This was my first visit to Domaine A.-F. Gros after tasting the wines several times at Vosne Millisime, Trilogie and Grands Jours de Bourgogne.
I have not always been excited by the style here, but with a new team in place, I have heard much positive feedback on the wines that I simply had to go and taste for myself.
I was not disappointed. Both the style and the quality have improved a great deal over the last couple of years with Caroline Parent-Gros in charge of sales and her younger brother Mathias Parent-Gros as winemaker.
This is a strong team – and the wines demonstrate that strength ….
Gros … one of the Gros
The Gros family in Vosne-Romanée is large, and controls four estates: Domaine Anne Gros, Domaine Gros Frere et Soeur, Domaine Michel Gros and finally A.-F. Gros in Pommard and Beaune, although with a large part of the vineyards in Vosne-Romanée.
The Gros story is rather complex: Alphonse Gros (1804-1884) was the first Gros to move to Vosne-Romanée – in 1830 – and he married a Latour. He acquired the house at No. 3 Rue des Communes – the house still owned by the Gros Family which was for many years the home of Jean Gros. In 1860, Alphonse Gros acquired the Clos des Reas plots today owned by Jean Gros.
Alphonse Gros had two sons, and one of them – Louis-Gustave Gros (1831 – 1904) – continued the vineyard acquisitions, including 2 ha of Richebourg purchased in 1882. This vineyard is still owned by the different Gros estates, and is at the very core of the family’s vineyard portfolio – including as a part of A.-F. Gros. Louis-Gustave married a Miss Guenaud, and for a time the estate was called Gros Guenaud – and they had the son Jules Gros.
Moving forward, we encounter one of the great estate builders: Jules Gros (1862-1930). In 1920, Jules Gros bought two parcels of Clos Vougeot at the Léonce Bocquet sale. A few years later, he bought Les Grands Échézeaux and over a period acquired a 3-hectare parcel in Échézeaux les Loächausses. During his tenure, the estate was called Domaine Gros-Renaudot after his wife.
When Jules Gros’ son Louis Gros (1893-1951) took over the domaine, he created the estate Louis Gros, later Louis Gros & Fils. When he passed away in 1951 his four children ran the estate jointly, but in 1963 the estate was divided among them.
One fourth of the estate was passed to Francois Gros (1931 – 2004), and forms the current Domaine Anne Gros. One-fourth each went to Collette (1935- ) and Gustave Gros (1925-1984), and were used as the foundation of Gros Frere et Soeur. The final quarter continued as Domaine Jean Gros, managed by Jean (1927-2016).
Jean Gros retired in 1995 and split the domain among his three children: Michel Gros (1956- ), who had run the estate together with his own parcels up to that date; Anne-Françoise Gros (1957- ), married to François Parent, who had created the A.-F Gros domaine in Pommard in 1988; and finally Bernard Gros (1958- ), manager of the Domaine Gros Frere et Soeur, where he has worked since 1980.
Clearly, the ownership structure is complex, with some cross-ownership among the three children of Jean Gros – the new generations are now taking over – so also at A.-F. Gros, where Caroline Parent-Gros works with her younger brother Mathias Parent-Gros as winemaker.
Important vineyards and great potential are included in the Gros family portfolio.
From the 2022 vintage, A.-F. Gros will cede its Vosne Romanée Clos de la Fontaine to Domaine Gros Frere et Soeur, plus 10 ares of Richebourg. In exchange, they will acquire Clos Vougeot Musigni (14 ouvrées) and 13 ouvrées of Echezeaux les Loachausses. The Musigni parcel is equivalent to 0.60 ha – a substantial plot of what is often mentioned as one of the best parts of the Clos de Vougeot.
Domaine A.-F. Gros improving tremendously
The arrival of Mathias Parent-Gros has strengthened the quality of the wines at A.-F. Gros. The aromatic profile is now more precise, with greater depth and purity, and the style and impressions are more consistent.
I would not call it a revolution style-wise, but I do feel that the quality has been upped at least two notches – meaning it is now in another league.
This improvement raises higher expectations for this fine old estate, and to be honest that is both welcome and encouraging. It’s always lovely to see new winemakers improve older estates. Very exiting indeed …. so let’s move on to the tasting notes!
Tasting notes for the 2018s from A.-F. Gros
All the wines showed well, and it was great to find much more wine in the cellar in this vintage – the yields in 2018 are quite generous – the second year in a row with a good harvest.
Domaine A.-F. Gros, Bourgogne Rouge 2018
The Bourgogne Rouge 2018 is a good start – quite generous for the level. Nice mid-palate intensity, slightly tightly knit currently, but showing both the house style and nice balance.
(Drink from 2019) – Good (85 – 86p) – Tasted 20/05/2018
Domaine A.-F. Gros, Bourgogne Rouge Côte de Nuits Village 2018
The Bourgogne Rouge Côte de Nuits Village 2018 is quite a step up in both intensity and mineral density. A lovely glass with a sensuous mouth-feel. Quite gratifying with a charming presentation.
(Drink from 2024) – Good (86 – 87p) – Tasted 20/05/2018
Domaine A.-F. Gros, Vosne-Romanée Clos de la Fontaine 2018
In Vosne we find the first of the village wines, the Clos de la Fontaine – a monopole located in the southern part of Vosne-Romanée. A floral and vivid wine with a focus on refinement and a clear minerality. Lovely balance with an effortless and airy mid-palate. Shows the vintage elegantly with very little solar tendencies.
(Drink from 2026) – Very Good (88 – 89p) – Tasted 20/05/2018
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Tasting Notes for this producer
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