Aged Nuits-St-Georges Perhaps Just Past Its Prime

Today’s Story: Domaine Henri Gouges

I wrote about Domaine Henri Gouges around Thanksgiving 2019 when I reviewed the 2012 Nuits-St-Georges 1er Cru Les Saint Georges and am excited to be returning to the domaine again today.

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 begins 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: 1996 Nuits-St-Georges 1er Cru Clos des Porrets – St. Georges

100% Pinot Noir; 13% ABV

The 1996 Clos des Porrets – St. Georges is translucent medium ruby in color and actually almost deep garnet. This was great as a pop-and-pour, with the nose filled with aromas of barnyard, mint, menthol, forest floor, truffle, stemmy underbrush, black olive, and mineral followed up by black cherry, black raspberry, and red florals. The palate is nice as well, but starts to fall apart on the mid-palate with notes of stemmy strawberry, black cherry, cola, rose, sous bois, earthy mushroom, granite, and mineral. The nose steals the show with this bottling. This is light- to medium-bodied with medium (+) acidity, medium tannins, and a medium (+) length finish.

Price: $140 (shared by a good friend who paid $180). I think if the palate was firing on all cylinders, this would be a great value Burgundy. The nose is profound and decidedly the star act, though perhaps this could be a slightly off bottle since the last enjoyed by my friend was said to be exquisite.

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