AF Gros – 2016


Tasted in Beaune with Matthias and François Parent, 18 May, 2018.

Domaine AF Gros
16 Rue Pierre Joigneaux
21200 Beaune
Tel: +33 3 80 24 61 26

The news at this domaine is that they have, together with Richard Rottiers, snapped up some prime vines in Moulin à Vent. Matthias explains that it was a complicated first vintage for them in the Beaujolais; “We had 70% hail on the flat below the windmill where we now have 3.60 hectares. It’s very sandy here. The vines being in two plantations but are mainly 50-60 years old. We are starting to make a palisage so that we can work like we do here in the Côte d’Or. At least the hail is easier to triage than rot but still those dried berries that were dried the hail and didn’t fall to the ground needed a little work – of-course it was a manual triage. About 15-20% of the stems were kept in this first vintage – normally we would keep practically all of them, but this vintage it wasn’t possible due to the triage – still we made layers with the destemmed fruit and the whole clusters. Then cooled the tanks to 12°C before directly allowing the contents to ferment – so not really a separate cold maceration. We chose an all barrel elevage but with barrels between 4 and 5 years old. We did try a few newer barrels, but it was directly clear to us that it wouldn’t work.

“We’re not planning to always do a shorter elevage with the Moulin à Vent, it will depend on the vintage. We had long been interested in Moulin à Vent, but only Moulin à Vent! With the connection to Richard we were able to take the full 5 hectares that was on offer, splitting the vines between each other and a third vigneron.

“Generally for us 2016 was about half a harvest – because of the frost. Vosne wasn’t particularly touched, but everything else was. In the end though it’s a super vintage with concentrated wines that were easy to work in the cuverie. We’ve done 14-17 months of elevage for the Côte d’Or wines, all without sulfur now during the first part of elevage, it then depends if continue or not following the malo.

The wines…

Mainly the wines were bottled between January and March, with a few waiting until the start of May.

Nice to see more Côte d’Or producers getting their hands dirty in the Beaujolais. Overall, despite lots of oak augmentation to the flavours, there are some seriously great wines in store for the patient – even the not so patient in the shape of the Richebourg!

2017 Moulin à Vent
This is still in tank, but they are planning to bottle in about 2 more weeks. Racked 1 month ago – ‘We noted that the malos were fast. We will be obliged to filter as there was some turbidity – we don’t normally filter. We would have liked an easier first vintage but I’m happy with the result. We had very small grapes and I like the concentration.’
Medium colour. The nose is open, easy, red fruited. Wide and open over the palate, just a little rigour to the shape but there’s a good concentration of red-fruited flavour that slowly melts over the palate. A little salinity and lots of finishing width – the finish is really holding well.

2016 Bourgogne Hautes Côtes de Nuits
Only 5-year-old vines, but a good selection with small grapes. Classed as no sulfur – there was just a hint a bottling – but below the level that qualifies as a no sulfur wine.
Quite a big nose, with plenty of perfume. Good volume in the mouth and soft over the palate followed by a weight of finishing flavour. Long again, with quite stony flavour here in the finish.

2016 Vosne-Romanée Au Reas
The last wine saw 5% new oak, here is 50%, and what an aromatic difference – big and smoky from the oak but fresh and spicy too. Volume in the mouth (again), oak flavour, layers indeed waves of flavour. Some richness but also with plenty of energy. Super length again and almost saline in the finish. I expect that it will take at least 5 years to assimilate the wood. But this wine should be worth it!

2016 Chambolle-Musigny
Less than half a harvest. Together with Savigny, the two worst places for frost losses.
Still some of the smokey oak, but here I see a finer and silkier nose – it’s trying to deliver some floral notes too. Oof – big fresh, energetic wine – yes! Frankly it’s crushed by the oak flavour today, but there is such a great villages wine in here. Wait 5 years again but for something special!

2016 Pommard 1er Pezerolles
50% losses, just bottled. 80% new oak here.
A faint reduction, lots of depth but a tighter nose above. Concentrated, mouth-filling wine. Layered, rich, compact – there’s so much here but lack the previous wines with plenty of patience required. There’s lots of oak to eat in the finish but this wine will manage that with no problem – different, but possibly greater than the Chambolle.
2016 Richebourg
Ooh, what a width of aroma – I often find young Richebourg hard to taste, but not today! This has been bottled only about 8 days but is aromatically open and adding some floral hints to the base of well covered wood. Voluptuous, beautiful texture. Concentrated yet full of life. The tannin is appreciable but largely consumed by the soft padding today. Rigour of finishing flavour, modestly oaked, faintly floral and just constantly radiating flavour from the core. Great and quite obviously great too! – I rarely get to say that about young Richebourg – bravo!

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