The Domaine Thierry Violot-Guillemard Story
This is a fifth generation, 6.5 hectare estate, predominantly based in Pommard, with a few vines in Beaune, Meursault and Volnay. It’s predominantly a red wine estate, but we have bought a little Beaune Blanc and Meursault. Thank you to Edouard Confuron for the introduction. It was a great recommendation. They are certified organic. In addition to their own vines, Thierry has some informal arrangements with neighbours and friends to buy fruit. This has been particularly helpful during the recent small vintages prior to 2017. So two of the premiers crus: Pommard Arvelets and Volnay Santenots are technically négociant wines.
The estate is run by Thierry and Estelle Violot-Guillemard. Their son Joannès slowly taking over as Thierry eases into retirement. After so many lean years recently in the Cote de Beaune, the relative abundance of 2017 and 2018 required cellar improvements to accommodate the extra wine, though the finished wine disappeared very quickly.
They make wines which suit me perfectly. From such a warm vintage, the wines are light, delicate and fresh. The 40% new oak used for the reds never looks obtrusive, and the elegance and delicacy of all the reds belie the Pommard stereotype. Joannès appears to share winemaking philosophy with his father who says proudly about his approach to winemaking ‘je ne fais rien’. He exaggerates, of course, but makes the point that extraction work on the must is kept to a minimum.
All the reds are wines with lovely mouth perfumes, and there is no hint in any of them of hot vintage characteristics or Pommard rusticity. The wines look charming at a young age, which perhaps explains their success with many top French restaurants. But Epenots and Rugiens in particular are both wines with a pedigree to keep them improving for years.
We’ve bought a little of a new wine: a very pretty Beaune Rouge ‘En Lulunne’ in the 2018 vintage. It’s a new parcel for them, comprising 0.33ha farmed organically. Whites here are very good too, even if overshadowed by the reds. Tight, firm and modestly reductive in style.
Domaine Thierry Violot-Guillemard Wines
In a conversation with Thierry on red wines, the word “finesse” crops up regularly. Indeed this is immediately obvious in tasting. The old fashioned view of Pommard I remember was of an appellation dominated by tannin, and sometimes rustic over-extraction. (Or “structure” if you are from a different school of thought). There is structure in the wines – plenty in the case of Rugiens, one of the village’s designated Grand Crus, if ever the day comes. But these are gentle wines, where the balance of the fragrance and perfume of pinot, allied to savoury mineral flavours, create wines of real charm and delicacy. Certainly Rugiens and Santenots will need a little time, but the Pommard Brescuel and Pommard La Platière (80 year vines and next to Les Arvelets) will bring great pleasure quite soon. Vines are almost all old (60+ years) and the estate has been certified organic since 1999. Everything is de-stemmed, there is a three to four day cold-soak, then a daily pumping over and punch-down during fermentation. The red wines ferment solely with natural yeasts. By modern standards, quite a lot of new oak – 60% – is used, from coopers François Frères and Damy. But the toast is very light, and the seasoning of the wood is extended to four to five years, which results in a barely perceptible oak influence. They are unfined and unfiltered.
|VGBBL17B||Beaune Blanc En Montagne St Désiré||2017|
|VGBBL16B||Beaune Blanc En Montagne St Désiré||2016|
|VGBMD17B||Bourgogne Les Maisons Dieu||2017|
|VGPEB17B||Pommard En Brescul||2017|
|VGPLP17B||Pommard, 1er Cru La Platière||2017|
|VGPFR17B||Pommard, 1er Cru Fremiers||2017|
|VGBMD16B||Bourgogne Les Maisons Dieu||2016|
|VGPEB16B||Pommard En Brescul||2016|
|VGCMR16B||Beaune Rouge, 1er Cru Clos des Mouches||2016|
|VGVSA16B||Volnay 1er Cru Santenots||2016|
|VGPLP16B||Pommard, 1er Cru La Platière||2016|
|VGPLR16B||Pommard 1er Cru Les Rugiens||2016|
|VGBMD15B||Bourgogne Les Maisons Dieu||2015|
|VGPLP15B||Pommard 1er Cru La Platière||2015|
|VGPLA15B||Pommard 1er Cru Les Arvelets||2015|
|VGPLR15B||Pommard 1er Cru Les Rugiens||2015|
|VGVSA15B||Volnay 1er Cru Santenots||2015|