Neal Martin, Vinous
Jasper Morris MW, insideburgundy.com (December 2020)
About this WINE
Domaine Bitouzet-Prieur – along with current winemaker François – was born of the marriage of Vincent Bitouzet (of Volnay) and Ann Prieur (of Meusault), bringing together two distinguished Burgundian families.
The domaine has a red cellar next door to Lafarge (who are distant cousins) and a white cellar in Meursault, with reds making up approximately 60 percent of production.
The estate’s notable vineyard holdings include a selection of the finest Premier Cru sites in Volnay and Meursault. The whites are elegant and restrained, rather than being broad-shouldered, old-fashioned Meursault. The reds are de-stemmed, with new oak kept to a modest level.
The finest and most elegant red wines of the Côte de Beaune are grown in Volnay, a village which might be twinned with Chambolle- Musigny in the Côte de Nuits, for the high active chalk content in the soil and comparatively low clay content.Whereas in earlier times Volnay was made in a particularly light, early drinking style, these days there are many producers making wines which age extremely well. The best vineyards run either side of the RN73 trunk road.
Pinot Noir is probably the most frustrating, and at times infuriating, wine grape in the world. However when it is successful, it can produce some of the most sublime wines known to man. This thin-skinned grape which grows in small, tight bunches performs well on well-drained, deepish limestone based subsoils as are found on Burgundy's Côte d'Or.
Pinot Noir is more susceptible than other varieties to over cropping - concentration and varietal character disappear rapidly if yields are excessive and yields as little as 25hl/ha are the norm for some climats of the Côte d`Or.
Because of the thinness of the skins, Pinot Noir wines are lighter in colour, body and tannins. However the best wines have grip, complexity and an intensity of fruit seldom found in wine from other grapes. Young Pinot Noir can smell almost sweet, redolent with freshly crushed raspberries, cherries and redcurrants. When mature, the best wines develop a sensuous, silky mouth feel with the fruit flavours deepening and gamey "sous-bois" nuances emerging.
The best examples are still found in Burgundy, although Pinot Noir`s key role in Champagne should not be forgotten. It is grown throughout the world with notable success in the Carneros and Russian River Valley districts of California, and the Martinborough and Central Otago regions of New Zealand.