|Sub-district||Côte de Beaune|
A mix of Bas de Duresses and Bretterins, where the combe opens out, so well-exposed. 10% whole bunch (no room in the tank for more, says Paul), with 2 pigeages in total, and one or two pump-overs a day. Likes to keep it warm at the end of the fermentation to round out the texture. 25% new wood. Silky and crunchy at the same time, lovely fruit and this domaine's purple fresh fruit and suave length. Drinking range: 2026 - 2035 L&S (Oct 2020)
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(a blend of two 1ers, Les Bréterins and Bas de Duresses – the vines run from 35 to 75 years of age). This is also quite ripe with its aromas of poached plum, black cherry, earth, and a touch of floral character. The saline-inflected medium-bodied flavors possess fine very and richness while delivering slightly better length on the moderately grippy and rustic finale. Drinking range: 2026 - Rating: 89-91 Allen Meadows, www.Burghound.com (Apr 2021)
The 2019 Auxey-Duresses 1er Cru, a blend of two vineyards Les Beautrains and Les Bas des Duresses as usual, matured in around 25% new oak. It has a refined bouquet with a little more purity and sensuality compared to the Auxey Village. The palate is well balanced with gentle grip on the entry, quite rich but fresh in style with candied orange peel infusing the mixture of black and blueberry fruit. Crunchy, almost brittle texture towards the finish which is surprising given the type of growing season. Recommended. Drinking range: 2023 - 2038 Rating: 89-91 Neal Martin, www.vinous.com (Dec 2020)
More structured and firm and with drying tannins, this is a mega-impressive wine and it looks seriously good in this vintage. In need of time, because the finish is a little tough and abrupt, there is a whirlwind of fruit here which will propel it forwards perfectly. I am extremely keen on this cuvée. Rating: 18.5/20 Matthew Jukes www.matthewjukes.com (Dec 2020)
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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