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Profile: Henri Gouges

DSC05645Tasted in Nuits with Gregory Gouges, 3rd December, 2014.

Domaine Henri Gouges
7 Rue du Moulin
21700 Nuits St.Georges
Tel: +33 3 80 61 04 40
www.gouges.com

Although the family had been involved with the vines for very much longer, Henri Gouges formed this Domaine in 1920. He was soon looking to break out from the mold of simply selling his produce to the négociants and in the early 1930s become one of a handful of pioneering domaines that decided to bottle and sell their own wine. First the wines were being sold in Paris and then via importer Frank Schoonmaker into the US with the other early bottlers Rousseau, Tollot-Beaut and Angerville.

The domaine passed from Henri to his sons Marcel and Michel in 1967, before moving onto the next generation of Pierre and Christian Gouges, who in turn see their sons, Gregory and Antoine Gouges taking greater roles.

This domaine is possible the most well-known of Nuits St.Georges though its premier cru vines are almost exclusively between Nuits and Premeaux – 14.5 hectares of 15 are south of Nuits – only one of its six 1er crus sits on the the other side of Nuits, towards Vosne-Romanée.

Gregory on 2013:
“2013 was a difficult vintage – not only for the workers, but the vines too – cold and humid. We began our harvest on the 5th October and triage was very important – frankly, prices have increased so much in the last decade, that we can’t afford to make any mistakes – we threw away 15-20% of the grapes that arrived at the domaine. We have a big harvest team and try to bring our whole 15 hectares in, in less than 5 days – usually that means 70-80 pickers.

“Our work in the vines is exactly the same in every vineyard – only the order of tasting the wines is different. It is a vintage of freshness and our malos were not heterogeneous, but we let nature take its course. The villages was racked in December for bottling in April or so…”

The wines…

2013 Nuits St.Georges
Still a little malo aroma here. Wide and slightly padded in the mouth – very fine fruit. There’s plenty of acid intensity, indeed it’s really intense from the mid-palate into the finish. Almost the flavour of limestone – this is a little square at the moment but very, very impressive all the same!

2013 Nuits St.Georges 1er Les Chaignots
A relatively tight nose but wider and deeper than the villages – with darker fruit too. There’s more energy here and fine, fresh intensity – it’s like the corners of the villages wine have all been smoothed – this is very super!

2013 Nuits St. Georges 1er Clos des Porrets St.Georges
3.6 hectare monopole – maybe ‘Porrets’ was field of pears…(?)
A deep though faintly reduced nose. Direct, gorgeous fruit. The tannin is really only in the background. More direct than the Chaignots and a little harder in the finish – yet a beauty for its fresh fruit and vibrancy.

2013 Nuits St.Georges 1er Les Pruliers
A nose that’s faintly spiced but also a hint reduced. This is a more muscular wine and no fat either – but complexity and minerality abounds. A wine that will benefit from a little more cellar time – despite how good it is!

2013 Nuits St.Georges 1er Les Vaucrains
Only 18 hl/ha in 2013…
A little tight but fine and complex aromas with no reduction. There’s an obvious extra concentration and a little more depth and texture too – a ripe slightly grainy texture from the tannin. There’s even a perfume to the mid-palate flavour. Very excellent!

2013 Nuits St.Georges 1er Les St.Georges
Some faint malo on the nose – otherwise it’s tight. Dynamic and intense, lithe and with less fat but just as much concentration as the Vaucrains. Almost a little chalky in the finish. I still don’t think of LSG as GC – just GW – great wine!

Agree? Disagree? Anything you'd like to add?