Federal Wine & Spirits

29 State Street, Boston, MA 02109

2017 Henri Boillot Burgundies

"Unambiguously impressive" - Wine Advocate
January 19, 2019

 

Henri Boillot

  

2017 was an easy year for growers, with a warm late summer that made for wines with easy accessibility and good concentration. Both reds and whites are more characteristic of their communes than in the past few vintages and will be very pleasurable drinking in the shorter term.

Stephen Tanzer described the whites as "pliant, elegant, pure wines with considerable aromatic appeal and early accessibility, along with the balance and stuffing for at least mid-term aging." Neal Martin called the reds "a modern classic."

We are long term Boillot fans. Henri Boillot's wines are extraordinary in their fusion of expressive precision with palate-satisfying sensuality .

William Kelley summed up the Boillot story in the Wine Advocate 

"Guillaume Boillot has now joined father Henri as this 19-hectare enterprise, where domaine-grown grapes are supplemented by purchased fruit from prime sources along the Côte d'Or, Guillaume superintending the reds while Henri occupies himself with the whites. If this division of labor is as strictly adhered to in practice as it is on paper, it certainly seems to work very well, as Boillot's 2017 portfolio is unambiguously impressive. ... there is no arguing with these gourmand and fleshy Pinot Noirs which display uncommon depth and intensity for the vintage, even when they hail from bought fruit.

" The whites—all of which are fermented and matured in larger, 350-liter barrels—are simply exceptional and worthy of a place on any shopping listthey will certainly be on my own! Guillaume Boillot told me that great attention is paid to dissolved oxygen levels at racking and bottling, and that he and his father take the problem of premature oxidation—by which they have been comparatively lightly affected—very seriously, an attitude that should reassure consumers." 

Don't miss the bottling Boillot has always treated as his flaghip white. This year the Puligny Clos de Mouchere, Boillot's monopole within 1er cru Perrieres,  is particularly successful ; Tanzer said that it is of "grand cru character," Kelley called it "utterly superb."

 

White

Notes by Steven Tanzer, Vinous, unless noted

 

Bourgogne Blanc "declassified Saint-Romain and Auxey-Duresses blended with fruit from the commune of Meursault, and it's vinified and matured in used 350-liter barrels. Wafting from glass, with notes of toasted nuts, pear and citrus fruit, it's medium-bodied, ample and incisive, with a generous core of delicately textural fruit, framed by juicy acids and concluding with a stony finish. It's one of the finest examples of the appellation to be found." William Kelley, Wine Advocate $35 NET

Meursault Pale, bright yellow. Fresh yellow peach and lime blossom on the very floral nose. Peachy and penetrating on the palate, a bit tart in a positive way. Boasts very good density and salty persistence. $65 NET

Meursault Les Genevrières 1er Cru "Pale, green-tinged yellow. Delicate nose hints at lime zest and white flowers. Wonderfully silky and energetic on the palate but also sharply delineated and tighter today than the Charmes. Discreet citrus fruit and hazelnut flavors deliver noteworthy complexity. Finishes gripping and very long, with serious salty energy." $145 NET

Meursault Les Charmes 1er Cru  - Bright lemon-yellow color. Subtle, subdued aromas and flavors of flowers, minerals, vanilla and nutty lees. Wonderfully silky, salty, seamless wine with terrific flavor intensity. This has the gras of classic Charmes but with no impression of weightiness $109 NET

Puligny-Montrachet Bright yellow-green color. Inviting aromas of white peach, flowers and noble herbs. Broad, round and dry, with its pure stone fruit flavors lifted by floral and spicy elements. A classy, classic Puligny villages with a dry, saline back end. $75 NET

Puligny-Montrachet Les Combettes 1er Cru Bright, light yellow. Riper aromas of yellow peach and hazelnut, with some noble herb nuances emerging with air; Boillot harvested this fruit early at 12.8% potential alcohol and chaptalized to 13.3%. Fat and smooth on the palate, with its lovely sweetness buffered by mineral energy. Finishes saline, broad and dry. $145 NET

Puligny-Montrachet Clos de la Mouchère 1er Cru Bright yellow. Lemon drop and oil, peach, hazelnut and flowers on the subtly complex nose. Tactile and brisk on entry, then thick and energetic in the middle palate, conveying a distinct impression of sweetness countered by pure saline minerality. The wine's peachy fruit hints at almost honeyed ripeness without losing its verve. Finishes with outstanding mounting length. This has the palate presence and depth of a grand cru.

"utterly superb this year, wafting from the glass with aromas of lemon oil, mandarin orange, beeswax, iodine and subtle smoky reduction. On the palate, the wine is full-bodied, satiny and layered, with striking volume and depth at the core, balanced by incisive acids that animate the long, mineral finish." - William Kelley, Wine Advocate $135 NET

Meursault Les Poruzots 1er Cru - Bright, light yellow. Subtle stone fruits, flowers and spices on the nose. Conveys a sweeter impression than the village Meursault, but also boasts lovely balancing acidity. This sappy, smooth, long wine finishes with saliva-inducing salinity to its flavors of fresh apricot and lemon zest. $99 NET

Meursault Les Perrières 1er Cru Pale, bright yellow. Reticent, very pure scents of underripe pineapple, white peach and crushed stone. Like the previous Meursault samples, this boasts lovely purity and suavity; it verges on opulent while delivering an almost weightless impression. Quite closed today and not revealing its inherent personality but its acidity and saline minerality are already perfectly integrated. The longest of these 2017s to this point, but this backward Perrières will need at least a few years in bottle to display its minerality. $155 NET very limited

Puligny-Montrachet Les Pucelles 1er Cru Bright, pale yellow. Complex and complete on the nose, offering scents of peach, flowers and saline minerality. Boasts outstanding saline concentration and energy without any rough edges but quite tightly coiled today. This boasts remarkable palate presence for premier cru and its very slowly mounting, rising finish stains the palate. Serious potential here. $145 NET

Puligny-Montrachet Les Perrières 1er Cru Pale yellow. Restrained aromas of white peach flesh and wild herbs, plus a rocky nuance. More concentrated and savory than the village example, with a touch of floral sweetness supported by saline mineral energy. Most impressive today on the bracing, rising, stony finish, where the calcaire soil already shines through. Very promising. $155 NET

 

Grand Cru

The wines below are very limited and may have to be allocated

 

Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru Bright yellow. Lively and decidedly less exotic on the nose than the Criots-Bâtard, offering aromas of yellow fruits, flowers, hazelnut and saline minerality. Dense, tactile and deep, this sappy, mineral-driven wine already displays grand cru class. Really inundates the palate with fruits, flowers and minerals on the savory, inexorable back end. $659 NET

Montrachet Grand Cru - Pale yellow. Wonderfully delicate and discreet on the nose, hinting at lemon drop and minerals; ... this wine certainly conveys an early-picked aspect. Pure and silky on the palate and thicker than the Chevalier-Montrachet, but with terrific inner-mouth cut. Displays impeccable balance on the very suave, slowly rising finish. Can a wine be both understated and explosive? ...this citrussy, floral Montrachet is not yet showing the site's iodiney minerality. But that will come. $1149 NET

Chevalier-Montrachet Grand Cru Pale, bright yellow-green. Pungently pure scents of lemon oil and crystalline crushed-rock minerality, with a soupçon of spicy oak. Penetrating, sharply chiseled and tight yet utterly seamless, with its citrussy cut accentuated by minerality. The rising, palate-staining finish is almost painful today. $899 NET

Criots-Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru Pale, bright yellow. Explosive yellow and white stone fruits on the nose, accented by mandarin orange and white flowers. Then thick-verging-on-unctuous in the mouth, offering highly concentrated citrus and stone fruit flavors along with suggestions of exotic fruits. This outsized fruit bomb is given shape and lift by harmonious acidity and gravelly minerality, but it's in a somewhat more southern style than the Clos de la Mouchère, and shows less distinction. $399 NET

Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru Pale, bright yellow. Pristine but reticent aromas of yellow peach, smoky silex and spices; At once saline in an oyster shell way and sweet in the mouth, but buffered by rocky minerality. This powerful, bracing wine is certainly not about fruit. Finishing with an element of tannic structure that reminded me of a red wine, this wine is hard to assess today but already shows outstanding saline length. $245 NET

 

Red

notes by Neal Martin

 

Bonnes-Mares Grand Cru The Bonnes-Mares Grand Cru offers dark cherries, blackberry and light touches of blue fruit in what is a very similar bouquet to the domaine’s other Grand Crus. The palate is full-bodied with ripe tannins, perhaps showing a little more terroir expression than the other Grand Crus, with touches of white pepper and sage towards the structured finish. This is probably the best of Boillot’s Grand Crus. $399 NET

Chambertin Grand Cru much more reticent on the nose than Boillot’s other Grand Crus, to the extent that it is difficult coaxing much fruit from the glass. The palate is medium-bodied with toasty tannin, quite sweet on the entry with candied orange peel, hints of brown sugar and pain d’épices towards the finish that does possess an impressively long aftertaste. $399 NET Extremely limited

Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru from the lieu-dit "Grand Maupertui" - has a slightly static bouquet at the moment when I am seeking more animation and terroir expression. The palate is grippy and assertive on the entry with candied orange peel and Moroccan spice layering the black fruit, that spiciness really dominating the finish. It will require several years in bottle. $235 NET

Echézeaux Grand Cru - mainly black fruit on the nose, wilted violets, and just a touch of baking powder, dominated by the 100% new oak at the moment. The palate is dense and grippy on the entry, quite firm and assertive, with a fine line of acidity but here, I find the wood tannins rather dominating the finish at the expense of fruit expression. $315 NET

Latricières-Chambertin Grand Cru "a light floral bouquet, although it seems very similar to the Echézeaux at the moment. The palate is fresh on the entry, then those wood tannins begin to take over midway through. I like the spiciness here and the grip, but the finish feels a little predictable. $299 NET

Pommard Les Rugiens 1er Cru like the Volnay Caillerets aged 100% in new oak. It has an intense bouquet, although I would have liked more Pommard typicity to break the surface of that carapace of new oak. The palate is medium-bodied with grippy tannin, a little woody at the moment, a fine bead of acidity but the finish needs more personality. Let’s see how this ages and whether there is improvement - I will be cautious for now. $139 NET

Volnay Les Caillerets 1er Cru " a very pure bouquet with black cherries and blue fruit, although I find that the Les Fremiets has more identification of place by comparison. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannin, very well balanced with seductive pure dark cherries, blackcurrant and discrete spicy notes towards the poised finish. Once the aromatics express their place of origin this will be very fine. $135 NET

Volnay Village straightforward dark cherry and bergamot scents on the nose. The 20% new oak is nicely integrated. The palate is fresh on the entry with fine tannin, touches of blood orange and citrus fruit filtering through the tart red cherries and strawberry, with a lively finish. Thoroughly enjoyable, but one for drinking young $67 NET

Bourgogne Rouge "A blend of vineyards from several villages, the Bourgogne Rouge sees no new oak and has been racked a month prior to my visit. It will be bottled in December. It has a pleasant fresh red cherry and blueberry bouquet. The palate is medium-bodied with quite sharp tannin on the entry, an almost citric thread of acidity and plenty of energy on the finish. Quaff this down over the next three years." $35 NET

 

Special: 6 each of the two wines $408

Wine arrives Tuesday

 

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           - Len Rothenberg