Domaine Parent is close to a fixture in Pommard with their offices and cuverie right in the centre of the village opposite the church. Although the Parent family can trace their roots in the wine business as far back as the 1600’s, it was Claude Parent (b.1770) who actually established the domaine in 1803. Six generations later, in 1998, Anne and Catherine Parent took charge of the domaine from their father Jacques. There is also a brother – François – but after he married into the Gros family (Ann-Françoise Gros) he chose to be part of the the A-F Gros domaine operation. Today Anne Parent looks after the technicalities of the viti and viniculture and Catherine Fages-Parent is responsible for the commercial aspects of the business.
Domaine Parent covers around 10 hectares that produces about 6,500 cases of wine per year, close to 90% of those cases are exported. Apart from a few vines in Beaune and around the hill of Corton, their vines are centred on Pommard where their offices and cuverie are based. Wines of all levels are produced from Bourgogne to Grand Cru, though for their Bourgognes the domaine has also a négociant license to buy grapes to augment their own produce, boosting total production to about 10-12,000 cases per year.
When I visited in May 2008, my hostess was Anne Parent – and what a hostess! Talkative, enthusiastic and a real ambassador for her village and wines. Anne studied law and worked in consulting before returning to the domaine in 1998, she loves to suggest dishes to match particular wines, and also the restaurants to visit. Anne (a keen golfer) even likens some of her cuvées to Tiger Woods; powerful, distinguished and like Haute Couture (Pommard 1er Les Epenots and adds that the 1990 is wonderful now). Anne describes her work as “a dream… a fascination…” though she admits it was a tough start in 1998 – she never really liked the vintage with it’s astringent tannins but is surprised how those wines are now starting to to turn the corner and are even beginning to turn on a little charm.
Winemaking and Wines
Since 1998, Anne has slowly modified her approach; all the grapes are hand picked, with slightly lower yields, and sorted on a vibrating triage table before destemming. Fermentation uses the local yeast population, typically twice daily pigeage is employed, and after the alcoholic fermentation the temperature is maintained at 32-35°C in order to keep the colour. 45-60% new oak is used in the Pommard 1ers, using a blend of 3 coopers, the Beaune and Ladoix are closer to 30%. Generics are mainly raised in stainless steel, but the best parts of the crop are raised in older barrels. For the rare Corton , bothe the alcoholic and malolactic fermentation are in wood, typically with a weekly batonage during the malo, but not after. We tasted a few 2007 from barrel, but at this address, most had not yet completed their malolactic frementations.
What struck me was the consistent balance in the wines; even 2003 and 2000’s are fresh and tasty, yet there remains the supple muscle of the Pommard terroir. If you wanted to learn a little about the wines of Pommard, you could do much worse than to take a mixed case from this domaine each year.
From purchased grapes, no wood used in elevage. White flower hints with melon and pear. Wide and mouthfilling. Will make a nice aperitif.
Elevaged in 60% new oak. A fine nose that’s deep and waxy. A real mouthful of concentration that lingers very long in the finish. The acidity seems a little too understated, but comes through in mouthwatering fashion at the end. Anne Parent suggests a good match with Turbot or grilled sea scallops!
A mix of domaine and bought-in grapes. Wide-open aromatics of savoury-edged fruit. Nice acidity and a subtle length.
The nose has depth and a sorbet-like fruit. Deep and serious in the mouth, with muscular tannin and slowly lingering flavours. This is very good.
Located close to Volnay where the soil has more limestone. The nose is a little wider and higher toned – more cherry and plum. Lithe and tannic with a super extra dimesion of flavour in the mid-palate, followed by a good diminuendo. Super.
Another sorbet-fruit nose, darker-skinned fruit than the Chanlins. This is from near to Rugiens, but without the red iron-oxide soil. This is made up from two cuvées, one from 50 year old vines, the other from 70 year old vines. There’s a step-up in the silkyness of the ample tannins – they cling to your mouth – another slow diminuendo. Super.
The nose is a little spicy over an understatedly savoury depth. More wood tannin (this will soften), very good balance and the first wine that shows an additional burst of complexity as move into the finish.
The aromatics are a little narrower than the preceding wines, but in the mouth it’s full, tannic, showing super acidity and real extension of the fruit before slowly dying in the finish. Clean and quite impressive.
The aromas are a little tight, but at it’s centre is a super core of red/black fruit. Wide, with velvety tannin and excellent acidity. The fruit chases the acidity into the finish while the tannin clings to the inside of your mouth. This will require some cellar time but has all the components to be a wonderful bottle down the line…
A deep and dark nose that slowly widens to show some mineral aspects. Ripe fruit provides sweetness and the tannin starts on a slightly lower level to previous wines before reaching a crescendo in the mid-palate. The flavours slowly fade. This is a very nice wine but will keep no problem.
Whilst very ripe and showing plenty of dried fruit aromatics, this is not obviously a 2003. The colour shows a young cherry-red. Silky with ripe, sweet fruit and plenty of freshness. This is lovely and I’m very impressed, particularly with the length. Real distinction here.
Deeper aromatics of ripe cherry conserve with a darker edge. Silky, the structure is more hidden but the flavours just pour througfh the middle of the wine into the mid-palate and on into the finish. Super balance here. Anne suggest a great pairing with roast meats.
Depth of fruit that’s turning quite savoury and meaty. “Was serious and tannic when young – it’s much better now than 2-3 years ago” says Anne. Now you see the reverse; the tannins are now in the background and the foreground is full of super fruit.
Narrower aromatics, but super fruit which is ripe but not too ripe. Mouthfilling, again with ripe fruit that is set against background tannins that still try to cling to your teeth. Very good acidity (not acidified) and some mineral hints. Really fine for the vintage.
Place de l’Eglise – BP8
Tel: +33 (0)3 80 22 15 08
Fax: +33 (0)3 80 24 19 33