Henri Gouges – 2016


Tasted in Nuits St.Georges with Gregory Gouges, 14 November, 2017.

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

Gregory on 2017:
​It is almost necessary to describe 2017 in the context of what happened in 2016. 2016 had the very consequent frost – more in the south of Nuits which had losses of up to 70%, it really effected the opening of the buds and of course killed many that were already open. It retarded everything for about three weeks. Then came a really a high pressure from mildew, and we use only products that are Bio – everything was in a good shape to do the photosynthesis though. 2017 was, therefore, a much easier vintage, no frost, a very clean vintage and easy for us to make the treatments – and in the end a harvest that was generous – particularly on this last aspect we paid a lot of attention because in 1981 there was frost and then 1982 had a big harvest – but with many wines that were ‘lite.’ So we paid a lot of attention to yields doing a green harvest in the young vines, though not the older vines. In fact the old wines that produced well – a good example of that is we have a few rows of 100-year-old vines in Pruliers and these vines produced 5,6,7 clusters per vine – we never see that much!

Gregory on 2016:
2016 saw average yields at the domaine of 16 hl/ha – we aim for 30-35! We got 36 in 2017 vs the 50 that is allowed. There was really a big capacity for high yields in 2016 that was ‘corrected’ by the frost – but of-course it over-corrected in many places. All our vines south of Nuits were badly affected – just one of our parcels, in Chainiots direction Vosne, was untouched and this has been declassified into our villages to keep that viable as it’s an important cuvée for the domaine. ​In the end we harvested quite late, and with good maturity, but I think avoiding extra weight.

​I asked Gregory about the status of the ‘dossier’ to promote Les St.Georges to grand cru: “It is tied up in administration, indeed for the moment it has almost stopped. The INAO have 10 points that they would like us to address, but all very administrative and nothing to do with the quality of the wine or the vineyard. So let’s see!

The wines…

​They have just started to rack some of the villages to make a natural sedimentation. “I like bottling around April but if the volatility starts to increase then that might push us to bottle, but otherwise we keep to the principle that if it tastes good, its time – but in 2016 that will probably between January and April depending on the cuvee.

I noted that I found the tannins to be very suave – I asked Gregory about these: ​”The style of tannins today, yes the radical change was in the cuverie and the reception of the grapes, all by gravity and also a very much softer destemming. We probably extract more tannin than before but really the best part. But I don’t think we’ve lost the domaine’s style of wine, it’s just not necessary to wait quite as long!

Without too much ‘over-excitement, these wines were so very composed and classy. And yes, even in Nuits St.Georges, they deserve the adjective – sophisticated!

2016 ​Bourgogne Pinot Noir
Normally from the exit of Nuits but there was none of that this year, so from Dame Huguette in the Hautes Côtes
This has still a young nose, hardly ready, but with both freshness and depth. Supple, really fine in the mouth, with melting layers of flavour. A hint of spice on the finish. Really needs plenty more elevage.

2016 Nuits St.Georges
Was racked the day before tasting – the sulfur corrected too.
A nose with more volume, and just a hint of oak. More depth of flavour, more weight of flavour, but also beautifully silky. The tannin is not really a discussion point, maybe just its relative lack. Excellent.

2016 Nuits St. Georges 1er Clos des Porrets St.Georges
3.6 hectare monopole – maybe ‘Porrets’ was field of pears…(?)
Plenty of reduction to start. Slowly but not completely fading in our short time together. Again, gorgeously textured, silky, a little more tannin but not astringent or grainy. An extra depth and little burst of finishing flavour – really fine and long in the finish. Super!

2016 Nuits St.Georges 1er Les Pruliers
A nice volume of aroma, padded with a discreet oak. Round, saline, great texture again, holding its round shape right into the finish before liberating a brilliant, oak-creamy finishing fruit flavour. Bravo!
2016 Nuits St.Georges 1er Les Vaucrains
5 barrels from one hectare 11/12 hl/ha – that’s only a little less than in 2013.
There’s a little reduction to liberate, but here there’s also an extra brightness of aroma at the core. Extra width, less round, melting, growing flavour, more complex, but not brutally concentrated. Composed in delivery, delicious in character.
2016 Nuits St.Georges 1er Les St.Georges
Half the volume of 2017 – 6 barrels.
A hint of reduction. A little calmer than the Vaucrains, starting a little smaller, but growing, growing with a fine freshness, and really an extra width of flavour. Fresher, more mineral in the finish, just here with an anecdote of tannin. Lovely wine, a little purer. Today I prefer the little extra character of the Vaucrains, for tomorrow I reserve the right to change my mind 🙂

And a little something to finish:

2015 Nuits St. Georges 1er Clos des Porrets St.Georges
Bottled a few months now…
Not much high-toned action but a fine, profound, depth with a very faint spice. Wide, good freshness, not an overtly ripe palate, rather classic, layered and with good freshness. The tannin is just a little more visible than the 2016s today, but almost sub-velvet in terms of the micro-grain. “I’d always rather harvest too early than too late, particularly in a vintage like 2015, I really wanted to keep the freshness. As the riper wines are less interesting to drink I think. I think I was a little late harvesting in 2009 the wines are quite close together, but I still think I lost a little of the definition between the crus, I think I kept that in 2015.

2015 Nuits St.Georges 1er Les Vaucrains
A nice freshness of aroma here – composed but attractive. Like the 2016 a wine of panoramic width, slowly melting, becoming more complex, more interesting and delicious – brighter and prettier all the time. This is really easy to see that it’s the ‘same wine’ as the 2016 version.

2014 Nuits St.Georges 1er Les Pruliers
A lovely width of modest but very attractive aroma. Much more direct, good freshness, melting from the line of flavour, moving towards the finish. A fine, modest, but delicious complexity. Clearly a smaller wine (volume in the mouth) vs the 2015s but that it successfully follows the largesse of that vintage shows the great material that it has!

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