Domaine Potinet-Ampeau is in Monthélie, a tiny town a few minutes drive west of Volnay. Vincent Durrieu is the fifth generation of his family to run the domaine. His grandparents were among the first winemakers in Burgundy to export to the U.S. Durrieu’s grandparents also started the practice of holding back “vins de garde” so that the domaine always has older vintages on offer. Potinet-Ampeau has long had a reputation for making wines for the long haul, meaning that they rest a relatively long time in the domaine’s extremely well-maintained cellar before release. The family owns 21.5 acres of Premier Cru and village vineyards in red and white appellations in Puligny-Montrachet, Meursault, Auxey-Duresses, Volnay, Pommard and Monthélie. The vineyards are farmed organically.
Volnay is a small appellation with just 904 vineyard acres and a town of fewer than 500 residents. Nevertheless, to Burgundy enthusiasts, it's a jewel. Clive Coates calls Volnay “one of the most delightful wines and one of the most rewarding communes in the Côte d’Or.” Robert M. Parker Jr. described Volnay as “the queen of the Côte de Beaune.” Volnay has always been appealing. In the 13th and 14th centuries the powerful Dukes of Burgundy acquired land there and built chateaux. The medieval town sits on the hillside above the vineyards and the appellation is restricted to red wines made of Pinot Noir. Though there are no Grands Crus, there are 35 Premiers Crus. Some reviewers say the lighter soil of Volnay, compared with Pommard to the north, makes Volnay wines more delicate and elegant than wines from neighboring appellations. Robert M. Parker Jr. wrote that Volnay has a “high-quality level of winemaking…The top Volnays possess an immense, seductive fruitiness and lushness…”
This red wine is relatively light and can pair with a wide variety of foods. The grape prefers cooler climates and the wine is most often associated with Burgundy, Champagne and the U.S. west coast. Regional differences make it nearly as fickle as it is flexible.