|Sub-district||Côte de Beaune|
The Auxey 'village' is higher and faces more to the west. This 1er Cru is on the lower slopes and faces south and south-east. Unlike the village it had been racked a month before I tasted. Closed after racking but one could still already see more seriousness and just 'class'. Structure and depth. Year after year this is a bargain for those prepared to wait a little. L&S (Dec 2012)
Currently out of stock in our warehouse.
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|Chelsea||020 7244 0522|
|Kensington||020 7221 1982|
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|Chiswick||020 8995 7355|
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(a blend of two 1ers, the older vines Les Bréterins and Bas de Duresses – the vines run from 35 to 75 years of age). This possesses a nose that is compositionally similar to that of the straight Auxey but offers both a bit more aromatic depth and complexity. There is good richness to the lightly mineral-inflected flavors that possess good detail and fine length on the less obviously rustic finish as the tannins are more fine-grained. 2019+ Rating: 88-91 Allen Meadows, www.Burghound.com(Apr 2013)
Bright medium red. Darker and more subdued on the nose than the village offering, showing pure aromas of black raspberry, black cherry and licorice. Rich and dense but also juicy and tight, with firm acidity and underlying minerality keeping the wine's lively fruit under wraps today. Finishes serious and long, with chewy but ripe tannins and good lift Rating: 88-91 Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar(Feb 2013)
Rating: 17+ Matthew Jukes www.matthewjukes.com(Jan 2013)
Lively and transparent with lots of acidity. Sinewy. Dry finish. Energy but not much charm here. 2016-2025 Rating: 16 Jancis Robinson MW OBE - www.JancisRobinson.com(Jan 2013)
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 has nailed his colours to the mast by saying he wants 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.
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