Domaine de la Pousse d’Or cuts an imposing figure in the small town of Volnay. As the gates swung upon and I made my way up the cobblestone drive, I was struck by the stately manor house before me and the sense of history all around.
Established, as part of a larger estate in the 16th century, the domaine takes its name from one of its three, famed monopole vineyards: Clos de la Bousse d’Or, an old French term meaning “Golden Earth”. Over time, with the evolution of language, the B became P and thus the domaine was christened (though the vineyard plot retains the original B).
In 1997, industrialist Patrick Landanger acquired Domaine de la Pousse d’Or from legendary Volnay winemaker Gérard Potel. Vineyard purchases followed in Puligny-Montrachet, Corton, Chambolle-Musigny, and Clos de la Roche. Today, the estate consists of 17-hectares of certified biodynamically farmed vineyards including an impressive five Grand Cru plots and 11 Premier Crus, three of which are monopoles (exclusively owned by the estate).
Landanger originally intended to delegate winemaking responsibilities, but after five years and five different winemakers he decided to take over the reins, going back to school in Beaune to study oenology. He also set about rebuilding the winery, implementing a gravity flow system and various other improvements.
All Pinot Noir grapes are destemmed at Domaine de la Pousse d’Or, followed by a five day cold soak. Fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks with wild yeasts, to a maximum temperature of 32°C. Barrel maturation lasts 12 to 18 months in roughly 30% new French oak. Minimal sulphur is used and all wines are bottled via gravity flow, unfined and unfiltered, according to the lunar calendar.
Wine writer Stephen Brook once remarked in a Decanter.com article, “Volnay is the Chambolle-Musigny of the Côte de Beaune, it is marked by elegance rather than power”. This mantra seems to underpin the winemaking style of Domaine de la Pousse d’Or, whose array of top Volnay terroirs is matched by similar pedigree plots in Chambolle Musigny. In fact, my 2017 vintage tasting centred around these two star appellations.
Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru “Les Feusselottes” 2017
Very fragrant, with pretty red cherry, crushed raspberry, floral and marzipan aromas. Brisk on the palate, with medium body, lively red and black fruit flavours and silky tannins.
Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru “Les Groseilles” 2017
Les Groseilles shows more black fruit nuances than Les Feusselottes. Quite firm in structure, with fine-grained tannins and a weighty core of ripe black fruits. Pleasing earthy nuances are revealed on the finish.
Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru “Les Amoureuses” 2017
Beautifully floral nose, redolent with violets, rose petals, mixed red and black fruit aromas, and finally mocha nuances that develop with aeration. Very silky and fresh on the palate, with impressive depth of tangy wild berry fruit that lingers long on the finish.
Bonnes Mares Grand Cru 2017
Highly complex and incredibly appealing, with layers of crushed raspberry, red cherry, blueberry, wet leaf, leather, mocha, and graphite on the nose. The palate is weighty and dense, yet shows lovely finesse with its plush texture, vibrant fruit, well-integrated spicy oak and polished tannins.
Clos de la Roche Grand Cru 2017
A powerful wine with its firm, grippy structure and impressive concentration. Aromas of ripe black fruit layered with deeper notes of truffles, exotic spice, and cedar are echoed on the palate. The finish is framed by big, muscular tannins that need time to unfurl.
Volnay 1er Cru “Clos de la Bousse d’Or” 2017
A lovely mineral expression on the nose gives way to brambly red berry and cherry notes. The pa;ate offers brisk acidity, medium body, moderate concentration, and a firm structure. The tannins are somewhat chewy, with just a hint of refreshing bitterness. The finish is long, and lifted.
Volnay 1er Cru “Clos des Soixante Ouvrées” 2017
Really inviting tangy red cherry and violet notes are lifted by layers of exotic spice and warm earthy nuances on the nose and palate. Brisk acidity and a fairly sinewy palate structure, with ripe yet firm tannins that require a little time to soften. Mocha, grilled hazelnut, and cedar hints linger on the long finish.
An amphora trial of the same cuvée showed similar aromatics but a smoother, fleshier texture, with fine-grained tannins and bright, pure fruit flavours.
Corton Clos du Roi Grand Cru 2017
Beautifully fragrant nose featuring vibrant red berry fruit with undertones of clove, violets, wet leaf, and leather. Bright acidity is ably matched by a highly concentrated, juicy core of red fruit. Overall quite a tightly knit, full bodied offering with ripe, yet muscular tannins that require a few years to soften.