2005 1er Cru Grand Clos des Épenots Domaine de Courcel

Grapes Pinot Noir
Colour Red
Origin France, Burgundy
District Côte d'Or
Sub-district Côte de Beaune
Village Pommard
Classification 1er Cru
Vineyard Grand Clos des Épenots

Very ripe nose - a bit gassy when I tasted it - but lots and lots of volume. Very Pommard, but not in a hard way - just massive and chock-full of black fruit expressiveness. Hugely impressive. L&S (Dec 2006)

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Courcel’s 2005 Pommard Grand Clos des Epenots (which exhibits a notably darker color than Courcel’s other wines) leads with aromas of cassis, smoked meat, bitter chocolate, and resin. In the mouth, this is concentrated and compact in structure, yet rich and expansive in flavor, with dark fruit, meat stock and chocolate mingling in a concentrated reduction, tinged by bitter fruit skin, fruit pit, coffee ground and wet stone. Ample, rich fruit covers the abundant and tightly-stitched tannin, but the almost savagely intense finish betrays a hint of heat from the wine’s roughly 14.5% alcohol. Something tells me that this potentially long-lived animal of a wine is being a bit obstreperous today. (Incidentally, Confuron’s pithy, piquant, darkly-hued 2004 Grands Epenots and Rugiens display unusual potential for that vintage, although their similarly elevated levels of alcohol are more likely to catch up with them.) Rating: 92 David Schildknecht, The Wine Advocate (Feb 2012)

(from an enormous 5 ha parcel with vines ranging from 50 to 65 years of age). The first wine to display a touch of wood spice on the moderately reduced nose that introduces still bigger, richer and more structured flavors that possess serious size and weight, culminating in a velvety and mouth coating finish that seems to go on and on. This is an extremely impressive wine constructed in an old school style but there's nothing rustic or inelegant about it. 2015+ Rating: 92-94 Allen Meadows, www.Burghound.com (May 2007)

Good deep red. Very ripe, smoky nose showed mounting red fruits with aeration; ultimately much less extreme than the Fremiers. Then similarly huge in the mouth, with smoke and mineral notes complicated by an exotic stone fruit (peach, apricot) character. This silky, voluptuous wine offers superb depth of flavor and slowly mounting, superripe finishing flavors that saturate the palate. Best of all, it seemed to gain in freshness as it opened in the glass. Rating: 93 Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar (Mar 2007)

Domaine de Courcel

One of the great domaines of Pommard, with a 400 year history in the same family. The domaine produces a small amount of Bourgogne Chardonnay, a completely over-performing Bourgogne Rouge, a village Pommard (Vaumuriens, 1.44 ha), but the biggest part of the domaine consists of four great Premier Cru expressions of the terroir of Pommard, Fremiers (0.79 ha), Croix Noires (0.58 ha), Grand Clos des Epenots (4.89 ha) and Rugiens (1.07 ha). These represent a very different style to the Clos des Épeneaux of Comte Armand, for example. Yves Confuron, the régisseur, describes the difference between the two top wines by saying that the Grand Clos is 'terreux' while the Rugiens is 'aérien'.

The aim is to limit yields to around 25hl/ha, to attain optimum ripeness. The vines are ploughed, and pruned carefully to suit each one, then de-budded in spring and green-harvested in August to keep the fruit load balanced. Following Yves' usual practice the harvest is late and the vatting is long - usually around a month, with a cold maceration leading into a cool fermentation, and a long post-fermentation soak under the protection of the carbon dioxide given off by the fermentation. The wines are developed in barrel over 21 to 23 months, with a third of the barrels being replaced each year. After racking they are bottled without fining or filtration.

The domaine produces wines with astonishing depth and density that still retain the freshness, just like Yves' own wines at Domaine Confuron-Cotetidot. They are classic vins de garde and patience is advised - and will be amply rewarded.

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