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January 12, 2018

BURGUNDY EN PRIMEUR – DOMAINE HENRI GOUGES 2016

HG (1)

Domaine Henri Gouges is broadly considered to be the most famous producer in Nuits St.Georges. In 2016, as always, they have produced some of the finest wines in village, best of all is their stunning 1er Cru Pruliers. It has been awarded 92-94 points from Neal Martin who says ‘This is replete with wonderful freshness and tension toward the finish that is tensile and linear, captivating from start to finish. Superb.’ He gives it a drinking window from 2021 to 2040, which give a sense of the pedigree here. In 2016, 70% of the Gouge’s crop was destroyed by frost, Gouges therefore has produced something exceptional, in tiny quantities, less than 100 cases of Les Pruliers. Priced today at £300 per case of six, this is an utterly superb wine and with 92-94 is one of the highest ever scores from this vineyard, outscoring even the Les Saint Georges in 2016. 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.

In addition to the stunning 1er Cru, we can offer their 2016 Nuit Saint Georges Village. As always this is one of the finest and certainly best priced village wines to be found anywhere in the Cote d’Or. In 2016 it has been awarded 88-90, one of the best of any village wine and it contains the grapes that could be saved from the 1er Cru vineyards of Chaines Carteaux and Les Chaignots. It is no wonder therefore that is has the same score as the stunning 1er Cru les Vaucrains from Gouges. Priced at £200 per case of six, this is a superb village, from one of the best winemakers in Burgundy. Martin says, ‘enjoy over the next decade’, it is a village level wine with superb quality and ageing potential. This is a spectacular village level wine which embodies the greatness of Nuits Saint Georges, famed for its richness, savoury notes and sweet spices.

At the time of the re-classification of Burgundy, 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.

Domaine Henri Gouges Nuit Saint Georges Village 2016, 6×75 – £200 EP 

Domaine Henri Gouges Nuit Saint Georges 1er Cru Pruliers 2016 - 6×75 – £300 EP 

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