2012 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

Fine. This year it really sings again. Intense concentration and a touch of salinity in the tannins. Dense, savoury. Almost (but not) 'too much'. Amazing concentrated length. L&S (Dec 2013)

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Medium red, a bit less deep than the Grand Clos des Epenots. Sexy, multidimensional nose combines scents of dark raspberry, strawberry, mocha, iron, truffle, tobacco leaf and iris. Compellingly full and silky on the palate, conveying a pronounced fruit sweetness but also a firm shape and a solid mineral underpinning. Noble building tannins saturate the palate and front teeth. This wine may yet shut down in the bottle but it's wonderfully complex and satisfying right now. Drinking range: 2021 - 2035 Rating: 93+ Stephen Tanzer, www.vinousmedia.com(Mar 2015)

(from a 1.07 ha parcel in Rugiens-Hauts). Reduction completely dominates the nose at present. There is plenty of wood influence to the broad-shouldered and quite concentrated flavors that exude a fine minerality on the powerful and impressively long finish though here again there is enough bitterness today that it at least poses the question as to whether it will age out in time. My range offers the benefit of the doubt. 2027+ Rating: 90-93 Allen Meadows, www.Burghound.com(Apr 2014)

The fact that Yves Confuron manages to make such impressive wines at this Pommard domaine, while also running his own family estate makes you wonder at his levels of energy. This is typically aromatic and spicy, with evident whole bunch characters on the nose and palate. It’s also a very ethereal Pommard, with fine tannins and a focused, mineral finish. The tannins are there, but they support rather than dominate the wine. 2018-30 Rating: 96 Tim Atkin MW, www.timatkin.com(Jan 2014)

Delicious iodine, liquorice and mushroom character – this has a fantastic array of rare, exotic flavours – in fact, it reminds me of the (few) times I’ve tasted DRC. Bags of tannin, really unique flavours – a benchmark Burgundy, and up there with the best of them. Needs loads of age. 2024-2044 Rating: 19 Richard Hemming MW - www.JancisRobinson.com(Jan 2014)

(the crop level here was a tiny 13 hectoliters per hectare, according to Yves Confuron, and just 9.5 in 2013): Good bright, full red. Captivating, complex aromas of red raspberry, redcurrant, flowers, minerals and mocha. A step up in sweetness and thickness from the Grand Clos des Epenots, but with lively pepper and spice notes giving the wine very good definition and energy. The biggest and longest of these 2012s, finishing with ripe tannins and a lingering note of iron. Very concentrated wine with superb potential. Rating: 92-94 Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar(Jan 2014)

The 2012 Pommard 1er Cru Les Rugiens has a light and more airy bouquet when compared to the Grand Clos les Epenots – well defined and very pure. The palate is crisp and taut with blood orange infusing the red berry fruit, but the finish is a tight fist of tannins at the moment. Rating: 87-89 Neal Martin, www.robertparker.com(Jan 2014)

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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