Ballot-Millot has become my favorite under the radar Burgundy domaine. The whites are good, and the reds are very good. This wine is the Volnay you read about: it’s very lightly colored (I understand that young Charles Ballot does nothing to promote a deep color in his reds, saying “if it comes, it comes”), but highly perfumed with red fruits and earth; it’s beautifully clean and cool on the palate, with a fleshy, nicely textured mid-palate, and it finishes with good drive and persistence. Jeremy Holmes had a good note awhile back regarding the 2010 Ballot-Millot Pommard Pezerolles, which was consistent with my experience with that wine. Qualitatively, that wine and this wine are equals, but this wine is just so pretty. I really dig the light color and deep perfume, a la Rayas, which was among my first “aha” wine experiences about 25 years ago. I love (and sell) Lafarge, but I don’t believe that $55 will get you anything like this there. I would be very surprised if anyone who likes Volnay did not fall for this wine. It says VOLNAY.
As an aside, I am not one to flip over this vintage or that, but boy are the 2010 red Burgundies ever good!
Disclaimer: I sell this wine, and lots of other good red Burgundies, but few as good as this for $55.
I tend to think of them as specializing in Meursault. The father Phillipe is a complete gentleman. His son is certainly making progress with his winemaking. I haven’t tried their reds but their whites can be solid, not at the top of the list for Meursault but offering respectable QPR.
That’s certainly a fair assessment, Richard. I have tried a number of Ballot-Millot wines, red and white, from 2008-2010, and I believe that the 2010 Pommard Pezerolles and Volnay Taillepieds are on another level. The Pezerolles has the richness, intensity and grip that is often associated with good Pommard, and the Taillepieds is quintessentially pretty Volnay. I understand that the son is looking to make soil-driven, perfumed, transparent wines, and he has certainly done that with these two 2010s. IMHO, there are not a lot of 2010s for $55 out there that are better.
I remember when KLWM started to carry these wines in the 80s. I tried a few of both colors and was not very impressed. IIRC, the wines were not very expressive of their terroir and were somewhat foursquare. I suppose they are worth trying again, as it sounds like the generational turnover has made a difference.
I sat with Philippe and Charles at the La Paulee Grand Dinner a couple of years ago and there seemed to be real interest in upping their game. Over the past couple years I’ve enjoyed their 04 and 08 Meursault Genevrieres, the 08 Meursault Perrieres and their 99, 06, 07 and 09 Meursault Charmes (the 06 and 09 are ripe but not wildly so). The 99 was singing. The 07 was a steal < $50. PLCB was blowing out the 04 Genevrieres for approx $35 so I bought several. Again, these weren’t blockbusters, but very respectable white Burgs.
Two nights ago, I opened a bottle of the 2010 Taillepieds. Its nose was full of florals, cranberries, red cherries, and spice; the palate was a single note of spicy red fruit on a light-medium body with very balanced acidity; the finish was memorably persistent. If the palate gains flavor-complexity with age, it will be a very pretty wine for the price, in my opinion.
Had the '10 Taillepieds last night as well as the Beaune epenottes. Both very nice. Delicately styled. The volnay showing lovely red and blue fruit with spices and a stony base. Nice acid and refined tannins. The beaune was a bit more fruit forward, with strawberry, cranberry, and sweet red cherries, leather, and a talc powder kinda mineral element. The tannins were a bit more rustic, coming in soft and drying out a lot on the finish.
As Martin has said these wines exhibit great typicity. Bravo.
Nowell and Corey, thank you for posting your notes. It sounds very much like we had similar impressions of the wine. I just had Atherton Imports, which imports the wines here on the west coast, lock down more of the 2010 Taillepieds and Pezerolles for me as I believe that they will evolve beautifully given their constituents and balance. I don’t see too many 2010s like this remaining in importer’s/distributor’s inventory.