Today’s Story: Domaine Henri Gouges
Though the Gouges family has deep-rooted history in grape farming going back 400 years, Henri Gouges didn’t form his domaine until 1920. When he no longer liked the idea of selling his fruit to négociants, Henri started producing, bottling, and selling his own wine in an effort to make higher quality wines. By 1933 this transition was fully complete and the domaine existed in similar fashion to its current status. A family endeavor throughout its history, Domaine Henri Gouges passed from Henri to his sons Marcel and Michel, then to Pierre and Christian, and finally to cousins Gregory and Antoine Gouges who manage the domaine today.
Undivided since its founding as a domaine, Henri Gouges today sits at roughly 36 acres of vineyards. Several of their holdings include Nuits St. Georges 1er Crus, though Henri Gouges does produce village wines as well. Though the winery and vineyards have been updated over time (including the use of organic viticulture and transition to a gravity flow winery), the domaine’s goal is to produce wines that truly represent and express the terroir. The harvest is carefully inspected and all fruit is completely destemmed, while vinification occurs in lined cement vats for approximately 15 days depending on wine and vintage. Once fermentation is complete, the wine is transferred to small oak barrels (typically 25% new) and each is fined with egg whites before light filtration and into the bottle.
Today’s Wine: 2012 Nuits-St-Georges 1er Cru Les Saint Georges
100% Pinot Noir; 13% ABV
Pale to medium ruby in color and moderately transparent. Though visiting family for the holidays without my Zalto Burgundy glasses, the nose on this is still expressive with notes of black cherry, black and blue fruit, strawberry, forest floor, tobacco, tar, red and purple florals, and pepper. Once in the mouth, I get flavors of black plum, cherry, cranberry, cola, damp soil, licorice, clove, and slight green vegetation (though not a fault). This wine is medium-bodied with high acidity, medium tannins, and a medium (+) length finish.
Price: $160. Henri Gouges makes some great Burgundy for the price, and I’d suggest giving the wines a shot. While not necessarily easy to find, your local wine store with a good Burgundy selection should have some Henri Gouges. Pair this with lean beef, grilled or roast pork, or game birds.