2011 1er Cru Rugiens 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
ABV 13%
Vineyard Rugiens

To begin with this seems almost bizarrely soft and sexy, but then the tannins kick in and the fruit bulids and intensifies. Really dense and exciting, mineral. Spicy too on the finish, and there is still a sweetness to the tannins. 'Tannins de Piedmont', says Yves. L&S (Jan 2013)

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The nose is full of ripe fruit a mix of fleshy black and slightly fresher red. Fruit ripeness enriches the palate a lovely depth of flavour all backed by fine tannins. The finish has a bit more power and depth of flavour. 2015-22 Rating: 93 Derek Smedley MW, www.dereksmedleymw.co.uk(Dec 2013)

There is really lovely complexity to the cool, restrained and elegant aromas of ripe red and blue pinot fruit and wet stone nuances that enjoy added refinement from the presence of dried floral elements. There is a suave, round and sophisticated mouth feel to the intensely mineral-driven flavors that are shaped by firm and dense yet fine-grained tannins, all wrapped in a mocha-inflected finish. This is an unusually ripe 2011. 2023+ Rating: 91-93 Allen Meadows, www.Burghound.com(Apr 2013)

Bright red, not quite as deep as the Grand Clos des Epenots. Exotic aromas of red fruits, clove, iron and raw meat are complicated by an almost metallic minerality. Silky, sweet and deep; seriously rich but lively too. The most tangy of these 2011s and the longest too, finishing with very fine-grained tannins and an impression of energy. This has a serious structure for aging and will probably require a good seven or eight years of bottle aging before it approaches its plane of peak drinkability. Rating: 91-93 Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar(Feb 2013)

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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