2018 Domaine Ballot Millot Santenots Volnay Premier Cru, France
Rated 91 Points Burghound
Charles Ballot directs this old line domaine of 11.5 ha, of which 75% of the production is white. Ballot describes the 2018 vintage as "a vintage that is surprising in several different respects. The first is that we had a big difference in production between the 1ers and the villages level vineyards as the latter gave us much higher yields. I chose to begin the harvest on the 30th of August and brought in ripe and clean fruit that ranged between 13.5 and 14.2% in terms of potential alcohol. The other big surprise given how warm the growing season was is just how fresh the wines are, be they red or white. To be sure, the wines are rich but there is both lovely underlying tension as well as good balance. They are also sufficiently rich and forward to make for good early drinking, yet they should have no difficulties aging well too." Ballot noted that the reds were given no punch downs but were vinified over a 3-week period. They were bottled in January 2020. (Atherton Wine Imports, www.awiwine.com, CA, Margate Wine & Spirit Co., www.margatewine.com, NJ, Polaner Selections, www.polanerselections.com, NY (NY/NJ/PA), all USA; Lay & Wheeler, www.laywheeler.com, Thorman Hunt & Co., e-mail: Camille@thormanhunt.co.uk and Georges Barbier, all UK).
An appealingly fresh nose combines notes of various red berries with those of spice and discreet earth wisps. There is a lovely sense of underlying vibrancy to the intense, chiseled and stony flavors that terminate in a serious, firm and built-to-age finale. Lovely.