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January 27, 2020

Comte Armand Pommard Clos des Epeneaux 2018 Monopole, 6×75, £595, 93-95 Pts & Auxe

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Comte Armand Clos des Epeneaux is a jewel of the Cote d’Or. Clos des Epeneaux is the finest vineyard in the village of Pommard, which runs from the border of Beaune, with Volnay to the south. Comte Armand is the only producer on this hallowed plot making the 5-acre Clos des Epeneaux a monopole. This restricts production to a meagre 1,700 cases a year, making it highly allocated and hard to source. While it currently sits at 1er Cru status, it is acknowledged as one of the likeliest candidates to eventually be promoted as the village’s first Grand Cru. This lead Robert Parker to proclaim ‘Comte Armand’s Clos des Epeneaux remains one of the most fairly priced wines in the world considering quality’. The 2018 vintage of Clos des Epeneaux is certainly one of their best ever produced, largely thanks to the expert guidance of winemaker Paul Zinetti coaxing an unprecedented level of freshness and elegance from this naturally dense and powerful wine. Neal Martin from Vinous was as enraptured by it as we were, awarding it a brilliant 93-95 points, declaring, ‘This is just superb.’ We are delighted to release it today at a first tranche release price of £595 per case of six in bond.

 

We are also delighted to offer their Auxey-Duresses 1er Cru Rouge, which is a two parcel blend from two of the villages finest parcels; the south-facing limestone soils of Les Bréterins and the south-east facing clay soils of Les Duresses. With the more precocious fruit of the former perfectly complementing the denser and more serious production of the latter, the resulting wine boasts a dense core of glorious fresh red berried fruit, intoxicating aromatics, and a surprising level of finesse. Martin commends the, ‘fine-boned tannins, a superb line of acidity and impressive structure on the finish,’awarding it 90-92 points. At just £175 per 6×75, we this feel has earned its place as the best value wine in their superlative range.
Comte Armand Clos des Epeneaux was purchased by Nicolas Marey at the end of the 18th Century, along with the now DRC’s Romanee St.Vivant Marey-Monge. The vineyard is mainly sited in Grand Epenot its famous walls and gate completed in 1805 both to protect it and to highlight this jewel as the finest terroir of the village. Jean-Francois Armand inherited the vineyard as a dowry when he married Nicolas’ daughter in 1826, the Comte Armand family have owned it ever since. The vineyard was replanted post-phylloxera in 1930 and has built on its vast reputation, all the while being considered as one of the best monopoles and certainly 1er Cru vineyard – it is clear why the family kept this vineyard over all their holdings. With the youngest vines having been planted in the early 1980s, the oldest have now more than a century of age.

 

The wine, which is always highly prized, has gone through a beautiful evolution. The modern era began with Pascal Marchand as the winemaker, where wines were known for their density, structure, power and complexity. It was in this period it cemented itself as the foremost Pommard. Thereon, Benjamin Leroux took over the helm, introducing the practice of 100% destemming, but not crushed, rather left intact, long maceration and moving new oak to around 30%. He oversaw the adaptation to biodynamic winemaking, becoming certified in 2005. In 2014, Paul Zinetti took the reins, his mission to harness the power and ageability that defines this great wine, yet retaining this composition and delivery in a moderated style which can be enjoyed younger. 2015 to 2018 have seen some of the highest scores in their history and are among the finest of their vintages, the change therefore has been seen as positive and a further extension of this highly prized wine.

 

Clos des Epeneaux is a must for Burgundy lovers, it achieves a quality to match the loftiest Grand Crus after bottle age and is brilliantly priced. Their Auxey-Duresses offers incredible quality at this price point and comes highly recommended. As such we are pleased to provide a special offer for a case of each for £720 at release.