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Made from low yields (just 25hl/ha), this has fine, intense pinot aromas, while the palate delivers plenty of matter and ripe tannins.
Product Code: BU45641
View all products by Domaine Comte Armand
This domaine is named after its most prized and famous asset, the premier cru Clos des Epeneaux vineyard which is run as a monopole, ie a vineyard wholly owned by a grower or domaine. The vineyard was created in the late 19th century by Nicholas Marey, sitting astride two existing vineyards, the Petits Epenots and Grand Epenots sites. The family of Comte Armand acquired control of the plot through marriage in 1824 and have owned it ever since. It is a true Clos, enclosed by a wall which embraces vines aged between 20 years and more than 80 years of age planted to an unusually high density of 12,500 vines per hectare. It is biodynamically farmed and harvested by hand before sorting at the winery. Together with the Rugiens vineyard it is the most prestigious of Pommard lieu-dits and from 1999 was managed by the skilled and passionate advocate of biodynamism, Benjamin Leroux before he handed over to Paul Zinetti. Winemaking is straightforward with the intention of letting all the hard work in the vineyard shine through in the quality and characteristics of the fruit. Natural yeasts ferment the juice following a cool maceration, and post-fermentation there is a further maceration that varies in length depending on the vintage and the wine. Oak is 80% new for the wines of the Clos but village wines may see very little or no oak at all. Time in oak may be 18-24 months depending on the designation. The youngest vines in the Clos are used to make Pommard 1er cru.In addition to the Clos des Epeneaux the family also own vineyards in Volnay and Auxey-Duresses, and both village and premier cru wines are made.
The Côte de Beaune runs from Ladoix-Serrigny in the north to Cheilly lè Maranges in the south, on the southern escarpment of the Côte d’Or. Beaune is the town at its heart. The most famous wines of the area are white, but many excellent reds are produced. The soils of the area are predominantly mixtures of clay and limestone of various types, which is excellent for drainage but also retention of water. The hillsides here, split and riven by streams and side-valleys, provide a number of meso- and microclimates as well as various aspects ranging from east-facing to south and south-west facing. The best sites are neither at the top or the bottom of these slopes where the soils are too impoverished or too fertile respectively. More generic wines are produced at the top and bottom of these slopes, with the Premiers Crus and Grand Crus in a band running along the upper middle. Soils with more limestone suit chardonnay more than pinot, hence the number of famous white burgundies produced here.The climate here is semi-continental, though northerly winds can temper a hot summer while warmer winds from the south can bring warmth. Westerly winds that ultimately originate in the Atlantic can bring rain but at its worst may deliver devastating hail in incredibly localised storms. There is a degree of unpredictability about vintages in Burgundy.Pinot noir and chardonnay are the two permitted grapes of any significance, though Aligoté is grown occasionally for crisp, mouth-watering whites that are often used to make kir, and some generic Bourgogne or Crémant can be made with pinot blanc, pinot gris and beurrot can be made. The appellations to be found in the Côte de Beaune are as follows: Ladoix, Pernand-Vergelesses, Aloxe-Corton , Corton, Corton-Charlemagne, Chorey-lès-Beaune, Savigny-lès Beaune, Beaune, Pommard, Volnay, Monthélie, Auxey-Duresses, Saint-Romain, Meursault, Saint-Aubin, Puligny-Montrachet, Chassagne-Montrachet, Santenay and Maranges Côte de Beaune-Villages and Bourgogne-Hautes Côtes de Beaune are also made. The former is solely for red wines and the latter includes some whites as well. Both are mostly from vineyards on the top of the escarpment and some represent good value for early drinking Burgundy.Côte de Beaune wines are generally lighter than those from the Côte de Nuits. Beaunes are soft and round, Volnays fine and silky. Pommards are the exception: due to more clay in the soil, they can be notably tannic and in need of considerable bottle age. The greatest of all white Burgundies, Le Montrachet, is made here between Chassagne and Puligny.
This was a vintage of low yields and ripe but fresh wines that display plenty of concentration. The wines possess an unusual combination of concentration and considerable weight leavened by a lovely freshness that is the result of maturation by evaporation after a north wind blew through the previously damp vineyards at harvest time. The wines produced are quite extrovert and approachable in youth but have the balance to keep well. Once again, the quality hierarchy is well respected in this vintage.The summer was a serious disappointment with unsettled and cold weather almost throughout. May alternated between the cool, the warm and the wet leading to the threat of mildew. Flowering was extended in a cool and frequently rainy June and led to poor fruit set (coulure) and then July alternated between cool and hot. August was downright poor. All in all conditions mitigated against a high, or even an average yield, and the coulure mentioned above, rot, localised hail storms and the north wind at harvest (which alone reduced yields by about 10%) all conspired to bring the yield down by between 20% and 30%, though in fact some harvested even less. On top of all this, the best producers cut bunches from the vines in July and August in order to speed up the retarded ripening process. As ever, sorting tables were vital at the winery to remove rot-affected bunches.It was fine mid-September weather that saved the day, as clear blue skies and the aforementioned north wind combined to dry out the vineyards, diminished the threat of rot and accelerated maturation. The wind resulted in a concentration of sugars and acid in the wine as water was removed leading to wonderful freshness in the white wines for which the fruit was harvested relatively late. The whites are taut and firm and concentrated. A little shy when bottled, they have blossomed into lovely wines, some close to the superb 2010 in quality and style. 2008 reds are still a little firm but are beginning to open up. Pinot from cooler years can seem a little pinched at bottling but then develop over a decade, becoming softer as it sheds some of its tannins. 2008 may well develop like 2001, which is now superb.
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