martin, vinous.com (July 2021)
Julia Harding MW, jancisobinson.com (January 2019)
About this WINE
Jean Marc Boillot
Jean-Marc Boillot is a grandson of Etienne Sauzet, and was previously winemaker for Olivier Leflaive. With that mixture of winemaking pedigree and experience it comes as no surprise that Jean-Marc Boillot makes sensational wines. He is one of those rare commodities in Burgundy, a winemaker who produces both red and white wines of the highest quality. Now assisted by daughter Lydie and son Benjamin, Jean-Marc Boillot set up his own domaine in 1985. He started with some rented vines in Pommard, adding Volnay and Pommard from his grandfather’s side in 1988 and the whites, a one-third share of Domaine Etienne Sauzet, from his grandmother in 1991. Including generic burgundy, the domaine now exploits 11 hectares, five red and six white, with the same volume again in négociant cuvées of white wines, especially from the Côte Chalonnaise.
Jean-Marc Boillot now has 10.5 hectares of vines in the Côte de Beaune which include vineyards previously owned by Domaine Sauzet in Puligny. He is a stocky, fit, energetic man who does not waste time with words, instead allowing his wines to speak for themselves.His reds are rich, rounded and exhibit great purity of fruit, his white wines are characterised by their huge concentration, class and wonderful expression of their terroir.
All the whites, except the grand cru, are vinified in the same way: whole-bunch pressed, settled for 24 hours then straight to barrel with 25 to 30 per cent new wood, lees-stirring once a week and bottling before the next harvest. They are pure, fresh, attractive wines. The reds are entirely destalked, given a cool soak before the fermentation begins after which a mix of punching down and pumping over is used according to the vintage and vineyard. Thirteen months barrel ageing, with 50 per cent new barrels, is followed by a further six months maturation in tank before bottling. The reds show a bright combination between fruit and barrel, good for medium-term ageing.
Jasper Morris MW, Burgundy Wine Director and author of the award-winning Inside Burgundy comprehensive handbook.
Puligny was one of two villages (along with Chassagne) which gained permission in 1879 to hyphenate the name of its most famous vineyard, Montrachet, to its own.
The reputation of Puligny-Montrachet is based around its four Grands Crus. Montrachet labels often boast a noble, triumphant ‘Le’ in front of its name, lest you dare confuse it with any lesser wine. It has much to be proud of, with many considering Montrachet to be the greatest white wine in the world. At its best it has an intensity, complexity and elegance that make you wonder how such a wine could be made from mere grapes.
The luxurious and explosive Chevalier-Montrachet is not quite as deep, although it is probably the next best. Only marginally less impressive, and rather more consistent than Montrachet is the richly textured Bâtard-Montrachet (also shared with Chassagne). Bienvenues-Bâtard-Montrachet is equally good, with the focus on honeyed finesse and exquisite balance rather than richness.
These legendary wines are supported by a host of fabulous Premier Cru vineyards capable of reaching Grand Cru quality. Brimming with flavour and intensity, Le Cailleret and Les Pucelles (which both lie across the road from Le Montrachet) are prime candidates, along with Les Demoiselles, Les Combettes and Folatières.
Sandwiched between the larger Chassagne and Meursault, Puligny produces wines that are more striking than any in the Côte d’Or, portraying a floral elegance alongside a stylish, steely concentration. They are very different to Meursault: more refined and delicate, and less rich.
Village level Puligny-Montrachet from top growers can be very good indeed, but is all too often unexciting and disappointing. Grands Crus normally need at least eight years before they can be broached, and last for 20 or more. Premiers Crus should generally be enjoyed between five and 15 years of age; village wines from three to 10 years.
In theory, you can find red Puligny-Montrachet, but it scarcely exists anymore, and is rarely worth the price tag.
- 114 hectares of village Puligny-Montrachet
- 100 hectares of Premier Cru vineyards (17 in all). The best vineyards include Les Demoiselles, Le Cailleret, Les Pucelles, Les Combettes, Les Folatières
- 21 hectares of Grand Cru vineyards: Le Montrachet (part), Chevalier-Montrachet, Bâtard-Montrachet (part), Bienvenues-Bâtard-Montrachet
- Recommended Producers: Leflaive, Carillon
- Recommended Restaurant: Le Montrachet (excellent cuisine and good wine list; also an hotel)
Chardonnay is the "Big Daddy" of white wine grapes and one of the most widely planted in the world. It is suited to a wide variety of soils, though it excels in soils with a high limestone content as found in Champagne, Chablis, and the Côte D`Or.
Burgundy is Chardonnay's spiritual home and the best White Burgundies are dry, rich, honeyed wines with marvellous poise, elegance and balance. They are unquestionably the finest dry white wines in the world. Chardonnay plays a crucial role in the Champagne blend, providing structure and finesse, and is the sole grape in Blanc de Blancs.
It is quantitatively important in California and Australia, is widely planted in Chile and South Africa, and is the second most widely planted grape in New Zealand. In warm climates Chardonnay has a tendency to develop very high sugar levels during the final stages of ripening and this can occur at the expense of acidity. Late picking is a common problem and can result in blowsy and flabby wines that lack structure and definition.
Recently in the New World, we have seen a move towards more elegant, better- balanced and less oak-driven Chardonnays, and this is to be welcomed.