2017 Domaine Comte Armand

Grapes Pinot Noir
Colour Red
Origin France, Burgundy
District Côte d'Or
Sub-district Côte de Beaune
Village Auxey Duresses
ABV 13.5%

All this comes from one parcel of 35-65 year old vines. From a clay rich vineyard. No whole bunch is used. This is pretty but has a nice grippy intensity too. Paul has allowed quite a long maceration - he wanted to do this to add depth a total of 4 weeks of maceration, after fermentation. Nice cherry flesh and some perky skin bite too. Grip and structure in place. As yet this is unfined and Paul says he will fine it gently, which will soften the firmish tannins a tad. Drinking range: 2019 - 2024 L&S (Nov 2018)

*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.

The 2017 Auxey-Duresses Village has a lovely bouquet of quite precocious red cherries and crushed strawberry on the nose; undergrowth scents and hints of dark chocolate develop with aeration. The palate is medium-bodied with a citric opening. A little angular at the moment but displays fine depth. This is a fruit-driven Auxey-Duresses that might need another couple of years to smooth its edges. Drinking range: 2021 - 2029 Rating: 88 Neal Martin, (Jan 2020)

Mid cherry red. Scented with dark-red fruit. Light herbal/stemmy character giving freshness to the ripeness of the fruit, which is deep and rounded and generous. Sweet cherries on the long finish. Already smooth. Drinking range: 2020 - 2025 Rating: 16.5 Julia Harding MW, (Jan 2019)

The 2017 Auxey-Duresses Village has a well-defined, slightly earthy bouquet of attractive black fruit. The medium-bodied palate features notes of bilberry and veins of black olive, the modest 12% new oak lending a smooth sheen. The saline, quite rounded finish suggests that this will make fine early drinking. Drinking range: 2020 - 2026 Rating: 87-89 Neal Martin, (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.

This wine isn't currently part of a mixed case, but you can always browse our full selection of mixed cases here.
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