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Domaine Jean-Marc Bouley

Domaine Jean-Marc Bouley

Thomas Bouley’s domaine, which has been in his family for four generations, now consists of 12 hectares in Volnay, Pommard and Beaune. The winery is located underneath his house on a steep, narrow street in the village of Volnay. The house was originally built by a retired railroad engineer, and the cellars resemble train tunnels.

Thomas’ father, Jean-Marc, took over the domaine in 1974 and he set about significantly expanded the holdings, buying choice parcels in Volnay and Pommard and he immediately attained international acclaim for his exciting, dramatic Pinot Noirs. He was joined by his son Thomas in 2002, and in working together they have pushed their estate a large step forward. His father retired in 2012, but today Thomas Bouley makes wines from 11 different appellations, aiming for maximum extraction of colour, flavour and aroma to yield wines that are lushly fruity, yet balanced and complex.

The 2002 vintage marked a turning point at the domaine, as several positive, long-planned developments happily coincided with a superb vintage. Thomas brought with him a new vision of quality, influenced in part by his experiences in California and New Zealand. Together, the Bouleys continued their expert work in the vineyards to enhance the quality of grapes produced by their mature vines. Bouley’s soils are healthier than ever as they have now not been treated with chemical products for over 7 years. The pruning and training of the vines has been adapted to reduce yields to 6-8 bunches per vine, each best placed to enhance its exposure to sun and ventilation. Bouley has reduced the yield of his vines naturally by eliminating the use of fertiliser, encouraging grass to grow between the rows, plowing regularly, and trimming the late season growth of the vines, thereby diminishing the amount of resources available in the plants for the production of grapes. The result is riper and naturally healthier fruit at harvest time.

Also starting with the 2002 vintage, Bouley Père et Fils started to work in their newly-renovated and expanded cellar (a few rows of the Clos de la Cave were sacrificed to make room for the expansion). Improved working conditions and humidity control made for more vivid, pure wines. Finally, Bouley increased the number of new oak casks to 30-70%, depending on the wine and the vintage.

The results are truly brilliant, marking a new level of excellence chez Bouley. Jean-Marc’s goal, when he began with 2 hectares in 1974, has now been attained: to bring his estate to the level of the very best in Volnay and Pommard.

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