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Domaine François Gaunoux, Pommard 1er Cru “Les Grands Epenots”Côte de Beaune, Burgundy, France 2019 (750mL)

From the Wine Shop

Domaine François Gaunoux, Pommard 1er Cru “Les Grands Epenots” Côte de Beaune, Burgundy, France 2019 (750mL)

“Most all Grand Crus in the Côte de Beaune are reserved for Chardonnay, but Premier Cru “Les Grands Epenots” has made a strong case for promotion, especially in the hands of renowned vigneron François Gaunoux and his tradition-minded daughter.”

Eighty-something François Gaunoux is a Burgundy fixture. His daughter, Claudine, has worked alongside him since 2000, crafting traditionally styled reds and whites from estate-owned vines in the Côte de Beaune. Domaine Gaunoux has been passed down for generations, maintaining ultra-traditional methods in both vineyard and cellar, farming and crafting everything by hand. Ironically, François has spearheaded the implementation of modern techniques while Claudine has stuck to their historically traditional approach.

The Gaunoux property is based in Meursault, but, in terms of their overall lineup, Pommard is a headliner. They bottle four different wines from the appellation, including this one from the Premier Cru “Les Grands Epenots,” which is known for a higher concentration of clay; a mixture known to produce a burlier, more muscular style of red Burgundy. After hand-harvesting, the grapes undergo a lengthy 3-4 week fermentation in temperature-controlled stainless steel vats for increased weight and power. The wine is aged only in tank—no barrels whatsoever—and François and Claudine typically let it rest further in bottle before allowing it to leave (typically on its third birthday). Their ancient cellars are quiet, stock-still, and free of critics’ footprints; if you ever find yourself lucky enough to enter this wine vault, you’ll find dust-caked bottles that have remained undisturbed since the early 1900s. It is breathtaking down there. 

In the glass, Gaunoux’s 2019 “Les Grands Epenots” shines with a concentrated dark ruby core that leads out to garnet and roseate hues on the rim. The nose is full of fruit and savor that slowly expands as air embraces it. Vibrant, perfumed notes of black cherry, red currant, crunchy red apple skin, persimmon, and raspberry liqueur march forward. Following lockstep are the classic earthy-savory notes we’ve come to expect from Pommard and Gaunoux’s wine crafting hand: steeped black tea, forest floor, wet clay, loads of stony minerality, dried flowers, and slight baking spice. On the palate, the wine shows why its prestigious origin is considered to be one of the brawniest and most palate-coating of Côte de Beaune. It’s terroir-driven, brimming with dense flavor and concentration. Rounded tannins and just the right amount of acidity framing the core of dense fruit points to great aging potential, easily 20+ years. Certainly hold onto a few bottles to track its development, but I advise trying a bottle in the near future—it is magical. Pop the cork 2-3 hours before serving in large Burgundy stems and watch the wine unfold in the glass. It’s worth waiting for, but just too darn good not to experience now, especially next to a seared duck breast in a rich pomegranate molasses sauce. Enjoy!

  • CountryFrance
  • RegionCôte de Beaune, Burgundy
  • Sub-RegionPommard Premier Cru Les Grands Epenots
  • SoilClay & Limestone
  • FarmingLutte Raisonnée
  • BlendPinot Noir
  • Alcohol13.5%
  • OakUsed and New French
  • Temp.Serve at 60° F
  • GlasswareBurgundy Stems
  • DrinkingNow-2040
  • Decanting1-2 Hours
  • PairingSeared Duck Breast w/ Pomegranate Molasses

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