Boillot, who is often an early harvester, especially for chardonnay, did not start bringing in his 2010 chardonnay until September 28, and he picked his pinot noir in October. He believes that some of his colleagues picked too early. "We had a good bit of maturity without losing acidity," he told me. "Waiting a little longer brought more fruit, but without loss of freshness. Besides, in those later days we had a dry north wind. And the thick skins from millerandage had been able to support the bad weather conditions in August." Boillot did no debourbage, bringing about 25 liters of lees into each of his 350-liter barrels. Even without batonnage, he said, the wines will absorb about 10 liters of lees during their time in barrel. As to 2009, Boillot started harvesting chardonnay very early, on September 3, then waited a week to start the pinot. "White Burgundy is about acidity, and pinot is about maturity," he told me. "White wines are about precision, minerality, freshness; they should be strict at the beginning. Burgundy has to refresh the mouth." I have limited my notes on the 2010s to wines that had finished, or were just at the end of, their malolactic fermentations.
Pale yellow. Aromas of underripe pineapple, licorice and spicy oak. Stony and citrussy in the mouth, with firm acidity leading to a slightly dry finish. This minerally wine could use more flesh.
Pear, stone, smoke and a vague lactic quality on the nose. Rich and sweet but sappy in the mouth, with good cut and acidity to its white fruit flavors. I like the oak component here. The taut finish offers good structure and length.
Pale-medium yellow. Classic Chassagne aromas of pear, white flowers and menthol. Subdued in the mouth, with a bit of oak showing. Tactile, saline, dry wine with good grip. This wine finished its malo early (in March) and is rather uncompromising today.
Bright yellow. Very ripe aromas of pear and nectarine complicated by butter and honey. Fat, ripe and dry, with a hint of licorice; fruit currently overshadowed by oak. Finishes tactile but a bit lean, with a hint of malic acidity. I tasted this from a new 350-liter-barrel, but the ultimate blend will be more like 40% new oak.
Smoke, minerals and a saline nuance on the soil-driven nose. Fat and ripe but with lovely mineral precision giving shape to the apple and stone fruit flavors. Much longer and denser than the Embrazees. Finishes smooth and persistent, with attractive minerality. These vines, located higher on the hillside, were picked last in 2010, according to Boillot: in early October with potential alcohol of 12.8%. The wine was not chaptalized.
Pale yellow. Exotic aromas of apricot and pina colada. Lush, ripe and fruity, but powerful stony minerality and firm acids give the middle palate a somewhat disjointed impression today. This intense, firmly structured wine finishes with a saline note--and still a bit of malic acidity.
Bright yellow. Candied citrus peel and stone fruits on the nose. At once sweet and lively, with stone fruit, orange and tiramisu flavors framed by harmonious acidity. Impressively long for village wine, finishing with good mineral definition. Made from Tillets, Narvaux, Chevaliere and Clos du Cromin.
Light-medium yellow. Very ripe stone fruits and spices on the nose, with complicating notes of menthol and honey. Chewy, sweet and full; quite ripe for 2010. A saline nuance adds complexity. Finishes broad, sweet and perfumed. This will be lovely.
(tasted just after the end of the malo): Medium yellow. Sexy aromas of stone fruits and hazelnut. Rich, tactile and dry, with considerable nuance to the flavors of stone fruits, sweet herbs and minerals. These vines are on the Puligny side of Charmes, and it shows in the wine's strong, dusty minerality and classically dry finish. Terrific potential.
(this finished its malo very early, like the Chassagne-Montrachet): Bright, light medium yellow. Fully ripe peach complemented by flinty minerality. At once thick and bright, with intense stone fruit, oak char and nut oil flavors. Quite serene today after the early malo. This switches to a higher gear on the back half, with its mounting finish showing strong crushed stone minerality, some smoky, petrolly, riesling-like notes, and outstanding persistence.
(just finished its malo): Pure aromas of white flowers, butter and coconutty oak. Rich, supple and suave, with lovely sweet fruit enlivened by penetrating acidity. Less minerally than the Meursault Perrieres that preceded it but wonderfully silky, dry and long on the aftertaste. Wines from Puligny-Montrachet were higher in acidity in 2010 than those from Meursault and Chassagne, noted Boillot.
(still a bit of malic acidity remaining): Pale yellow. Yellow fruits, minerals and crushed stone on the nose, along with smoky and petrolly nuances. Tactile, chewy and very pure, showing the mineral precision and rich-but-dry texture of a Chevalier-Montrachet. The long, rising finish dusts the palate and lingers on the aftertaste.
(just finished its malo the week before my visit): Soft citrus fruits, lemon and almond skin on the nose. Sweet on entry, then quite backward in the middle, with harmonious acidity keeping the flavors of soft citrus fruits, spices and green almond in the background today. A bit youthfully dry on the finish. Conveys a rather strong impression of acidity, but this is technically the lowest in acid of Boillot's five grand crus.
Greenish yellow. Peach, orange, clove oil, hazelnut and vanillin oak on the nose. Lush and voluminous, with considerable power and a solid impression to the stone fruit and pineapple flavors. Wonderfully chewy and sappy wine with a building whiplash of a finish. The sweetness of fruit is nicely buffered by underlying minerality. This may be the richest 2010 that I tasted here today (the alcohol is 13.2%), and will need extended aging.
(just finished its malo): Crystalline aromas of pineapple, minerals, marzipan and vanilla. Dry, stony and backward, with harmonious acidity giving precision to the chewy mid-palate. The pineapple and crushed stone flavors carry through to the classically dry, very long aftertaste. (Boillot's Bienvenue-Batard-Montrachet and Corton-Charlemagne were still finishing their malolactic fermentations at the beginning of June.)
(domain wine): Musky aromas of peach and lees. Broad, fat and quite dry; rich, serious and deep for village wine. This wine, plus the Puligny Perrieres and Clos des Moucheres, were the only wines that had finished their malolactic fermentations in Boillot's colder domain cellar under his house in Volnay.
(domain wine): Bright yellow. Fresh peach, flowers, nutmeg and minerals on the nose. At once sweet and vivacious, with chewy peach pit and hazelnut flavors and a sappy texture. Finishes dry, saline and long. Classic Puligny in the making.
Complex, ripe aromas of peach, smoke, minerals and hazelnut. Supple, sweet and generous; already wonderfully pliant and round. With its combination of gentle acidity and quiet force, this stylish premier cru will offer terrific early charm but also age well. Finishes suave, sweet and very long.
(bottled in November of 2010; the '09 crus were bottled in January of 2011): Fresh aromas and flavors of peach and white flowers. Bright and intensely flavored, with lovely length and verve for the year.
Good pale yellow. Peach, lime and nut oil on the nose. Brisk and juicy in the mouth, with noteworthy purity and energy to the intense flavors of ripe peach and flowers. This really saturates the palate and vibrates on the finish. The acidity here is 4.2 grams per liter, noted Boillot, adding that there's only a 0.2 or 0.3 difference between 2009 and 2010 thanks to his early picking in '09. The highest level of potential alcohol in 2009 was just 12.5%
Very closed nose hints at orange, pear and flowers. Lemony and brisk in the mouth, with saline and stone notes currently dominating. Bright acidity verges on tart. This has shut down since I tasted it last year and will need at least a few years of aging to express itself. Will it blossom in bottle?
($85) Perfumed, complex aromas and flavors of pineapple, soft citrus fruit and smoky, flinty minerality. Rich, sweet and deep; really saturates the mouth and builds on the back end, coating the palate with fruit and crushed stone and leaving the taste buds vibrating. An outstanding expression of the site, especially in the context of this vintage. (Incidentally, Boillot no longer makes any domain Meursault, just Puligny.)
Smoky minerality and a whiff of stone fruits on the nose. Ripe, lively and quite dry, if a bit more aggressive than the Meursault Perrieres. The smoky crushed stone flavor shades toward petrol on the back end. Not yet especially complex but nicely light on its feet thanks to ripe acidity. Boillot says the smoky quality is typical of Puligny-Montrachet in 2009.
(domain wine): Sexy aromas of peach, orange oil and smoky silex. Concentrated, layered and utterly seamless, with peach and soft citrus fruit flavors lifted by powerful flinty minerality. A premier cru with grand cru perfume and inner-palate energy. This sharply delineated wine stains the palate and builds inexorably on the sappy aftertaste. Superb. (Incidentally, Boillot did not make a Chevalier-Montrachet in either 2009 or 2008.)
White plum, fresh apricot, hazelnut, honey and nutty oak on the nose, perked up by a whiff of pineapple. Sweet, deep and powerfully structured, with the wine's fresh fruit flavors currently held under wraps by surprising acidity. Not showing the personality of the Clos de la Mouchere, but this grand cru's sheer energy and very long, rising finish promise a slow and eventful evolution in bottle.
High-pitched aromas of fresh peach, crushed stone, violet and lavender. Dense, sweet and rich, with very ripe pineapple fruit leavened by smoky minerality and given cut and focus by strong (4.5 g/l) acidity. Offers an uncanny combination of depth and high pitch for the vintage. The building, extremely long finish titillates the taste buds and leaves the mouth vibrating. Normally harvested on the late side, these vines were picked on September 5(!) in 2009, with potential alcohol of 12.9%.