Tasted in Pommard with Steve Whitehead (pictured right with wife, Delphine) 11 November, 2014.
Domaine Michel Rebourgeon
7, place de l’Europe
Tel: +33 3 80 22 22 83+33 3 80 22 22 83
I’m padding out my ‘Pommard Rebourgeon family tree’ with a little serendipity. One week earlier I’d been wandering the streets of Pommard and spotted a meaty-looking Land Rover – the owner of which asked me if I was lost! A couple of days later we were side by side at the gas-station, Steve said he was from an old family domaine in Pommard – so a date to visit was set!
Steve had started a wine-business in Oldham, UK in the 1980s – his business-partner still runs this business – and it was during this time he met his future wife, Delphine Rebourgeon. Delphine’s parents ran a family domaine in Pommard – Domaine Michel Rebourgeon. When Delphine’s father, Michel, was coming to retirement age, Steve withdrew from his UK business and joined the family domaine. He and Delphine still share the vineyard work on their 3.6 hectare domaine. As Steve is also now close to retirement age, their son Michael will slowly look to take on the domaine – he’s 16 and has just started at Beaune’s ‘VITI.’
This domaine is closely linked with Rebourgeon-Mure – they are cousins – indeed, they are also neighbours in a number of their plots of vines. The produce of Domaine Michel Rebourgeon, however, save for a pallet to Steve’s old business-partner in the UK, is almost exclusively sold from their tasting-room/shop in Pommard, set between Pommard’s restaurant ‘Le Pommard’ and the chocolate shop!
The cuverie is also in Pommard, just around the corner from the shop. Up to nine cuvées are the issue of a mix of old wooden, concrete and thermo-controlled stainless-steel fermentation tanks, made from grapes that are largely triaged (on a table) in the vineyard before being destemmed and placed in the tanks in the cooled cuverie. Steve likes to cool the cuverie down to 9-10° a couple of days before the harvest so that the grapes stabilise in the cold tanks at about 12°C and allow him about 5-6 days of cool maceration before the onset of fermentation. There is a twice daily pigeage and a long daily remontage too. The Bourgogne sees about 12 months of elevage before bottling, the rest of the range more like 18 months.
Maybe it’s auto-suggestion – and you already know how much I enjoy the wines of Rebourgeon-Mure – well there is more than a passing resemblance to be found in these wines too. You will have to visit Pommard to buy them, but they are well priced for a ‘tourist shop’ and more importantly, also taste good. The 2013 Bourgognes would be bottled in 2 or 3 weeks, the rest of the range staying in (largely 2-4 year-old) wood for a little longer, bottling in March.
In that rare thing – a hail-less vintage – this domaine never makes more than 38 hl/ha due to having plenty of old vines. Of-course, they haven’t been able to equal that number for quite a while. There is normally a cuvée of ‘Pommard 1er’ made from two small plots, the first in Pezerolles and the second in Charmots – but there wasn’t enough fruit to vinify (as Pommard 1er) in 2013…
2013 Bourgogne Chardonnay
In this vintage, a single 350 litre (new) barrel.
From a 0.17 ha plot close to the roundabout that links Beaune and Pommard.
The nose is round, shows good depth, and a weight of ripe, but not too ripe, fruit. Round and refreshing in the mouth, with a sweet fruit core. I find this very tasty.
A blend of four parcels, which mixes vines in the plain of Pommard with vines from high on the hill too – this latter plot retains a significant portion of vines planted in 1902.
Here is a really beautiful dark-red fruit nose – it’s very pretty indeed. Fresh with fine flavour and a good width of crunchy, mouth-watering fruit. Excellent Pommard!
2013 Beaune 1er Les Chouacheux
A less-seen 1er that sits below Vignes-Franches.
An airy and fresh nose with a tighter core of fruit. Lovely acid-fruit here but it finishes sweetly and with nice intensity and length. I could drink this wine now, it begs you to take a second sip…
2013 Volnay 1er
A blend of fruit from 0.18 ha of Brouillards and 0.15 ha of Carelle sous la Chapelle. This was racked in early September for bottling next March.
Wide and faintly floral over a tighter core of fruit – the last drops in the glass smell much more open and lovely. There’s a bead of tannin that runs through this wine, and a lovely, long-finishing line of flavour too. A somewhat discrete wine today but very, very tasty.
2013 Pommard 1er Les Arvelets
A deep, faintly reduced nose – but swirling eliminates the vast majority, leaving a fine width of (still) darker, clean and fresh fruit. There’s a little more tannin here, but it’s ripe and offers more of a drag on the texture than real grain. The fruit offers a fine, insinuation flavour with a last note of bitter chocolate. Yum!