One of the most memorable visits in 2017 was at Domaine Michel Gaunoux – tasting some timeless or should I say old school Burgundies from Pommard, Beaune and Corton.
Remembering and cherishing the best traditions of Burgundy, and celebrating the days where wines were made for cellaring and ageing …
Now there is a Danish importer of Domaine Michel Gaunoux – Tavs Ritzau – who is the kind of guy that will take on the endeavour to sell old school Pommard, Beaune and Corton in a Denmark – that I might say seems to be preferring low SO2 wines made with short elevage .. and many collectors that apparently like to drink the wines just after release.
It’s great to see the Gaunoux wines represented – and I do hope that Burgundy collectors will give these wines a chance … they are so much more than a walk down memory lane – as they with their fine tannings and regal purity offer a welcomed contrast to some of the modern Burgundies sold today.
For those interested in further insights about the Gaunoux estate – check out the article from my visit in March 2017.
The tasting of the Gaunoux range
To be very clear these are wines that are made differently and based on old traditions, and what feels like a rather unique attention to detail and quality.
The wines do represent a traditional way of making wines – with long elevage – and while this definitely put them in category with other old school estates, the purity of the fruit and delicacy of the tannins certainly is and class of it’s own.
The rustic, slightly unclean flavours found in many old school wines are not present in these wines – they seem to combine a crystalline purity and filigree tannins to a regal and effortless style offered and matched by few in Burgundy today.
It’s a special style, and it requires respect, patience and knowledge to fully appreciate and enjoy these wines.
Firstly – they should not be served too cold, as the filigree tannins need some temperature to mellow and become silky – served too cold the tannins will be more prominent – and to a even higher degree command accompanying food.
Secondly – these are wines that require time, and preferably decanting. In general they seem to do well with minimum one hour of decanting – unless very old – then the temperature is adjusted and the bouquet is starting to unfold.
Thirdly – this is not modern Burgundies for drinking in large gobs on their own – they are wines made for food, or slow indulgence in front of the fireplace – as an old cognac …
They deserve respect – and you will be quite regally rewarded!
To the tasting notes …
Domaine Michel Gaunoux, Bourgogne Rouge 2011
A Bourgogne Rouge from 2011 is normally at best a light-footed treat – and many bottles have been drunk years ago. This is however not you ordinary Bourgogne Rouge – this is serious stuff. The Michel Gaunoux Bourgogne Rouge comes from vineyards located between the village of Pommard and the RN974 – an area with quite deep and humid soil. This is a true terroir wine and made in a traditional way .. hence also a wine that require cellaring and some air to unfold – if enjoyed early on. The 2011 edition is not yet fully mature but has reached a secondary stage … with some unfolding maturing notes in the bouquet. Starts to blossom more after some time in the glass – on the palate quite intense and well structured for this level. It’s relatively long with firm but fine tannins for the vintage. Need a few years to unfold … a very substantial wine for the year and the level.
(Drink From 2020) – Good+ (86 – 87p) – tasted 29/01/2018
Domaine Michel Gaunoux, Beaune 1998
On the rustic side even after two hours – needing plenty of air to unfold – even after 20 years. A true old school Beaune – robust – deep and with a muscular and rather rustic structure, quite some VA and oxidative notes in the beginning. Given time it calms down, offering more harmonious tannins and fruit – still in need for cellaring to unfold fully and show the complex sides of Beaune. For those who like old school Beaune wines.
(Drink From 2023) – Very Good (88 – 90p) – tasted 29/01/2018
Domaine Michel Gaunoux, Pommard Rugiens 2011
Pommard Rugines is my favourite terroir of Pommard – although I do recognise that Rugiens can be difficult to taste in their youth. This is partly the case with the 2011 Rugiens from Michel Gaunoux – although it’s quite open for business. In the nose lovely juicy fruit – hint of blueberries, cassis, boysenberries – with a fine filigree minerality lurking in the background. On the palate delicate juiciness – fine sweetness, lovely balanced and very charming. Nice opulence of the fruit but also rather structured – indicating that this would benefit from further cellaring.
(Drink From 2026) – Fine+ (93 – 94p) – tasted 29/01/2018
Domaine Michel Gaunoux, Pommard Rugiens 2007
The 2007 Rugiens is in a lovely place combining slightly maturing notes with a tremendous energy and vivacity -clearly my favourite of the tasting. The nose is quite forward – a few tertiary notes – sensual and slightly perfumed with a lovely mineral scent. On the palate Juicy and vibrant fruit – tremendous depth for the vintage. The fruit is very lively with tremendous energy – light-footed and elegant with a lovely acidity and transparency. Love the fruit, energy and minerality in this wine.
(Drink From 2022) – Very Fine (93 – 94p) – tasted 29/01/2018
Domaine Michel Gaunoux, Pommard Grands Epenots 2008
Moving to the more robust and weighty side of Pommard – Grands Epenots – with a deeper and more dense soil. The 2008 is surprisingly dense and robust considering the vintage – with plenty of color and depth. The nose is offering plenty of deep fruit – earthy notes of blueberries, cassis … relatively dark with red fruits surfacing with the assistance. A more substantial wine than the 2007 Rugiens – but also more robust and lacking a bit of the fine nuances of the Rugiens 2007.
(Drink From 2025) – Very Fine (93 – 94p) – tasted 29/01/2018
Domaine Michel Gaunoux, Pomanard Grands Epenots 2001
The Grands Epenots 2001 is a more mature and developed wine – and in my view relatively close to it’s optimum. It will keep but the development in the glass does indicate that it’s not a wine with 20 years of future in my view. The nose is showing lovely intense sous-bois and menthol brought forward by a nice earthy minerality – given sufficient air. On the palate delicate matured fruit – medium bodied – with a nice mineral grip, ample but filigree tannnis. Give it air before drinking – do not serve too cold – a lovely maturing Pommard.
(Drink From Now) – Very Good+ (90p) – tasted 29/01/2018
Domaine Michel Ganoux, Corton Renardes 2007
A step up in power and intensity the Corton Renades 2007 is showing quite some Grand Cru format here. The nose is displaying lovely forward fruit – red and dark berries – brought forward by a relatively strong mineral note. On the palate quite some density – lovely acidity and juiciness. It’s balanced with no rusticity – very fine and clean tannins – well constituted – with plenty of stuffing and potential. It’s just starting to unfold maturing nuances and some fine perfumed notes .. give it time. Preferring the Rugiens 2007 but a fine potential here.
(Drink From 2024) – Very Fine (93 – 94p) – tasted 29/01/2018