2016 1er Cru Domaine Comte Armand
|Sub-district||Côte de Beaune|
Racked last week - will be bottled before Christmas 2017. From 2 parcels - 60% Bréterins, and 40% Bas des Duresses. Between 40 & 85 years old. Settles - naturally with a month in tank, no fining or filtration. Good, pure cherry juice. Acidity is great - just there keeping it fresh and clean but not getting in the way of the lovely red berry juiciness. L&S (Oct 2017)
*Case price discount: Mix any 12 bottles (or 9l equivalent) of wine or 6 bottles of Champagne, Spirits, Sweet Wine or Fortified to get the 'case price' for each bottle.
(a blend of two 1ers, Les Bréterins and Bas de Duresses – the vines run from 35 to 75 years of age). A ripe, pretty and very fresh nose offers up ample earth character on the red and dark berry fruit-scented aromas. There is both excellent cut and punch to the lightly mineral-inflected middle weight flavors that possess a sappy mouth feel on the relatively fine finish that exhibits almost no rusticity. One to check out for value as this is very good. Drinking range: 2022 - Rating: 89-92 Allen Meadows, www.Burghound.com (Apr 2018)
Open, light and grainy on the nose. Rather loose and unstructured with some oak influence on the sample I'm trying. You'll need to wait quite a while for this and it's not the freshest sample. Drinking range: 2026 - 2036 Rating: 16++ Jancis Robinson OBE MW - www.JancisRobinson.com (Jan 2018)
The 2016 Auxey Duresses 1er Cru was reduced to eight barrels this year with one of those new, and the fruit this year including 10% whole bunch. It has a clean and fresh black plum and red cherry-scented bouquet that is nicely defined. I appreciate the purity here, simmering undergrowth scents tucked just underneath the carapace of fruit. The palate is medium-bodied with crunchy red fruit—cranberry and raspberry preserve—with a light tang of soy toward the vivacious finish and a pinch of black pepper on the aftertaste. There is not much of it, but what there is, is delightful. Drinking range: 2019 - 2028 Rating: 90-92 Neal Martin, www.vinous.com (Dec 2017)
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 said from the outset that he wanted to make 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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