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January 16, 2017

Burgundy En Primeur – Domaine Henri Gouges 2015

2014_10_15_Henri_Gouges

Burgundy 2015 has received candescent reports from Allen Meadows and Neal Martin. Meadows opines that 2015 is a genuinely great vintage and great from top to bottom’. The Wine Advocate’s Neal Martin enthusiastically implores collectors to ‘make no mistake, 2015 Burgundy is a great vintage’. As such, we are delighted to be able to release a parcel of what is generally considered to be the finest producer in Nuits St. Georges or anywhere in the Cote de Nuits, Henri Gouges. Henri Gouges is the pre-eminent Domaine in the village of Nuits St. Georges, known for the incredible depth of their wines, which derive from the very best parcels in the village.

In 2015, Henri Gouges has produced something remarkable on the 1er Cru vineyard Pruliers, which Neal Martin has awarded 93-95 points, his joint third highest for any 1er Cru wine; Tim Atkin awarded it a straight 95 points. In fact, 93-95 points means that is has been awarded the same score from Martin as three leading Grand Crus in 2015; DRC Echezeaux, Meo Camuzet Echezeaux and Dujac Bonnes Mares. However, Henri Gouges’ 1er Pruliers 2015 is available today for £275, a remarkable quality vs price ratio for a leading Burgundy producer. Gouges’ Les Pruliers is known for its rich spice and smoky fruit, the 2015 is possibly his finest ever from here and certainly Grand Cru level.

There are no Grand Crus vineyards in Nuits St Georges, although many argue Les Saint Georges, Les Vaucrains and Les Pruliers should be classified as Grand Cru, resultantly Gouges does not make Grand Cru, his 1er Crus however reach these heights, but at a fraction of the cost. At the time of the re-classification, Henri Gouges was Mayor of the village of Nuits St. Georges and its leading winemaker. Along with the Marquis d’Angerville, Henri helped to re-define the original Cru classifications of 1861. Notably, Henri fought against making any of the great plots in Nuits St. Georges into Grand Crus, despite owning many of the best parcels and candidates for Grand Cru status. Henri preferred to not single out any one vineyard for the highest status. Henri Gouges himself created the Domaine in 1925, becoming one of the first growers in Burgundy to sell wine under his own name.

Henri’s sons, Marcel and Michel, took over the running of the Estate from their father, undertaking a significant replanting project. They passed the Domaine down to their sons, Pierre and Christian, who thereon had a mass of young vines to work with. Each generation passes the vines down to another master winemaker, the family taking root in the soil, becoming part of the ancient vines they tend. Pierre is still in control of the vineyards, while Christian has taken a back seat in the cellar, handing over the reins to Pierre’s son Gregory, who is assuming 80 years of soil soaked with the sweat of his family.

Today Pierre and Gregory take immense care in the vineyards, regulating yields, while ensuring optimum grape quality. They use organic viticultural practices and harvest manually. Domaine Henri Gouges makes old-fashioned, firm and structured wines, which are among the most age-worthy in all of the Cote de Nuits. The wines are matured for 18-20 months in a maximum of 20% new oak and therefore focus on balance and purity of fruit, rather than toasty oak.

All this quality flows throughout Gouge’s wines and as remarked by Meadows in his report, ‘in all my years of visiting Burgundy I have never seen a better vintage for wines at the bottom of the appellation hierarchy’. It is therefore a year to stock up on village level wines, which offer incredible quality in 2015. One of the highest scoring village wines is of course Gouges’ Nuit St. Georges scoring a superb 89-92 from Burghound, who says ‘This offers simply terrific quality for its level and is highly recommended.’ If you love Nuit St.Georges and want to taste its greatest producer; Henri Gouges’ artistry can be enjoyed for £165 per case of six bottles, or £27.50 a bottle. This is a spectacular village level wine which embodies the greatness of the village, famed for its richness, savoury notes and sweet spices.

Domaine Henri Gouges Nuit Saint Georges Village 2015 - 6×75 – £165 EP 

90 Points, Neal Martin, The Wine Adovocate
The 2015 Nuits Saint Georges Village, a blend on different small blocks between the south and middle of the appellation, offers a fragrant, well-defined bouquet with red cherries and cranberry fruit. There is impressive mineralité and transparency considering this is a “mere” village cru. The palate is medium-bodied with crisp tannin, tart cherries mixed with bergamot and hints of early grey. I appreciate the complexity here and it marks a significant step up from the Bourgogne Rouge

89-92 Points, Burghound
Gouges noted that in 2015 the blend for this wine contains 40% from the 1er Chênes Carteaux so that there could be sufficient volume for their various markets. A background application of wood frames a similar if more complex and elegant array of ripe aromas. The sleek, round and delicious medium-bodied flavors possess lovely definition before terminating in a saline-inflected finish that is notably finer than it usually is. This offers simply terrific quality for its level and is highly recommended.

Domaine Henri Gouges Nuit Saint Georges 1er Cru Pruliers 2015 - 6×75 – £275 EP 

93 – 95 Points, Neal Martin, The Wine Advocate
The 2015 Nuits Saint Georges 1er Cru Les Pruliers has a more feminine, more fruit-driven bouquet than the NSG Clos des Porrets, very pure crushed strawberry, red cherry and cranberry aromas that gain intensity all the time in the glass. The palate is medium-bodied with blood orange on the entry, plenty of lively red berry fruit with admirable mineralité and tension on the finish. This is a superb les Pruliers from Domaine Gouges and it should give a couple decades worth of drinking pleasure. 

90-93 Points, Burghound
This too is firmly reduced. The velvety, round and seductively textured medium-bodied flavors also possess excellent volume and mid-palate concentration with a very high level of phenolic maturity to the firm supporting tannins on the moderately austere and rustic finale. This too is very definitely classic Nuits in character that will require plenty of patience

To buy this wine, click here