What can comfort you on a rainy day? The answer is pretty simple if you know the wines of Domaine Michel Gaunoux …
“Then there was rain.
The sky wore a veil of gold and gray.
At night it was the bright of the moon with me.
Time was just floating.”
The wines of Michel Gaunoux are sort of lost in time and space, yet they have an initial and inherent quality that assures you that all is going to be well and gonna keep you “cozy and warm.”
So into my Gaunoux mood … and thinking about the latest visit there in May.
The world is not getting slower, it seems!
Visiting Gaunoux is a different experience, where one tastes some selected wines they have chosen to show – not from the 2018 vintage, but bottled wines from recent or older vintages.
Wines that are showing different sides, details, characteristics of the estate. Wines that help one explore and comprehend the universe of Gaunoux.
This is contrary to today’s tasting experience, where usually all is focused on the latest vintage even before it’s on the market.
This journalistic focus is a product of our times, and while one can fight this, I sometimes feel this struggle is already a lost battle.
I like the Gaunoux philosophy: the wines and the unique experience they can give. But we do need more of this type of experience, or at least to promote the concept.
Domaine Michel Gaunoux – back to the future
I don’t like repeating myself. On the other hand, it is important for the readers to take the time to explore the Gaunoux estate and to invest the time to understand and comprehend the Gaunoux wines.
So I encourage you to check out the article from my first visit to Domaine Gaunoux – get the intro here.
All remains reassuringly unchanged. We were as usual greeted by Anne and Alexandre Gaunoux – all is good. But not so fast: Perhaps things are changing ever so slightly (see below).
To the tasting notes …
Domaine Michel Gaunoux in Pommard
As mentioned, there is no fixed lineup of 2018s here. The samples are picked from the cellar using the vast knowledge of the Gaunoux family – what is showing, what is educational …
But as also mentioned, things could be changing somewhat (a bit). The first wine was actually a 2017 – it was a treat to taste a wine from this vivid and charming vintage at this early stage. Perhaps a small alteration of policy – or just the sheer enjoyment of presenting the 2017 vintage.
Bourgogne rouge 2017 is a very serious wine for this level, yet the inherent charm of the 2017 vintage is shining through. It’s quite a largely framed wine whose bouquet is brimming with red and dark berry fruit – not primary young fruit, but slightly secondary notes; the Gaunoux style. On the palate intense and quite vivid fruit. This would benefit from cellaring or a brisk decanting.
(Drink From 2022) – Good (87p) – Tasted 20/05/2019
The Pommard Rugiens-Bas 2016 is a further sign that the tasting traditions could be changing a bit, as this is a big and very young wine at this time. Make no mistake: This is a tremendous glass of Rugiens, and it confirms my love of and enthusiasm for this mineral terroir. This is a typical 2016, with intense concentration – notes of cherries, raspberries and boysenberries, with hints of liquorice. Intense yet vivacious, with a great breadth of impressions – perfectly supported by the powerful minerality of the mighty Rugiens terroir. On the palate, intense and buffered by rich and ripe mid-palate fruit. This is a big Pommard by any standard, and it should age very well for at least 20 years.
(Drink From 2032) – Very Fine (93 – 94p) – Tasted 20/05/2019
The Pommard Les Grands Epenots 2007 is approaching maturity, yet is not fully mature; it is just starting to show some tertiary notes. It’s open and perfumed, with a nice deep mineral note – more earthy than the Rugiens – ands plenty of mineral underpinnings. Fine length and depth with the acidity a bit forward starting out … but finding its stride in the glass.
(Drink From 2020) – Fine (91 – 92p) – Tasted 20/05/2019
Post script: Summing up
The visits at Domaine Michel Gaunoux are always memorable – a glimpse into a world of tradition and a world that I thought was long forgotten. A world where Burgundies should be enjoyed after maturing in the cellar. A world where the focus on the latest vintage is toned down to let the classical virtues of Burgundy unfold.
… I could continue …
However, this visit did feature some very recent vintages – 2017 and 2016 – and it showed more sides of the Gaunoux estate … more nuances and a nearer comparison to the wines I taste from other estates. This gives hope to new collectors who wish to discover and explore the Gaunoux wines.
I admire the estate’s ambition to have people cellar their wines and to drink mature Burgundies. This is an admirable ambition. Sadly, I don’t really see this happening.