Red Burgundy: the Great values from Henri Gouges
Last week the sales team flew out to Burgundy to visit a number of our agencies and amongst many highlights, one Domaine that really stood out was Henri Gouges in Nuits St Georges. Founded in the 1930s, Domaine Henri Gouges was one of the first in the region to Domaine-bottle and he was also an early pioneer of the bottling of separate crus rather than simply releasing blended cuvees. They are one of the largest landholders in Nuits St Georges with 15 hectares of vines, mostly on to the South, close to Premeaux (Clos des Porrets, Pruliers, Vaucrains, Chenes Carteaux and Les St Georges) which generally produce the richer, more masculine and age-worthy style of Nuits St Georges. Their only holdings in the Northern part, towards Vosne Romanée are in the 1er Cru Chaignots, which produces a softer, more feminine style that can usually be approached earlier.
The wines are well known for their ability to age and in the past have been rather hard to appreciate in their youth, but current winemaker Gregory Gouges has strived to make the wines more approachable whilst not reducing their ability to age at all. During our visit we tasted through a range of the soon to be released 2013s, all of which showed excellent purity and very pretty fruit and whilst the 2013s are not quite as concentrated as the 2012s or 2010s they certainly have the stuffing to last for many years in the cellar and should provide enormous drinking pleasure in the years to come. We will be releasing the 2013s in January 2015.
The biggest revelation to everyone present, however, were the two wines served blind at lunch - a 44-year old bottle of Pruliers was exciting enough, but in order to really show us how well these wines can age, we were treated to a couple of magnificent bottles of 1936 Clos des Porrets, both of which had stood the test of time magnificently. We still have decent quantities of 2009 and 2010 Clos des Porrets both of which are available at £390 per 12 bottles – a relative steal for a wine that could potentially still be drinking well towards the end of this century! Pruliers has always been a very long lived example of the domaine’s wines, and as the vines are now over 70 years old, there is enormous complexity to be found in the wine – the only problem is the vines produce so little fruit! Another discovery from our visit is the Domaine’s other monopole, Les Chenes Carteaux vineyard - situated on a strip of land between Les St Georges and Vaucrains, it could not be better placed and, priced below the Clos des Porrets, at just £350 for 12 bottles of 2010, it is clearly an absolute steal!
Nuits St Georges Clos des Porrets 1er Cru 2009 or 2010 – one of the estate’s two monopoles, regarded as the lowest of their 1er Crus but as we saw one with serious ageing potential. Buy this and forget it for at least 10 years.
Nuits St Georges Les Chenes Carteaux 1er Cru 2010 – situated on a strip of land between Les St Georges and Vaucrains this is clearly a very special wine at a bargain price!
Nuits St Georges Les Pruliers 1er Cru 2012 – made from vines up to 70 years old, Pruliers produces wonderfully intense mineral wines and this 2012 is up there with the best.