Jean Javillier Volnay Premier Cru Clos des Chenes 2022


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“As I wrote only a few months ago, Domaine Jean Javillier & Fils is the sort of estate that this wine critic dreams of discovering. Hiding in plain sight equidistant between the premises of Coche-Dury and Roulot, this small domaine—producing a mere 20,000 bottles per year—does everything the old-fashioned way. Farming vineyards that have never seen chemicals and which have been certified organic since 1971, Alain Javillier favors massal selections: “We tried clones in the past, but they are not as good; I’m only going to let you taste wines made from massal selections.” Reds and whites alike are harvested in small crates, with whites pressed in an old Vaslin mechanical press. The musts are chilled to 15 degrees Celsius, and Alain tastes the lees when barreling down. Twelve months maturation in barrel and four in tank ensue, followed by bottling by hand, by gravity. Reds, by contrast, ferment without temperature control, and only free-run juice is used. The result is chewy, structured whites with plenty of texture and dry extract and sumptuous, supple and exquisitely elegant reds. “Some people tell me I make red wine for girls,” Javillier remarks. The inspiration here is sound: the white and red Burgundies of the 1940s. How much longer can such methods endure? “Now everyone works faster and faster, we have more and more Chardonnay, less and less Meursault,” Javillier poignantly observes. Indeed, so unspoiled is this domaine, I hesitated to write about it. But any readers nostalgic for the wines of yesteryear, before the stylistic excesses of the 1990s and the subsequent reaction against them, will find them at this address.

William Kelley, Wine Advocate (01/22)