VinopolPick Weekend Edition – December 7th

December 7, 2013
PommardThe best of Burgundy is two distinct wine regions: the Cote de Beaune and the Cote de Nuit. These  are known collectively as the Cote d’Or. The Cote de Beaune is the southern-most of the two.  In the center of the Cote de Beaune, between the Volnay and Beaune, is the commune of Pommard, named for the Roman goddess of fruit trees, Pomona.  This commune is home to the Pommard AOC.  Here, only red Pinot Noir wines qualify for the AOC.

Pommard AOC wines are generally noted for a masculine style, particularly in contrast to the lighter, more feminine style from the neighboring Volnay AOC.  The wines produced in Pommard are typically fuller in body, richer in tannins, have concentrated flavors, and are noted for their dark fruit and ironish minerality.  When young, these wines are generous with blackcurrant, blackberry and cherry notes.  With age, these wines develop secondary notes, inclusive of leather, musk, animal or chocolate.

Pommard vines are grown between the two steep hills of Mont Buisson and Montagne-Saint-Desiree.  The best vineyard land is above the flat, fertile plain between these hills, but below the tops of the hills.  These slopes provide several different soil types depending upon altitude.  The lower portion of the hills has rich alluvial soil, the mid-slope is composed of clay and limestone, and the upper portion is marl.  In general, these soils tend to be rich in iron, thought to give Pommard wines their characteristic masculine style of richness and tannin.

Within the Pommard AOC are 27 Premier Crus sites.  Two groupings of these, Les Epenots (or Epeneaux) and Les Rugiens are the most broadly respected. But do not be deterred by the lack of Grand Crus in Pommard!  Both Les Epenots and the subsection Les Rugiens-Bas were offered Grand Cru status, but the vignerons declined to accept the greater restrictions on production.  Les Epenots is a historic vineyard site, named after the thorny undergrowth that covers the landscape.  It has developed multiple spellings over the centuries.  It is composed now of the three Premier Cru vineyards: Clos des Epeneaux, Grands Epenots and Petits Epenots.  Wines with the full Les Epenots or Epeneaux name are made from grapes sourced from any combination of these three superb vineyards.  Its soil is predominately clay and limestone, resulting in rich wines that reward ample cellaring.

The Premier Cru climat Les Rugiens is composed of Les Rugiens Bas and Les Rugiens Haut.  Climat is a French term referring to a vineyard site and its terroir.  The word Rugiens is a derivative of the French word for red, rouge, and makes reference to the iron-rich soils.  The soil is rich in minerals and has excellent drainage.  These wines are quite rich and masculine in style.  Of the two, Les Rugiens Bas is considered the greater.
Wines from the Pommard AOC are powerfully lush and intense wines that are superb with rich, hearty fare.  Their higher amount of tannin makes them excellent wines to pair with stews and roasts.  Try pairing them with beef, lamb or poultry stews.  Pungent or aged soft cheeses and roasted vegetables make excellent pairings, too.  Wild game and roast meats match well with the more mature wines.  A votre santé!

Here Now – Pommard Wines- Many Reduced PricesComte Armand Pommard 1er Cru 2010 ($109.95) $79 special, 12 bottles remaining
Burghound 89-92 points
: “This is also exuberantly fresh and expressive with a pretty and ripe nose of primarily red currant and blue berries plus ample amounts of warm earth. There is a similar level of energy that gives a real sense of life to the detailed, pure and impressively intense flavors that possess solid phenolic ripeness and superb balance on the lasting finish. Fine quality here and worth considering”

Comte Armand Pommard Clos Epeneaux 2009 ($179.95) $149.00 special, 4 bottles remaining
Burghound 94 points
: “This is also very fresh and bright with pure aromas of ripe red currant, warm earth, violets and subtle spice hints that are in keeping with the energetic, intense and admirably rich full-bodied flavors that envelope the palate with velvety sap on the beautifully balanced and impressively persistent finish. I very much like the sense of underlying tension because despite this being a big wine with plenty of concentration, the balance is impeccable and there is absolutely nothing ponderous about this complete effort that is well-structured but not so much so that it is in the “buy and forget” category. In short, buy it.”

Comte Armand Pommard Clos Epeneaux 2010 ($179.95) $129.00 special, 22 bottles remaining
Burghound 92-95 points
: “The combined cuvées revealed an exceptionally fresh combination of pure and quite elegant red cherry and raspberry aromas liberally laced with warm earth and iron nuances. There is really lovely purity to the gorgeously well-detailed, intense and muscular medium weight plus flavors that brim with dry extract and a caressing mouth feel before terminating in a mouth coating and explosively long finish. This is relentlessly persistent with outstanding depth on the palate staining finish. Terrific.” BH

Courcel Pommard Grand Clos Des Epenots 2009 ($129.95) $95.00 special, 3+ cases remaining
Stephen Tanzer 92-95 points, Burghound 92-94 points
: “Deep ruby-red. Black fruits, violet, licorice and minerals on the nose. Dense and ripe but sappy and not at all thick, with its impressive volume cut by violet and spice. This boasts an impressive combination of sweetness, vibrancy and powerful underlying structure. Finishes with saline and chocolate notes and excellent lift. Offers superb potential.”

Domaine Huber-Verdereau Pommard 2010 ($49.95) $39.00 special, 13 bottles remaining
Burghound 89 points
: “Here the nose is completely different with a much earthier and more deeply pitched nose of red and dark berry fruit aromas that exhibit a slightly sauvage note as well as soft floral hint. There is good concentration to the notably serious and brooding flavors where the supporting tannins possess good phenolic maturity, all wrapped in a complex and lingering finish. This is actually on the refined side and is more a Pommard of finesse than structure though do not assume that it will not age as the tannins are firm but fine.” BH “OUTSTANDING TOP VALUE”

Domaine Huber-Verdereau Pommard Vaumuriens 2010 ($51.95) $41.90 special, 10 bottles remaining
Burghound 89 points
: “This is more deeply pitched still with ripe but cool earth and stone inflected aromas of briar and plum. There is good volume to the delicious, serious and admirably complex flavors that also evidence plenty of minerality on the racy, dusty and long finish. As with the straight Pommard, there is good phenolic maturity to the dense but fine tannins and while this is a bit less structured, this will also need a few years of cellar time.” “OUTSTANDING”

Dugat-Py Pommard Levriere Vieille Vigne 2009 ($219.95) $149.00 special, 12 bottles remaining
Burghound 89-92 points:
 “A very ripe nose features nose of plum, cassis and warm earth aromas that lead to rich, full-bodied and very serious big-bodied flavors that possess excellent mid-palate concentration and a sappy, long and mouth coating finish. This is an exceptionally good villages.”

Dugat-Py Pommard Vielles Vignes Levriere 2004 ($159.95) $119.00 special, 1 bottle remaining
Burghound 88-91 points
: “OUTSTANDING!”. “This had just finished its malo and the nose was very difficult to read as only glimpses of earthy red pinot fruit peeked through the reductive funk. In the mouth the flavors are classic Pommard with a big, powerful and robust palate impression underpinned by rounded tannins and a serious, indeed almost brooding finish that packs real punch. In particular, I like the vibrancy.”

Faiveley Pommard Rugiens 2010 ($119.95) $79.00 special, 3+ cases remaining
Stephen Tanzer 93 points
: “Good medium red. Sexy aromas of cherry, redcurrant and minerals complicated by smoky earth tones. Impressively dense, intense red fruit and floral flavors are stubbornly closed but already perfume the mouth. The very long, subtle finish features noble tannins and a firm structural underpinning. After 72 hours in the recorked bottle, this wine showed even more perfumed aromas of iron, flowers and minerals and a wonderfully taut, gripping palate, suggesting that it will evolve slowly and be long-lived.”

Henri Boillot Pommard 2010 ($59.95) $49.00 special, 23 bottles remaining
Stephen Tanzer 88-90 points
: “Saturated dark red. Reticent aromas of mocha, coffee and bitter chocolate, with a black cherry quality emerging with air. Then surprisingly full and broad in the mouth, but with a rather monolithic quality to its cooler black cherry, licorice and menthol flavors. Tannins are fine but a bit dusty following the monumental Volnay Caillerets. Made from vines in a cold combe, picked at the end of the harvest.”

Louis Jadot Pommard Clos Commaraine 2010 ($59.95) $49.00 special, 24 bottles remaining
Wine Advocate 89-91 points
: “The 2010 Pommard Clos de la Commaraine is a little fleshier and deeper than the villages, but it remains relatively airy and delicate. Sweet red berries, flowers, licorice and tobacco are some of the notes that are woven together in this gorgeous Burgundy. The firm tannins will need a few years in bottle to soften. Anticipated maturity: 2018-2030.”

Vincent  Girardin Pommard Les Vignots 2009 ($49.95) $33.00 special, 20 bottles remaining

Louis Jadot Pommard Epenots 2009 ($59.95) $49.00 special, 3 bottles remaining

Louis Jadot Pommard Epenots 2010 ($59.95) $49.00 special, 24 bottles remaining

Louis Jadot Pommard Rugiens 2009 ($89.95) $69.00 special, 1 bottle remaining
Wine Spectator 92 points
: “Though ripe with cherry and plum flavors, this red is also fresh and well-toned, courtesy of its rigid tannins. All the elements are in the right proportions, with a nice marriage of fruit and tannins on the finish. Best from 2015 through 2024. 90 cases imported.”

Domaine Jean-Marc Boillot Pommard Jarollieres 2010 ($89.95) $69.00 special, 12 bottles remaining
Stephen Tanzer 91-93 points
: “Good full red. Ripe aromas of musky dark cherry, dark berries, minerals and bitter chocolate, lifted by a violet topnote; more floral and spicy than the Pitures. Fat, sweet, silky and concentrated, with impressive mouthfilling richness. The long finish features big, rich, supple tannins and a repeating note of bitter chocolate.”

Domaine Jean-Marc Boillot Pommard Jarollieres 2011 ($99.95) $79.00 special, 12 bottles remaining
Stephen Tanzer 89-91 points
: ” Medium red-ruby. Aromas of black cherry and mocha; less floral and complex than the Volnay cuvees. Sweet and chewy on entry, then a bit cool, even austere, in the middle, showing a medicinal cast to the black fruit and chocolate flavors. Holding a lot in reserve but distinctly taut and clenched today. Finishes with tight tannins. Seems less ripe and rich than the Volnay Pitures.”

Montille Pommard Les Grands Epenots 2009 ($129.95) $99.00 special, 1 bottle remaining
Burghound 93 points
: “A discrete touch of wood sets off a seductively spicy nose of warm earth, floral notes and red currant that leads to very fresh and pure medium weight plus flavors that possess plenty of mid-palate concentration on the delicious, intense and lingering finish. This is not a big Epenots by the standards of the appellation but there is excellent flavor authority and I very much like the sophisticated mouth feel. Recommended.” SWEET SPOT OUTSTANDING BH

Montille Pommard Les Rugiens 2006 ($139.95) $119.00 special, 3 bottles remaining
Wine Spectator 90 points
: “A mix of sweet berry, cherry and spice flavors are integrated with the silky texture in this elegant red. The tannins lend support, in a balanced, harmonious way. Detailed finish. Best from 2011 through 2020. 358 cases made.” WS

Pousse D’Or Pommard Jarollieres 2006 ($119.95) $99.00 special, 1 bottle remaining
Burghound 91 points
: “Jarollieres” offers profound, sultry flavors with a spicy lift and a tantalizing silkiness on the tongue. Older vines, from 50- to 80-years-old, feed from a combination of clay and limestone. “…pretty but cool red berry fruit notes that marry into supple, round and admirably pure medium-bodied flavors that are moderately concentrated, all wrapped in a long balanced and harmonious finish that again displays very fine tannins. This has enough Pommard muscle to age very well.”

Pousse D’Or Pommard Jarollieres 2009 ($149.95) $89.00 special, 3 bottles remaining
Wine Advocate 94 points
: “The 2009 Pommard Les Jarolieres saturates the palate with its round, ripe fruit. This shows lovely depth and richness, then turns quite a bit more powerful and tannic on the finish. Sweet menthol and crushed rocks wrap around the close. Les Jarolieres is on the border with Volnay. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2039.” WA

Rossignol Pommard Chanlins 2009 ($119.95) $89.00 special, 1 bottle remaining
Burghound 92-94 points
: “A very ripe nose sidles up to the edge of being surmature yet does not quite fall over the edge although there are aromas of coffee, mocha and plum liqueur. The dusty, powerful and intensely mineral-driven large-scaled flavors brim with buckets of dry extract, all wrapped in a palate staining finish of stunning length where there is a slight touch of warmth. This very firmly structured wine is ripe to the point that it will divide collectors as some will love it and others will find it to be too ripe. I stress though that this is a balanced effort and just a question of how ripe is too ripe.” BH

Rossignol Pommard Rugiens 2009 ($139.95) $119.00 special, 2 bottles remaining
Burghound 92-95 points
: “This is also exceptionally ripe yet again, the plum, cassis and wet stone aromas stop short of being surmature. There is excellent richness yet superb detail to the mineral-inflected, powerful and driving flavors that culminate in a dusty, precise, mouth coating and explosive finish. I very much like the balance even though the extremely firm but ripe tannins suggest that this stunning Rugiens may very well require 20 years of cellar time before it reaches its peak. A most impressive effort but I wouldn’t buy this unless you have a lot of patience and cool storage.” BH

Violot Guillemard Pommard Derriere Jean 2008 ($84.95) $69.00 special, 5 bottles remaining
Burghound 90 points
: “This offers a noticeable step up in finesse and aromatic elegance with pretty and very pure earthy red raspberry and cherry notes that blend into naturally sweet, rich and delineated middle weight flavors that carry obvious finishing minerality and solid punch. This is really quite a nice effort as the balance is impeccable and the overall impression is a Pommard of finesse and understatement.” BH

Violot Guillemard Pommard Derriere Jean 2009 ($79.95) $79.00 special, 11 bottles remaining
Burghound 92 points
: “This is also ultra-elegant, high-toned and admirably pure with essence of red pinot fruit trimmed in hints of underbrush merging seamlessly into detailed and lightly mineral-infused flavors that possess excellent mid-palate concentration and absolutely impeccable balance. An ageworthy Pommard of finesse and refinement.” BH

Violot Guillemard Pommard Epenots 2009 ($119.95) $89.00 special, 18 bottles remaining
Burghound 93 points
: “A pure and soft red berry fruit nose that is elegant, airy and solidly complex is trimmed in a judicious amount of wood. The suave, seductive and beautifully textured flavors coat the palate with dry extract that renders the otherwise firm tannic spine less prominent on the strikingly well-balanced finish. This is really quite classy and stylish and should make for a terrific Epenots in 10 to 12 years. Highly recommended.” BH

Violot Guillemard Pommard Epenots 2010 ($99.95) $79.00 special, 24 bottles remaining
Burghound 92-94 points
: “This is a relatively refined Epenots as it offers up indisputably lovely aromatic complexity with an attractively cool and restrained nose of a panoply of wild red berries, earth and subtle spices. There is excellent volume to the rich, delicious and enveloping medium weight plus flavors that possess fine tension and detail before terminating in a beautifully well-balanced and highly persistent finish. In a word, terrific.” BH

Violot Guillemard Pommard  Platieres 2008 ($74.95) $59.00 special, 1 bottle remaining
Burghound 90 points
: “A high-toned nose of red pinot fruit displays an attractive dried herb note before marrying into earthy and more powerful yet refined medium full flavors that deliver outstanding detail and persistence. This is a classically styled wine with prominent but ripe acidity and dusty tannins that have sufficient phenolic maturity to avoid any sense of dryness.” BH

Violot Guillemard Pommard  Platieres 2010 ($79.95) $69.00 special, 23 bottles remaining
Burghound 91-93 points
: “This is also quite pretty and if not quite as elegant as the Clos des Mouches, it’s not far off though the composition of the nose is distinctly different as it’s more deeply pitched with much bluer fruit and a more distinct earth character. The intense, mouth coating and overtly powerful flavors brim with excellent depth and plenty of minerality before terminating in an ever-so-mildly rustic if exceptionally long finish. An excellent Pommard.” BH

Violot Guillemard Pommard Rugiens 2009 ($119.95) $89.00 special, 4 bottles remaining
Burghound 93 points
: “Soft wood notes allow the clear expression of slightly cooler and more elegant still mineral-inflected red pinot fruit aromas. The rich, detailed and stony medium weight plus flavors evidence a taut muscularity, fine power and excellent focus, all wrapped in a vibrant, palate staining and gorgeously persistent finish. This is a classic Rugiens of class and grace and one that should amply reward 12 to 15 years of cellar time.” BH

Violot Guillemard Pommard Rugiens 2010 ($109.95) $89.00 special, 9 bottles remaining
Burghound 92-95 points
: “A spicy, pure, cool and airy nose blends strikingly complex aromas of red currant, rose petal, earth and plenty of wet stone nuances. There is an overt muscularity and focused power to the broad-shouldered and concentrated flavors that terminate in an austere, palate staining and gorgeously persistent finish where the minerality really comes up right at the end. The precision is remarkable and this taut beauty should age effortlessly for many years.” BH