This fine Volnay is an excellent example illustrating how almost nothing associated with New World wines actually originated there, but instead previously was found in the Old World. In the case of Pinot Noir, this Volnay has the dark color, richness, and fruitiness associated in the United States with Pinots from Oregon and California, with none of the sourness or austerity usually attributed to Old World Pinots. Here the wine has a dark blackish color and concentrated flavors of blackberry and black cherry, with no separate sugary taste. The acidity is bright and refreshing, without being sour or tart. The French oak adds toast, texture, and roundness without any vanilla sweetness, clove, or coconut. The tannins are firm but not austere. The structuring acid and tannin completely keep any softness from crossing over the line into flabby.
Selin's first comment about this wine: "it smells like whiskey." I had heard Potel could be heavy-handed w/ the oak, and I definitely saw it here. The alcohol blew off after a while, but it was still way too heavy and oaky for me - really not my style of Burgundy.
Another great wine tonight. From a 375 a Blantyre in Lenox, MA with dinner. Perfect balance, nice cherry fruit, light minerality and light oak, slightly darker in color than your average Burgundy, nice mouth feel, moderate but not overly long finish. I know this is infanticide, BUT we have 3 cases of 2005 Hospices de Beaune premier cru Volnay with Bouchard doing the elevage coming to us and we wanted to try it. If this is what we get from a village Volnay, then what we have coming could be truly great, perhaps the best Burgundy vintage in over 30 years. We think the pundits are right on this vintage. My wife says: the fruit continues from front to back on the palate with bouquet that develops over time. My wife says its a 90 now but will get much better with age.
The 2005 Potel Volnay Vielles Vignes comes just as advertized by Werner and John. It is the most balanced wine of the night, a lushness of deep cherry fruit backed up by present but pleasant tannins. Definitely deeper colored than the other wines, but would be koolaid up against a high-alcohol, over-extracted Prade or Cap de Faugeres. Let me go check the alcohol level on the bottle. I'm predicting 13%.... Yep.... Thirteen percent. Is there even a single estate in Bordeaux, California or the Rhone that produced a wine of 13% level in 2005? Just asking. These wines are two percent less alcohol than Chateuneuf du Pape, California, and some Bordeauxs. That may be the single most positive aspect of these Burgundies for me. Ripeness of fruit, with judicious use of oak and moderate alcohol levels. I'd be curious to hear what PappaDoc, Werner, or any other Burgundy drinker thinks about this '05 Potel, but I personally think it has some ability to age, mainly because of the balance and ripeness of fruit. A very lovely finish, too.
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