POMMARD

2005 1er Cru Clos des Épeneaux Domaine Comte Armand

IN STOCK
Grapes Pinot Noir
Colour Red
Origin France, Burgundy
District Côte d'Or
Sub-district Côte de Beaune
Village Pommard
Classification 1er Cru
ABV 13.5%
Vineyard Clos des Épeneaux

Very dark colour and very rich texture. Firmly tannic, but these are fine, ripe tannins, and do not taste hard or aggressive. But wow, Benjamin's right when he says this is a bit of throwback to the Pascal Marchand era here. There's no doubt in my mind that it has the fruit concentration to sustain this structure, but do think in terms of keeping this for 18-20 years or you will not see the best of it. A grand, classic wine. L&S (Jan 2007)

*Case price discount: Mix any 12 bottles (or 9l equivalent) of wine or 6 bottles of Champagne, Spirits, Sweet Wine or Fortified to get the 'case price' for each bottle.

Saturated ruby. Superripe but fresh aromas of black raspberry, licorice and spices, with a hint of more exotic fruits. Sweet but not quite jammy, with very rich and distinctly black fruit flavors complicated by spices and bitter chocolate. A Pommard of compelling depth and verve, with flavors mounting slowly and inexorably to take over the entire palate. Finishes very long, with a boatload of tannins. This is huge in terms of its fruit, tannins, alcohol (14%) and acidity (the pH is just 3.3). Leroux believes that it's even riper than the 1990 version, but notes that this style of wine "is not why I'm working in Burgundy." This should evolve in bottle for at least two decades, but I believe it's already beginning to shut down. Rating: 93(+?) Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar (Mar 2008)

(the vine ages in this 5+ ha vineyard run from 17 to 70+ years of age. The 2005 Clos des Epeneaux is segregated into 3 different cuvées based on vineyard location and will then be blended in varying proportions. The tasting note below is based upon a sample that should reasonably resemble the final blend). The three different cuvées all brought something different to the blend in terms of elegance, power and depth. The blend, like the individual cuvées, displayed a moderately reduced nose that was interestingly enough, still fresh with notes of plum, spice and earth where the earthy character can also be found on the textured, velvety and mouth coating full-bodied flavors blessed by superb depth of material and so much dry extract that the finish is borderline chewy but not at all aggressive. A serious wine that will need at least 15 years to really be at its best but when it arrives, it should more than repay the wait. 2020+ Rating: 92-95 Allen Meadows, www.Burghound.com (Apr 2007)

Deep crimson. Very solid and grown-up on the nose. The fruit tastes like a polished jewel. Masses here, not least quite a bit of oak, but this is certainly ambitious. It should repay investment. Very, very fresh! 2012-25 Rating: 18.5 Jancis Robinson OBE MW - www.JancisRobinson.com (Jan 2007)

Domaine Comte Armand

A domaine totalling nine hectares, of which the most important part is a magnificent five hectare monopole of the Pommard Premier Cru Clos des Epeneaux, which was put together by Nicolas Marey in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries (along with the DRC Romanée Saint Vivant 'Marey-Monge'). These vineyards were all sold, except for the Clos (now been enclosed by a wall), which came to Jean-François Armand as a dowry when he married Nicolas' daughter in 1826. The Volnay vineyards were added in 1994, followed by parcels in Auxey Duresses.

The current Comte Armand is a lawyer living in Paris, but very supportive of the régisseurs who have looked after this domaine for the thirty years or so that L&S have been buying here. The 1980 vintage, made by one of the many Rossignols of Volnay who was in charge at the time, was for us a great introduction to the possibilities of the great Clos des Epeneaux vineyard. Then came the era of Pascal Marchand, a young Quebecois who came to do a harvest with Domaine Bruno Clair and just never left. He began a period of radical restructuring and the introduction of organic and then biodynamic farming, while making very dark, dense and long-lived wines. Benjamin Leroux, hugely respected amongst growers who approach things from an organic or biodynamic point of view, then took over, and refined this approach and changed the way the parcels of vines are divided up for harvesting, paying less attention to just the age of the vines, and more to the underlying soil types. Claude Bourguignon was employed to provide a full geological survey of the Clos as the basis for this. Under Benjamin the wines of the Clos gained in finesse and precision, while still having the depth and richness expected of a great Pommard.

Both Pascal and Benjamin were keen to expand beyond the confines of the Clos, and the Domaine also has vines in Volnay, and, a particular enthusiasm of both Pascal and Benjamin, in Auxey Duresses, where they are convinced of the great potential of some of this village's undervalued and neglected terroirs. Paul Zinetti, who had worked with Ben for four years, took over in 2014.

The vineyard is cultivated organically (ECOCERT certified) and biodynamically. The grapes are entirely de-stemmed, but left intact, for a five to eight-day cold maceration before the fermentation, which lasts five to ten days, and then the wine remains in the fermenters for between three and fifteen days, depending on the vintage. In most years, the total time with skin contact will be around four weeks, which is longer than most. The wines will then be aged in barrel for between eighteen and twenty-four months, with new wood limited to 30% for the wine from the old vines of the Clos, down to none at all for the village wines.

Paul said from the outset that he wanted to make to make a less tannic wine in the Clos, and one which is more about aromatic length. In this he is continuing the route that Ben was following, but perhaps taking it even further.

This wine isn't currently part of a mixed case, but you can always browse our full selection of mixed cases here.
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