|Sub-district||Côte de Beaune|
This comes from two different plots, each with very different terroirs. 40% from Bertrands which is made up of lots of limestone and adds real finesse. The remaining 60% comes from the Bas de Duresses which has deeper soil, more clay. This adds the depth and weight to the blend. Paul is not planning to fine nor filter this and you can see why. There is good density and great energy. Really joyously vibrant, but it is hard not to like the nicely ripe fruit too. This is measured and has good push with pretty red fruit. A great Auxey. L&S (Nov 2018)
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The 2017 Auxey-Duresses 1er Cru has a distinctly earthy, terra-cotta-tinged bouquet, the tiny bit of whole bunch more evident than I would have presupposed. The palate is well balanced with a fine bead of acidity, taut and fresh, leading to a lightly spiced, sapid finish. Very fine, but I would drink it over the next decade. Drinking range: 2023 - 2032 Rating: 89 Neal Martin, www.vinous.com (Jan 2020)
(a blend of two 1ers, Les Bréterins and Bas de Duresses – the vines run from 35 to 75 years of age). This deftly wooded effort is aromatically similar to the Auxey villages though with a bit more earth influence that can also be found on the slightly finer medium-bodied flavors that evidence more evident minerality on the austere, serious and structured finale. Provided that you have the patience to cellar it, this should deliver fine quality in time. Drinking range: 2028 - Rating: 90 Alison Napjus, The Wine Spectator (Apr 2019)
Rather muted nose but convincingly set for the long term in a sweet-cookie sort of way, with sweetness and spice to the fore. Drinking range: 2022 - 2030 Rating: 16.5 Jancis Robinson OBE MW - www.JancisRobinson.com (Jan 2019)
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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