2011 1er Cru Grand Clos des Épenots Domaine de Courcel


Properly rich. A huge sensual weight of deep black fruit and succulent juiciness. Damson and blackberry fruit, but so much else besides - saline and intense too.L&S (Jan 2013)

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The red fruits on the nose are fresh quite fragrant slightly lacking in weight. The palate is sweeter with some rich fruit filling out the middle but towards the back the red fruited freshness comes through giving a lighter more elegant feel to the finish. 2015-22 Rating: 92 Derek Smedley MW, www.dereksmedleymw.co.uk (Dec 2013)

(from an enormous 4.8 ha parcel with vines ranging from 50 to 65 years of age). This is quite ripe yet retains a lovely freshness to the cassis, black cherry, lavender and warm earth scents. There is excellent power and volume to the concentrated, intense and mouth coating big-bodied flavors that culminate in an impressively long and balanced finish. This is a bigger wine than the Fremiers but it’s no more complex and as is usually the case, less refined. A qualitative choice but the respective characteristics are distinctly different. 2023+ Rating: 90-93 Allen Meadows, www.Burghound.com (Apr 2013)

(the crop level here was barely 20 hectoliters per hectare owing to a bad flowering and a lot of millerandage, and the potential alcohol of 13.3% was the highest for the estate in 2011; finished its malo very late, in August): Good full red. Complex, mellow aromas of plum, smoke and minerals. Rich, sappy and very ripe, conveying a distinctly sensual, tactile texture. Very broad, suave wine with serious but thoroughly ripe tannins. Strongly spicy throughout. Rating: 89-92 Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar (Feb 2013)

Rating: 17.5++ Matthew Jukes www.matthewjukes.com (Jan 2013)

This Clos des Epenots is very marked by whole bunches, but it’s also a quintessential Pommard: rich and concentrated, but with firm, slightly austere tannins. 2017-26 Rating: 95 Tim Atkin MW, www.timatkin.com (Jan 2013)

Bright mid cherry. A little leafy on the nose and even more so on the palate. Fresh and pretty dry on the finish. 2015-2024 Rating: 16 Richard Hemming MW - www.JancisRobinson.com (Jan 2013)

Bright light crimson. Ripe fruit notes on the nose here plus a little polish (texture not flavour). Really quite luscious – really very different in build from the much more concentrated and tougher Comte Armand one. There's even some juice and fluidity on this sample. Not a blockbuster but a pleaser. 2017-2027 Rating: 17 Jancis Robinson OBE MW - www.JancisRobinson.com (Jan 2013)

Dense and rich aroma. Powerful and muscular palate. Velvety muscularity. Sweet tannins. A wine with scope and a good finish. Fine+. From 2018 Rating: 18.25 Sarah Marsh MW, The Burgundy Briefing (Nov 2012)

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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