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2020 Vintage was a delight as both winegrower and winemaker.

It is with great sadness and emotion that I am writing these few lines summarising my 35 years of winemaking; unfortunately, 2020 will be my finalcreation and my last vintage. Ending on a 2020 vintage is rather amusing, but for me a feeling of melancholy dominates.

We must give way to the future generation; my son Guillaume, who has been in charge of the red wine vinification since 2012 and who has beendoing a great job, has decided to also take over the vinification of the atypical and delicate 2021 white wine vintage.

This generation seems to know everything and has refused to take my advice, so I hope that the great work will continue and that the new white wines will continue to bring you the same pleasure and emotions as before.

I will now tell you about the 2020 vintage.

It was a delight as both winegrower and winemaker. Unfortunately, and as usual, we didn’t have a winter; December, January and February were mild and very humid. March and April were hot and dry with a slight risk of frost but thanks to preventative measures, the buds were not affected. End of May saw flowering in excellent conditions. The summer experienced excellent climatic conditions featuring heat, sunlight and a few drops of rain; the holy trinity to a fine vintage.

The start of the harvest on 25 August also had remarkable conditions.

Here are my first thoughts on the 2020 whites before I will share with you the technical sheets of each appellation.

These whites are dynamic and very precise with great purity and mineral precision. On the nose very ripe yellow fruit with aniseed undertones. Rich but not heavy, with punch and a saline finish. I adore this vintage for its fine quality and emotional experience.

The 2020 reds continue in the style of the 2018- 2019 vintages. Very deep colours, black berries on the nose with stronger tannins than the previous two vintages. A fine wine to lay down.

And now it is time for me to put down my pen; the future belongs to Guillaume.

But I may still have the pleasure of meeting you when you visit the Domaine.

It was an honour to have served you throughout these years.

 

Overall, 2018 was a generous vintage.

In the past few years the Burgundian winter has been getting milder and milder. Unfortunately for the vegetation and ground, there has therefore not been enough frost this year to cleanse and loosen the soil.

January and February were mild and very humid. Thanks to its usual glow, March quickly dried the ground and its warmth awoke the vegetation. April was hot and dry and the vines started to shoot out. Fortunately this year there was no frost, in contrast to the previous two years. 

June was very hot and dry. Blossoming occurred smoothly and very quickly. July and August experienced great heatwaves. Harvest began on August 27th in perfect warm and dry conditions.

I began by harvesting the Volnay reds, as this area is one of the first to be ready since global warming started to have an affect. We then continued with the whites in Meursault, then Puligny-Montrachet and Corton, and finally Pommard. A few days later we harvested the Grands Crus in the Côte de Nuits.

The 2018 white wines make me think of those from 2009 and 1999. 2018 is a very fresh vintage with its principal aromas being white blossom, peach, lemon and yellow grapefruit, creating wines that are full of energy with clean minerality. This vintage should be consumed a little faster than 2016 or 2017; up to 5 years for the villages and up to 10 years for the Premier Crus and Grand Crus. 

For the red wines, the nose is very complex; blackberries, very ripe cherries, spice, black pepper and mild tobacco. The colour is deep red with hints of black. One of the biggest achievements of this vintage in red is the village of Volnay, with wine of great clarity and fine purity. They are the perfect representation of fine Pinot Noir wines: elegant, delicate with smooth and gentle tannins. These are my favourite reds.

When I wrote this description of the 2018 vintage, the 2019 harvest was coming to an end and the vinification process was ending. There are two major pieces of information to take in: 
1) It is a great vintage in terms of quality, truly sublime.
2) Bad news is that the yield has reduced by half for this vintage.

Therefore, please do take full advantage of the 2018 vintage.

 

 

VINTAGE 2017 /  I love this vintage!

Winter is once again not dry and cold enough and this is slowly becoming the norm; temperatures need to be below freezing for days or weeks to purify the land and destroy parasites.

It has been over 10 years now that the land in Burgundy has not fully frozen.

So after a humid and mild January and February, March brings with it warmer temperatures and a light wind from the East – perfect for working on the land and planting new vines.

April was hot, allowing buds to break a month earlier than usual. April 20th saw some ice but much less than last year. This ice mostly affected areas prone to freezing, that is, the Burgundy Appellation.

May was very hot and dry.

June was scorching with temperatures as high as 38°C. Never before have I seen vines grow so quickly – 1.30 m in the space of 5 weeks, with flowering starting 4 days later.

Fortunately, July is a little less hot and brings with it some long-awaited rainfall.

August was very pleasant with good sunlight. Harvest began on August 27th for the Chardonnays and September 6th for the Pinot Noirs. Weather conditions for the harvest proved excellent.

White wines: the 2017 vintage is similarly energetic and acidic as the 2014 vintage. The wine is smooth and rich with a remarkable saline finish. Pink grapefruit and Menton lemon aromas dominate this fine vintage, with prominent overtones of white blossom, spice and mandarins, and not forgetting the perfect minerality that defines and characterises the great white wines of Burgundy.

Red wines: 2017 really encapsulates the red and black berry red wine aromas. Some crus have overtones of pepper and liquorice, with very ripe and prominent yet delicate tannins. Dark and deep hues.

The 2017 red wines are very sexy.

I end this presentation the same way that I started it:

I love this vintage!

 

VINTAGE 2016 / Once again 2016 began like earlier years: a nonexistent winter, no negative temperatures during the winter season.

Let's go back to October 2015. 'Why? In mid October there was a change in the weather which, unfortunately, had very important consequences. The vine leaves fell off very quickly due to negative temperatures, reminding us of an old Burgundian adage: "When vine leaves fall due to frost, they will grow again in frosty conditions".

After a mild and wet January and February, the month of March was very warm and dry. Vegetation began a month earlier than normal. Similar weather conditions continued into early April with temperatures rising as high as 28°C. Unhappily, the second half of April saw some rain and, on the morning of 27th April, negative temperatures of -4°C killed the young shoots. This episode of frost was extraordinary as 'lieux-dits' and 'climats' not subject to frost were completely destroyed. All of which takes us back to the adage: leaves that fall in frost, grow back in frost.

Exactly the same weather occurred in 2017 but I'll talk about that next year. The month of May, wet in the first week, finished very hot, allowing the vines to recover from the destructive frost. JJune was also very hot. Flowering was very rapid. July and August saw superb weather conditions: sunshine, small amounts of rain, wind - real Burgundy weather.

Grape picking began on 20th September. The weather was glorious for the wine harvest.

2016 is a classic vintage compared to 2015 which was a solar vintage.

Characteristics of 2016 whites: highly energetic, pure wines which can be compared with those of 2014 with a little more fatness on the finish. Very fine minerality, pleasant saltiness.

As for the Pinots, the 2016 vintage is precise and pure with ripe, silky tannins. Deep, ruby red colour with hints of black.

To sum up, I much prefer 2016 to 2015.

I am worried about global warming, fearing that it could result in more and more solar vintages.

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History

Henri Boillot is the fifth generation winemaker of the Boillot family. His son Guillaume joined the domaine few years ago.  The domain was established by Henri Boillot's grandfather at the beginning of the twentieth century. 'The Boillot family began to make wine in the early 1900s. My grandfather, Henri, was the first to exploit the vines that belonged to the family; then my father, Jean, went on to expand the domain.'

In 2005 Henri rejoined the estate, eventually buying out his brothers and sisters in. He quickly changed the name of the winery from Domaine Jean Boillot to Domaine Henri Boillot to eliminate confusion with his brother’s estate, Domaine Jean-Marc Boillot. However, Henri seems amused enough by this confusion that he has continued to market his negociant wines under the Maison Henri Boillot label, thus creating two lines of wines. The Domaine is now located in Meursault.

Today, Domaine Henri Boillot consists of 15 hectares split between white (including 3,92 hectares of Puligny Montrachet Clos de la Mouchère, which is a Monopole and a small enclave in Puligny “Les Perrières”, adjoining Puligny Clavoillon) and red (a number of 1er Crus in Savigny, Beaune, and Volnay). In the vineyard Henri Boillot uses “lutte raisonnée” meaning without using chemicals on the soil.

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Vineyards

The current range includes Meursault 1er Crus from the village's top vineyards, Charmes and Perrières - the latter sitting above the former on the southern flank of the famous southeast-facing slope, closest to Puligny-Montrachet. There is also a tiny quantity of Chevalier-Montrachet Grand Cru, from the vineyard just above Le Montrachet itself.

Generally speaking, the soil of the Côte de Beaune is limestone and clay. Top vineyards such as Meursault Les Perrières and Chevalier-Montrachet have a thin, stony, very pale limestone soil ideal for top quality white wine production.

All white wines: 100% Chardonnay

 

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Winemaking

We interfere with the growing process as little as possible, and only a select few are permitted access to the vines. We established this philosophy of non-intervention as early as the 1990s, making the domain a forerunner in a practice that has since become widespread.

Above all else, the domain strives to capture the quality and diversity of its vineyards. The soil of Burgundy produces exceptionally fine, pure wines. It is essential to reveal the delicate balance of minerals, clays, limestones and other elements, which makes each wine so unique.

White grapes are gently crushed to avoid bitterness, and the must is rapidly cooled to 8 degrees centigrade. Fermentation is done in 350-liter barrels (larger than the classic French barrique) to retain freshness and minerality. Malolactic fermentation complete, the wines are bottled after 18 months in barrel. Entirely hand harvested, red grapes must pass through two rounds on the sorting table to ensure that only perfect berries make the cut. After destemming, the must is cold soaked prior to fermentation. During a relatively long fermentation (up to 30 days), the skins are regularly punched down to extract maximum flavor and color. The Pinots are aged in barriques for 18 months and bottled unfined and unfiltered. 

Ageing requires a lot of care, with as little interference as possible. We must make our presence known in the winery - the casks can feel it; sometimes the gentlest of attentions is all that is needed.

Through an emphasis on traditional methods of vinification and ageing, Domaine Boillot highlights both its terroir and the distinct personality of its winemakers: two essential ingredients for making complex, charismatic wines.

The wines of Maison Henri Boillot are produced in a cellar in Meursault while the domaine wines are made in Volnay.

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Inside information

Henri Boillot has inherited the prestigious Domaine Jean Boillot from his father, giving him 14 hectares of prime vineyard sites in Volnay and Puligny-Montrachet (see separate factsheet). But his desire to explore the potential of a wider range of terroirs has led him to create the Maison Henri Boillot. This is another example of the new phenomenon of 'super-négociants' - top winemakers who source small parcels of the best grapes, and use their expertise to create a range of truly special wines.

Boillot's sources remain a secret, but his close friendship with many of the Côte de Beaune's top growers give him access to grapes many winemakers can only dream of. These are vinified in the Domaine Jean Boillot cellars at Volnay, using state-of-the-art equipment and just the right amount of new oak. The result is beautifully-made wines, each one the definitive expression of that vineyard's unique personality.

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17 different wines with 56 vintages

People

  • The Wine Advocate

    “These wines showed vibrancy, excellent acidity, genuine vineyard character, and they tasted damn good too! …In every case, the Boillot wines served as excellent representatives of the fundamental character one has come to expect from these vineyards.”

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