2014 Thomas Bouley Burgundy offering


Bonjour d’une espace silencieuse ou dort le travail d’une année entière,
What you see in the image above you is the quietly slumbering fruit of a year’s blood, sweat, grapes, and tears. As Thomas Bouley and I settled in to taste his 2014 collection last November, the deep silence invited a quick panorama picture of these fûts (barrels), his entire production in this, yet another vintage of hail shortened yields. Just as in 2013, I left our encounter inspired by Thomas’ person, vision, and wines, as they far surpassed my expectations. As I routinely remind folks, it ALWAYS comes back to the details, each gardener in their own little garden, bringing their know how, hard work, and instinct to the table. I can’t really explain how he is doing it, but it is clear that Thomas is on his game, transcending the vintage, once again. If I had to boil down the cause to a few words: he is very gifted in instinct/intuition, and is a crazy hard worker. This could be a great recipe for success in any walk of life…
Thomas’ reputation continues to grow among consumers, as an ever increasing crowd is checking in to see what all of the fuss is about. When critics start tossing about comparisons to Michel and Frederic Lafarge, suggesting that this young buck may be surpassing their Grand cru caliber Clos des Chênes, that is some serious talk indeed. His fellow growers already know how meticulous and devoted his work ethic is, as well as what a genuine person he is. His closest circle of fellow vingerons is a special heart of gold band: Olivier Lamy, Nico Rossignol, and Charles Lachaux. They routinely hang out, their informal “research” sessions involving great bottles and great company dotting the facebook landscape. Work hard, play hard. :0
What follows is a comprehensive offering of his 2014 collection, as well as the in stock 2013s. As far as I am aware, i’m the only person in the US who brought in his 2013s, which have (surprise surprise) finished at the very top end of Allan Meadows’ in barrel scores. Something gives me the impression that Allan is tougher on this “untested” kid than many of his more established colleagues. Having tasted at all of the same addresses, I am left scratching my head sometimes wondering if we tasted the same wines at each address…who knows? :0
Brit Neil Martin, on the other hand, is and has been a big fan of Thomas’ wines, as he has written some superlative praise over the past few years in the Parker’s Wine Advocate. I would say that my experience aligns more with Neil’s impressions, but to each their own. I’ve included his notes on the 2014 collection, one that he prefaces:

“I cannot recommend Domaine Bouley’s wine enough. They are pure and refined, terroir-expressive with impressive depth and harmony. The 2014 Pommard Rugiens has almost no right to be as good as it is – I look forward to tasting this once in bottle. Ditto with the wonderful Volnay Clos des Chênes that challenges the supremacy of the aforementioned Michel Lafarge, who generally makes the finest. Another is their 2014 Volnay Carelles, which is not the most commonly known Premier Cru, but had such a killer line of tension and mineralité that it was difficult to put the glass down. Time to discover the new generation of Volnaysian producers…start here.” - Neil Martin

As an additional note to consider, the frost of late April '16 has once again decimated the potential crop throughout Burgundy, cruel twists of fate continuing to find a home in Volnay/Pommard. This will undoubtedly mean price hikes for the '15 and what little '16 will exist, yet another call to never overlook the classical '13 and '14s already in hand. Thomas did very well in both vintages, in spite of the challenges, so…



Bourgogne Hautes Cotes de Beaune $ - From vines above Volnay, this is the best budgeteer value choice in the cellar, with a whole lot of substance for not a lot of buckos. Just like last year, a go to value play…
“From vines located at the top of Volnay, the 2014 Hautes Côtes de Beaune (minus two fruit flies that took a bath in my glass) has a clean and pure, cassis-tinged bouquet with a nice lift. The palate is very well balanced with fine tannin and crisp acidity, very classy with good tension and mineralité towards the finish. The texture is so silky that you would think there is some new oak here, but Thomas Bouley told me there is absolutely none. This comes highly recommended.” 88-90 points Neil Martin

Pommard villages $ - From the single white soiled Vaumuriens parcel at the top of the hill, this is powerful but light on its feet, with a solid mineral/chalky spine, finishing long, airy, and floral. Me likey.
"The 2014 Pommard Village underwent the latest malolactic fermentation, so was very reductive on the nose (as you would expect). The palate is fleshy and more expressive. The acidity is citric and fresh, lending a sorbet-like quality to this Pommard that I think will be delicious straight from the off (unusual for a Pommard). This will be well worth seeking out. " 89-91 points Neil Martin

Volnay villages $ - This one shocked me to attention with its classic and lovely Volnaysien aromatics of violet florals, with impressive concentration/intensity. Why so intense this year? How about 70-90% smaller yields?? OUCH. My last word: “Beautiful and complete Volnay villages”.
"The 2014 Volnay Villages comes from clayey soils towards the bottom of the slope that lost 70% to 90% of their fruit due to hail damage. It had been racked two weeks previous to my visit when it was transferred back into barrel. It has a crisp, quite seductive bouquet in the making with wild strawberry and raspberry scents, a touch of vanilla in the background. The palate is medium-bodied with slightly chalky tannin. There is nice backbone here, very fine mineralité with tension and poise on the lightly grippy, tarry finish. This is a very fine Volnay Villages from Thomas Bouley, one that seems to have been concentrated by the hail. " 89-91 Neil Martin

Volnay villages Clos de la Cave $ - Much paler in color than the regular villages, this upper slope single parcel behind the winery has very light, well draining soils. This is why the wine is so airy, pure, delicate and just plain lovely. 200 cases made. This one was my fave of the 3 villages this year, each quite distinct and qualitatively excellent.
"The 2014 Volnay Clos de la Caves had not been racked and contains 30% whole bunch fruit. The nose was “sleeping” when I tasted it and clearly was awaiting its racking. However, there seems to be sufficient fruit locked in. The palate is medium-bodied with grainy, quite firm tannin and black fruit with touches of spice, quite elegant towards the finish that lingers nicely in the mouth – leaving a slight tingle on the tongue (perhaps due to the whole bunch!). Very fine and feminine. " 89-91 points Neil Martin

Volnay villages Vieilles Vignes $ - The old vine villages is from les Pluchots and the villages portion of Carelles, from vines aged 45-70 years. The soils here are much redder and rich in iron, that then sit closer to the mother rock. This combo yields a blacker fruited, deeper wine with both old vine density/material, and driving calcaire (limestone) power. This is quite complete, and will age wonderfully over the medium term.
"The 2014 Volnay Vieilles Vignes, which was racked two weeks before my visit, has a very pure black currant and blueberry-scented bouquet with a fine mineralité interwoven through the aromatics. The palate is medium-bodied, quite stern and masculine with good backbone, almost Pommard-like in style with fine salinity towards the stony, stoic finish. I would give this 4-6 years in bottle. " 90-92 points Neil Martin

Beaune 1er cru Reversées $ - With roughly 85% of the crop lost to hail, one would expect something far more course. Nope. Such are the sacrifices to maintain a commitment to quality above all else. This is rockin’ good, once again. A value hunter’s choice par excellence, the finesse meets complexity found here is awesome, just like last year…
"Eight percent whole bunch was used for the 2014 Beaune 1Er Cru les Reversées this year. It has a tightly wound, tertiary/sous-bois inspired bouquet with black rather than red fruit, the whole bunch imparting freshness and complexity. The palate is medium-bodied with grippy tannin, good density but still fresh and vital. The stemminess comes through just a little in terms of texture, but otherwise given that around 80% was destroyed by hail (three barrels from 0.60-hectares), this is a great success for Thomas Bouley. " 90-92 points Neil Martin

Volnay 1er cru Carelles $ - Thomas refers to this one regularly as his baby, as it was his first project upon assuming an active role in the domaine. It was both replanted and raised entirely under his watch over the last 16 years. Last year, it blew my mind for its floral intensity, and once again, it is my second favorite Volnay of the cellar. This is a benchmark example of this little known cru, all about delicate floral intensity and gorgeous silky texture. Don’t say I didn’t tell 'ya so!!
"The 2014 Volnay 1er Cru les Carelles, which was completely destemmed (unlike the forthcoming 2015), has a more voluminous bouquet than the 2014 les Caillerets with plenty of wild strawberry, raspberry and dried herb scents that gain intensity with aeration in the glass. The palate is lively and animated with slightly chalky tannin, a very taut line of acidity (even though analytically it has a high pH!), with great structure and poise on the finish. This is a very sophisticated les Carelles, one surfeit with mineral tension and nervosité. This is just superb. " 91-93 points Neil Martin

Volnay 1er cru Cailleret $ - From just 3 barrels made, the young-ish vines here issued a sprightly classic rendition of this terroir so well known for its rocky mineral detail meets violet floral intensity. Yum yum.
"The 2014 Volnay 1er Cru Caillerets, which Thomas Bouley said was the best terroir of the appellation (though his vines are relatively young at ten-years-old), has a mixture of red and black fruit on the nose, very intense with fine mineral tones coming through. The palate is harmonious and silky smooth, tightly wound as it had not been racked, with beautifully-knitted tannins and plenty of lush red fruit with a svelte, very Volnaysian finish that I think will be very seductive once in bottle. This has great potential. " 91-93 points Neil Martin

Volnay 1er cru Clos des Chenes $ - From my pet favorite, should/could-be-a-grand-cru site, Thomas Clos des Chenes is some serious shtuff. It has a different register of spherically expansive yet implosive with material in reserve quality that I associate with some of Burgundy’s greatest terroirs. Class and complexity in a glass, simply put. Get some.
"The 2014 Volnay 1er Cru Clos des Chênes includes 40% whole bunch fruit this year. In some ways, it has a more conservative bouquet than the les Carelles or the Caillerets. Thomas said that he once vowed never to add whole bunch fruit, but he decided to do so this year and feels that it adds freshness, a bit of light to the dark. The palate is very well balanced with filigree tannin. More saline than its peers, this has a mouth-sapping intensity with great linearity and focus towards the sustained finish. Once those aromatics open, this will be a serious Volnay for long-term aging. " 92-94 points Neil Martin

Pommard 1er cru Rugiens $ - From the upper sloped, southern corner (sorry Neil, methinks you missed that detail) of Rugiens Haut where there is virtually no topsoil, from particularly white soils. Like Neil mentions, like several of Thomas’ wines in '14, a remarkable success for the hail ravaged vintage, a testament to his marathon runner’s diligence and devotion to raw quality. This has the Grand cru balance of power without weight, with deep incipient complexity that will be a delight to see evolve in the long run. Chapeau Thomas!!!
"The 2014 Pommard 1er Cru les Rugiens, which comes from “Rugiens Haut” in the north of the vineyard, was completely destemmed in this year. It has a very well defined bouquet, the fruit a little darker here than its peers, with blackberry and blueberry fruit mixed with fine mineralité. This is very refined, very pure. The palate is silky smooth on the entry with red cherries, blackcurrant and a hint of balsamic. There is great tension and harmony here, laser-like focus with a persistent and sorbet-fresh, almost “rocky” finish. This is superb. " 92-94 points Neil Martin


2013 Hautes Côtes de Beaune villages $25 15 bottles available
“The 2013 Hautes Cotes de Beaune had just finished its malolactic fermentation and was just taken from stainless steel tank. It has a much deeper and rounded bouquet on the nose with generous red cherry and fresh strawberry aromas- much more intense than the Bourgogne rouge. The palate is very well balanced with good terroir expression (this comes from a particularly red, rocky soil at an altitude of around 350 meters). Picked on October 10, there is plenty of freshness here, impressive fruit concentration and basically, you cannot go wrong guessing the reasonable price this will surely be tagged at. This comes highly recommended. 88-89 points. Anticipated maturity: :2016-2020.” Neil Martin

2013 Pommard villages $49 23 bottles available
"85% Vaumuriens which is north east facing, high and windy. So this was not so badly destroyed. White soil and young vines - now 16 years old. As it gets better (he has done a lot of work here in this vineyard) I do less in the fermentation. A late harvest and cold and this is a very late plot usually, and it is difficult to get the maturity. He has done such a good job here as this is a lovely wine. Pure aroma. Cool and up-toned. This is silky, pure, high toned, mineral. A straight wine. The tannins are light and sit neatly in the palate. It is light, lucid and energetic…I like the swift mineral finish. It’s tastes cool. It’s a nervy wine. 21 hl/ha though, this is why he got the ripeness. It has vitality. With 40hl/ha it would be green and acidic and have no sweetness.). Top notch. " -Sarah Marsh

2013 Volnay villages $49 2 bottles available

2012 Volnay Clos de la Cave $55 4 bottles available

2013 Volnay Clos de la Cave $55 12 bottles available
“The 2013 Volnay Clos de la Cave, which comes from a 0.68-hectare vineyard behind the Bouley’s maison in the village that has a cooler microclimate and no clay in the deep free-draining gravel soil, has a vibrant, very delineated bouquet with crisp red cherries, strawberry and bergamot scents. The palate is well defined with quite a firm backbone encasing the slightly “distant” brambly red berry fruit. This is a masculine Volnay, not as round as other vintages, with a terse finish that should flesh out by the time of bottling that will be done without filtration.” 88-90 Neil Martin

2013 Volnay villages Vieilles Vignes $55 4 bottles available
"The 2013 Volnay Vieilles Vignes comes from just below the premier cru vineyards in a sunny microclimate on shallow, clayey red soils. The terroir is articulated nicely on the nose, the red fruit infused with damp earthy scents, nicely defined. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannins, plenty of fruit here that belies the structure underneath. There is impressive depth to this Volnay, a sappiness to the fruit with a gentle but insistent grip. Afford this 3 to 5 years in bottle before broaching. " 90-92 points Neil Martin

2013 Beaune 1er cru Reversées $49 16 bottles available
“(Bouley noted that this was made with 40% whole clusters). A markedly floral nose exhibits notes of earth, various red berries and exotic tea hints. This is clearly riper than the Vaumuriens with mouth coating medium weight flavors that possess a fleshy palate impression before culminating in a lingering and delicious finale. This very rich effort is not especially refined but I like the frank character and balance. 91/2021+” Allan Meadows

2013 Volnay 1er Carelles $85 15 bottles available
“The 2013 Volnay 1er cru les Carelles adjacent to les Champans comes from a parcel of 16 year old vines that Thomas feels are beginning to get a good balance in the fruit (he described it as his “baby”). This has one of the most complex bouquets from Bouley this year with recurrant, raspberry and fresh strawberry fruit intermingling with chalk and sous-bois scents. The palate is medium bodied with lithe tannins, very fine delineation and salinity, structured but not lineaer like the Caillerets, more “flowing” and fanning out toward the slightly chalky finish. This comes highly recommended.” 91-93 points Neil Martin

2013 Volnay 1er Cailleret $85 8 bottles available
“100% de-stemmed 10 year old vines. Lucid, pure and ethereal. Silky, pure and rippling. This is a very refined; it has the fruit and sweetness (maybe the young vine exuberance), but the straight, pure, high wire of the terroir underneath. Lovely salty finish… Very good finish for 10 years old vines. Score 18.5. From 2019/20” -Sarah Marsh

2013 Volnay 1er Clos des Chenes $99 15 bottles available
“(vinified with 40% whole clusters). This is quite densely fruited with its markedly floral and earth-inflected aromas of red cherry and pomegranate. There is a fine sense of vibrancy to the utterly delicious medium weight plus flavors that display ample minerality and focused power on the impressively long, serious and quite firmly structured finale. Recommended but note well that this is definitely a wine for the patient. 92/2025+” Allan Meadows

2013 Pommard 1er Rugiens $119 10 bottles available
“The 2013 Pommard 1er cru Rugiens was 100% destemmed in this vintage. It has a perfumed, floral bouquet with expressive mineral scents (cold wet limestone) percolating through the aromatics that remain elegant rather than powerful. The palate is medium-bodied with soft supple tannin and abundant raspberry and boysenberry fruit. It gradually builds in the mouth and offers a peacock’s tail of peppery red and black fruit on the long finish that has plenty of finesse. This comes recommended.” 91-93 points Neil Martin


Thomas is moving from strength to strength, accepting nothing less than his very best. As just about anyone who has met him can tell you, he is as driven and passionate a vigneron as one will ever encounter. It is my honor to be entrusted to represent his work, a clear sign to me of our mutual vision and values.
The 2014 wines are slated for arrival post harvest '16. 2014 wines are offered here during a one week presell, after which time prices will rise 10-15%. In stock wines are offered first come, first served. Upon confirmation, payment due in full via check/Friends and Family Paypal/or cc+%.
As always, with any questions or interests: rob@downtoearthwines.net