2012 1er Cru Grand Clos des Épenots Domaine de Courcel


Immediate sense of class, this wine has a grace to it. Fatness and volume, richly full of fruit but also richly tannic. Very full. Superb richness. Wait fifteen or twenty years and serve with a leg of lamb or venison.L&S (Dec 2013)

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(from an enormous 4.8 ha parcel with vines ranging from 50 to 65 years of age). This is also markedly ripe yet not quite as ripe as the Fremiers with its array of both red and dark currant, black cherry, tobacco and warm earth aromas that are trimmed in noticeable wood. There is fine detail and reasonably good punch to the lush and very round medium-bodied flavors that also display a hint of mocha. This too is a big and overtly powerful Pommard yet it avoids being top heavy. Note that I would strongly suggest that this not even be considered before it has at least 10 years of bottle age. 2027+ Rating: 93 Allen Meadows, www.Burghound.com (Apr 2015)

Good deep red. Slightly roasted red fruits and dried spices on the nose and palate. Sweet, thick and mouthfilling; almost Rhône-like in its ripeness without coming across as heavy. Finishes with noble tannins, excellent length and surprising vinosity. Drinking range: 2022 - 2032 Rating: 92 Stephen Tanzer, www.vinousmedia.com (Mar 2015)

(from an enormous 4.8 ha parcel with vines ranging from 50 to 65 years of age). This is also markedly ripe yet not quite as ripe as the Fremiers with its array of both red and dark currant, black cherry and warm earth aromas. There is fine detail and reasonably good punch to the lush and very round medium-bodied flavors that also display a hint of backend bitterness that will probably age out. 2024+ Rating: 90-92 Allen Meadows, www.Burghound.com (Apr 2014)

It’s hard to choose between this and Les Rugiens from the same domaine in 2012, such is the quality of both bottlings from the outrageously talented Yves Confuron. This is a dense, concentrated wine, but it’s sappy, lively and refined too, with marked, savoury whole bunch characters on the nose and palate and succulent fruit sweetness. 2018-30 Rating: 95 Tim Atkin MW, www.timatkin.com (Jan 2014)

Good full red. Liqueur-like ripeness to the aromas of redcurrant, leather and musky underbrush. Lovely Pommard depth and soil tones to the complex flavors of red berries, smoked meat, spices and pepper. Finishes with dusty tannins and a lingering note of licorice. Excellent potential. Rating: 91-93 Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar (Jan 2014)

Really delicious rhubarb, cranberry and redcurrant fruit – lots to enjoy here already, really expressive and satisfying. Plenty of tannin and acid too – bold and stylised, but successfully so. 2017-2032 Rating: 17.5 Richard Hemming MW - www.JancisRobinson.com (Jan 2014)

The 2012 Pommard 1er Cru Grand Clos Les Epenots is perhaps the centerpiece of the domaine: a considerable 4.92-hectare holding of 65-year old vines. It has a more mineral-driven bouquet that shows admirable clarity and finesse. The palate is very tight at the moment with dark berry fruit, forest floor and a touch of tobacco. There is a gentle grip here, good length and firm backbone on the finish. Perhaps somewhat inevitably, this is my pick from Domaine de Courcel’s 2012 this year Rating: 90-92 Neal Martin, www.vinous.com (Jan 2014)

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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