Aged Terroir-Driven Pommard

Today’s Story: Domaine de Courcel

Domaine de Courcel was founded roughly 400 years ago in the village of Pommard and is a family winery throughout its history. To this end, today the estate is managed by Anne Bommelaer and Marie de Courcel and its owners include three sisters and one brother who are descendants of the domaine’s founders. Production is somewhat limited at the domaine, with annual production numbers never rising above 30,000 bottles (2,500 cases). I previously wrote about them in Rustic, Terroir-Driven Burgundy when reviewing the 2009 Pommard 1er Cru Les Fremiers as well as in Outstanding Pommard from a Superb Vintage when reviewing the 2005 Pommard. For more about the domaine, you can check out either of those two prior posts.

Today’s Wine: 1996 Pommard 1er Cru Les Fremiers

100% Pinot Noir; 12.7% ABV

The 1996 Les Fremiers is pale garnet in color and moderately transparent with some fine sediment that snuck through the filter. The nose emits aromas of muddled strawberry, black raspberry, cranberry, slight barnyard, aged saddle leather, forest floor, truffle, white pepper, dried herbs, and tar. On the palate, I get notes of stemmy strawberry, ripe cherry, dusty wild blueberry, tobacco, damp forest floor, dried underbrush, crushed rock, and mineral. This wine is medium-bodied with medium (+) acidity, medium tannins, and a medium (+) length finish.

Price: $220. This is not an inexpensive bottle of wine, though it is difficult to find aged Burgundy from notable producers that are nowadays. This wine still displays great fruit and structure which made it a very enjoyable bottle and I would happily purchase this again. Pair this with herb-roasted chicken, game birds, or filet mignon with black truffle.

Outstanding Pommard from a Superb Vintage

Today’s Story: Domaine de Courcel

I previously wrote about Domaine de Courcel in Rustic, Terroir-Driven Burgundy when I reviewed their 2009 Pommard 1er Cru Les Fremiers, though I will reproduce a brief history here and you can read my prior post for some additional notes on their winemaking processes.

Domaine de Courcel was founded roughly 400 years ago in the village of Pommard and is a family winery throughout its history. To this end, today the estate is managed by Anne Bommelaer and Marie de Courcel and its owners include three sisters and one brother who are descendants of the domaine’s founders. Production is somewhat limited at the domaine, with annual production numbers never rising above 30,000 bottles (2,500 cases).

The domaine owns vineyards on 10.5 hectares in Pommard, which is four kilometers from Beaune in the Côte de Beaune. From this land, the domaine produces seven different wines including four 1er Crus that account for roughly 75% of the vineyards. These 1er Crus include Le Grand Clos des Epenots (a monopole of the domaine), Les Rugiens, Les Frémiers, and Les Croix Noires. Domaine de Courcel also produces a Pommard village wine Les Vaumuriens in additional to a Bourgogne Rouge and Bourgogne Blanc. Le Grand Clos des Epenots (about 50% of the domaine’s production) and Les Rugiens come from arguably some of the best vineyards in Pommard.

Today’s Wine: 2005 Pommard

100% Pinot Noir; 13% ABV

The 2005 Pommard is pale to medium ruby in color and slightly transparent. The wine was beautiful right out of the bottle, but as this opens up in the glass it truly blossoms to showcase a nose with aromas of black cherry, dried raspberry, red florals, red licorice, forest floor after a rainstorm, truffle, underbrush, cinnamon, slight musty cellar, pinch of pepper, and a faint hint of oak. Once in the mouth, this beauty shows notes of cranberry, dusty strawberry, sweet ripe cherry, dry rocky soil, tobacco leaf, ground green herbs, mushroom, crushed rock, and a touch of spice. This is medium- to full-bodied with medium (+) acidity, medium dusty tannins, and a long finish with notes of iron and smoke.

Price: $150. Though pricing on this is up there with good quality 1er Cru Burgundy, this is an outstanding vintage and bottling from Domaine de Courcel that stands up at this price point. Pair this with game, venison, or beef.

Rustic, Terroir-Driven Burgundy

Today’s Story: Domaine de Courcel

Domaine de Courcel was founded roughly 400 years ago in the village of Pommard and is a family winery throughout its history. To this end, today the estate is managed by Anne Bommelaer and Marie de Courcel and its owners include three sisters and one brother who are descendants of the domaine’s founders. Production is somewhat limited at the domaine, with annual production numbers never rising above 30,000 bottles (2,500 cases).

The domaine owns vineyards on 10.5 hectares in Pommard, which is four kilometers from Beaune in the Côte de Beaune. From this land, the domaine produces seven different wines including four 1er Crus that account for roughly 75% of the vineyards. These 1er Crus include Le Grand Clos des Epenots (a monopole of the domaine), Les Rugiens, Les Frémiers (I am reviewing this today), and Les Croix Noires. Domaine de Courcel also produces a Pommard village wine Les Vaumuriens in additional to a Bourgogne Rouge and Bourgogne Blanc. Le Grand Clos des Epenots (about 50% of the domaine’s production) and Les Rugiens come from arguably some of the best vineyards in Pommard.

Throughout their history, the domaine endeavors to produce wines that showcase their individual terroir while being intense with great density. This effort begins in the vineyards where ploughing encourages biological activity and fosters an environment for vines to dig deep to express the terroir. They also prune their vines to optimize ripeness of the fruit and harvest relatively late in the season to maximize sugar intensity in the wines. Onto the winemaking process, grape selection is incredibly thorough and they go through cold maceration followed by low-temperature fermentation in an effort to extract intense aromas. After fermentation is complete, each cuvée goes through carbonic maceration to complete the process. All wine is aged in oak barrels replaced by third each year.

Today’s Wine: 2009 Pommard 1er Cru Les Fremiers

100% Pinot Noir; 13.5% ABV

This bottle came highly recommended by the owner of a local wine store, particularly due to my love of Burgundy and wines that are more terroir-driven. Having tasted this wine now, I would not call it a “people-pleasing” Pinot (though there aren’t many from Burgundy I do) though it hit its mark for my palate.

In appearance the wine is medium ruby while being moderately transparent. This took about 15 minutes to open up in the glass (though I could’ve decanted it to be honest) and the nose showcases aromas of black cherry, cranberry, licorice, cola, cinnamon, sous bois, slight barnyard, truffle, and wet stone. The nose does show some heat as well (alcohol). Once in the mouth, I get notes of ripe cherry, crunchy redcurrant, violet, tobacco, mocha, scorched earth, and spicy white pepper. Today’s Pinot is light- to medium-bodied with medium (+) acidity, medium yet integrated tannins, and a long finish.

Price: $180. Not a cheap bottle of Pinot Noir, but unfortunately almost all of Burgundy has seen massive price jumps over the last several years. This being said, I liked this earthy Pinot relative to some of the more expensive competitors and if you like very rustic wines this could suit you too. Pair this with roast game, grilled red meats, or a cheese and charcuterie plate.

Refined, Aged Burgundy

Today’s Story: Joseph Drouhin

Joseph Drouhin is a historic producer in Burgundy that found its start in 1880. Joseph, a 22 year old from Chablis, moved to Beaune and started his own wine company with the aim of providing high quality wines. His son Maurice, however, shifted the focus to estate grape growing and winemaking by purchasing land in Clos des Mouches and Clos de Vougeot, amongst other appellations. Robert Drouhin, who succeeded Maurice in 1957, ties most with Joseph Drouhin’s state as it sits today. Robert acquired a great deal of vineyard land, including in Chablis, and was one of the first producers who stopped using pesticides and other chemicals in Burgundy. Today, Robert’s children Philippe, Véronique, Laurent, and Frédéric carry on the legacy of this great producer with the same founding principles of creating high quality, true to form wines at heart.

Today, Joseph Drouhin is one of the largest estates in Burgundy consisting of 78 hectares (193 acres) throughout Chablis, Côte de Nuits, Côte de Beaune, and Côte Chalonnaise. Most of the wines are of 1er Cru or Grand Cru status, with vineyards planted to both Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. In addition to their own vineyard land, Drouhin purchases some fruit from other established vineyard owners who they have longstanding relationships with. This allows them to produce a broader assortment of wines for distribution throughout the world.

Today’s Wine: 1995 1er Cru Pommard-Epenots

100% Pinot Noir; 13% ABV

In appearance the wine is cloudy pale ruby turning garnet near the rim. This threw very fine sediment that snuck through the filter, however I did pour some through cheesecloth which cleared it up. On the nose, we get aromas of baked cherry, overripe cranberry, dried green herbs, sous bois, cedar, and tobacco. Once in the mouth, the wine showcases notes of tart cherry, red licorice, wet stone, smoked red meat, and green underbrush. Holding up remarkably well, this is medium-bodied with high acidity and fully integrated light tannins into a medium length finish.

Price: $150. Really cool experience finding and drinking aged Burgundy. Pair this with duck, lamb, or a burger.