Luscious (Beautiful) Pommard
2006 Domaine de Courcel
Pommard 1er Cru Grand Clos des Epenots
Rethinking Pommard at Less $ than You Think
Pommard is Volnay's neighbor, which is sort of surprising.
The wines these neighboring villages produce are quite different.
If Volnay is an arrow, Pommard is a sledgehammer. Pommard is big-boned. Pommard stomps around and wears big boots. Pommard can be wild, fruit matched by earth and game.
Pommard can be very, very compelling, but "beautiful" is rarely a word one would use to describe them - the wines are too bare-chested and masculine.
Today we present a wine that is both very compelling and obviously beautiful. This wine was basically recommended by a friend, a Burgundy fanatic, and so we tried it.
It floored us.
Domaine de Courcel makes a case for Pommard as compelling as any - Michel Gaunoux and Comte Armand included.
In fact, the Comte Armand reference is apt; the Grand Clos des Épenots borders Comte Armand's Clos des Epeneaux - the terroirs are very similar. So it would make sense there are stylistic similarities as well (though the Courcel clocks in at $20-$40+ cheaper a bottle).
Both produce some of the most elegant Pommards out there; all the muscle and brawn polished into something smooth, with full mid-palates yet tapered finishes that are long and woven with fine mineral.
Courcel, however, seems to emphasize a glorious, luscious fruit quality without losing any purity or clarity. Mouth-coating is a phrase that could be used - and indeed the Burghound says something similar. There is a concentration here that is at once weighty (think Grand Cru) yet delineated and energized. The richness of the mid-palate makes one think, nearly immediately, of old vines and indeed, Courcel has some great parcels in Pommard.
In the Grand Clos des Épenots (which is officially a 1er Cru, the Grand being there just to confuse you) Courcel's vines average 50-65 years old. The site is known for its considerable elegance, the site gets good drainage supplied by a pebbly soil. Indeed, along with Rugiens, Épenots and Epeneaux are sites that many think deserve elevation to Grand Cru status; clearly some parcels within these vineyards come very, very close. This is one of them.
The results speak for themselves.
While 2006 was a cooler vintage (to our mind, not a bad thing), the harvest at Courcel was later. This, and the natural girth of Pommard, means that this wine is hardly meek - exactly the opposite. It is formidable and we agree with the Burghound that "this is a serious Epenots built to age."
At the same time, when we cracked open the bottle last week, it was hardly an unfriendly wine; it is structured and textured, yet the fruit was so dense, so pure and speaking with great energy and clarity. The bottle was awesome and frankly, it disappeared quickly - always a very good sign.
So we bought everything we could - still, that's not much. This is worth a try.
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Director, Fine & Rare Wine
Crush Wine & Spirits
1er Cru Grand Clos des Epenots
Burghound: "This is very Pommard in character with a pungently earthy nose featuring underbrush, cassis, blueberry and raspberry aromas that are perhaps not quite as ripe as those of the Fremiers precede rich, full and mildly rustic big-bodied flavors of both muscle and power that coat the mouth on the long finish. There is a lot of dry extract here and the significant tannins are completely buffered. This is a serious Epenots built to age."