Pommard Clos des Epeneaux, Domaine Comte Armand 2012
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In most vintages, there are three distinct cuvees that make up the final blend for the flagship Pommard Clos des Epeneaux, but in 2012 there are just two. The first cuvee, from the top of the vineyard, is intensely tannic and structured. Floral notes lead to dark red cherries and crushed rocks in a wine that is all about crystalline purity and delineation. The second cuvee, from the bottom of the hill, presents more depth and volume. A representation of the final blend is striking. Sadly, the entire production will be bottled only in magnums, of which there will be just 4,000 to go around, versus the normal production of about 22,000 bottles. Readers who can find the 2012 should not hesitate, as it is shaping up to be one of the wines of the vintage.
|Score: 94/96||Allen Meadows, vinous.com, January 2014|
Tasted blind at the annual "Burgfest" tasting in Beaune. The 2012 Pommard 1er Cru Clos des Epeneaux from Domaine Comte Armand has more red rather than black fruit on the nose with plenty of wild blackberry and raspberry aromas coming through, though there is some new oak still to be resolved. The palate is medium-bodied with slightly chewy tannin, good acidity but again, the oak still conspicuous and more expressive than the terroir at the moment. Then again, with knowledge of the producer, I know how this wine sheds its tannins and benefits from several years in bottle. This is one of those Burgundy wines that could go either way, but given the grower, will give it the benefit of the doubt because of those aromatics.
|Score: 91+||Neal Martin, Wine Advocate (221), October 2015|
Now for the main attraction that dominates Domaine Comte Armand: the 2012 Pommard 1er Cru Clos des Epeneaux. There is no second wine (usually labelled village or premier cru) from this monopole this year and due to diminished quantities the final blend welcomed its younger vines that in any case have now reached a respectable 25 year of age. I tasted two cuvees according to geological profile: the lower reaches of fragmented rock high in iron oxide that tend to give tannic wines and the higher reaches of shallower soil and a proliferation of smaller cracks that tends to give more mineral-driven, elegant wine. The first cuvee from ferrous soils has a very refined bouquet with crystalline dark cherry and cassis fruit that come loaded with minerals, yet it is not a powerful bouquet, rather one that creeps up on you by stealth - seduction by the back door. The palate has a chalky, assertive, grippy entry with splendid weight and breadth. It does not fan out towards the finish like the 2009 or 2010, but stays very linear and focused, leaving a residue of minerals in its wake. You can sense the power, but Benjamin has this cuvee on a tight leash. The second, from fragmented rock, has a slightly more open nose and red fruit. It is sweeter and more feminine with a lithe finish. The blend of the two is very harmonious, the light blend tempering the more boisterous cuvee from the upper reaches, the elegance enhanced by the combination of the two. This will be fascinating once bottled. Readers should note that for the first time, the Clos des Epeneaux will be bottled in magnums only.
|Score: 94/96||Neal Martin, RobertParker.com (210), December 2013|
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