Profile: François Gaunoux

Update 27.4.2021(6.12.2017)billn

Tatsed in Meursault the 13 November 2017, with Claudine Gaunoux and

Domaine François Gaunoux / Château Gaunoux
23 Rue du 11 Novembre
21190 Meursault
Tel: +33 3 80 21 22 40 (flash)

Gaunoux is a great old Côte de Beaune family name. Henri Gaunoux worked vines in the years on either side of the second world war. In 1972 his estate was split amongst his family, his two sons forming two domains: Domaine François Gaunoux in Meursault, and Domaine Michel Gaunoux in Pommard. Jean-Michel, went to work side by side with his father, François, in 1978 at Domaine François Gaunoux. In 1990, Jean-Michel split with his father, François, starting a domaine with vineyard parcels from his mother’s side of the family – this became Domaine Jean-Michel Gaunoux, also in Meursault.

Domaine François Gaunoux, sometimes called Château Gaunoux, is still the domaine of François, now in his 80s, but it’s his daughter Claudine who is now responsible, together with her partner Jean-Pierre Tournier. Claudine has been working at the domaine since 2000, and since 2001 together with her father, Claudine took a different route to almost every other domaine in the Côte d’Or – when they decided to completely dispense with barrels – or rather wood – for elevage. Even before 2001, the use of wood was limited to about fifty percent of their volume. Today everything is stainless steel – and with extended elevage too, two winters but always in tank. That goes for their reds and whites.

The domaine is also special for their vineyard holdings – they have about 12 hectares of vines but no generics, they also don’t have a lot cuvées, but what the have is usually in very large parcels. It’s an all manual harvest – in reds this year we had a great result, we might have had too much without the frost – but we lost 40% in white. We harvest really late even after de Courcel. All destemmed grapes, red and white. Auto pigeage, temperature controlled up to 32°C. The whites are pressed for 5-5.5 hours – they have two big presses, necessary for such large parcels. And of-course no wood here – “We just have the purity of the terroir – but you should wait a little time because without barrels they need a couple of years to come around – were starting to drink 2013s now…

The domaine has a shop in Place Carnot in Beaune where Claudine’s parents live. There is also the Pavillion de Gaunoux on the road between Pommard and Volnay where wines can be bought. The domaine’s biggest markets are export: US, UK et-cetera and ‘the grand restauration’ of France. There is also a Gaunoux Selection label for older bottles.

The wines…

A super interesting domaine and set of wines. Wines I very-much like but they need a little time, and I don’t just mean ‘x’ years. The last 4 bottles opened were good for the whites but the reds were nice and concentrated though simple expressions of fruit – 2 days after opening and being kept in the fridge they were complex and absolutely delicious. So please do keep ‘x’ years, but then carafe the wines too!

2016 Meursault Clos Meix Chavaux
A 5 hectare south-east facing plot
Deep, vibrant, faint reduction. Lots of volume and energy, bottling in March. Really intense finishing, elevage needed to tame some mineral rigour.

2016 Meursault Clos de Tavaux
1ha monopole next-door to the domaine
Ooh, that’s a fresher and very pleasant Meursault nose. A little gas, lots of fresh concentration, more Meursault

2016 Meursault 1er Gouttes d’Or
Deep but open, a highly attractive Meursault nose. Direct, linear, melting from the core, super wine – ‘there’s no makeup, the good and the bad.

Les rouges:

2016 Beaune 1er Clos des Mouches
From 2 parcels
Bright, fresh pure pinot deliciousness of aroma. Gas, but growing width, freshness, energy, extra depth of fruit flavour in the middle. Super weight of flavour.

2016 Volnay 1er Clos des Chênes
2 parcels again
A little floral, super depth of fruit. Ooh, deep, fabulously textured, great balance with acidity – bravo super wine, super finishing too.

2016 Pommard 1er Les Epenots
Also two parcels of vines between 50-100 years-old
Ooh, that’s also a deep, multi-dimensional impressive nose. More direct again, growing intensity, chewy concentration in the middle.

2016 Pommard 1er Grands Epenots
Massive colour. Here a little volatility but what a weight of aroma. Also a little on the palate. This will need some time to calm down before bottling. Saline and fabulous in the finish though – tons of potential. Last drops have no volatility and smell great.

2016 Pommard 1er Rugiens
A very pretty nose – lots of flowers too. Lots of volume in the mouth, fresh, with depth of flavour, a hauntingly delicious wine!

And to have some idea how these wines age:

2013 Francois Gaunoux Meursault Clos des Meix Chavaux – Monopole
A broad nose, pretty and precise nose with some citrus sweetness. A nice, not too concentrated entry but then a mouth-watering and very delicious slow wave of flavour works its way over the palate. Pretty wine and very tasty wine too. Fine…

2010 Francois Gaunoux, Meursault 1er Gouttes D’Or
A little more vibration on the nose, just a little narrower but with a fine elegance. More depth of flavour here, despite being more a wine of line – really you ride through the middle on a good texture and then it opens more into the finish and certainly has more density with a suggestion of minerality. Super – as delicious as the first wine is, this has a little more for me.

2012 Francois Gaunoux, Pommard 1er Grand Epenots
A big, vibrant, pure, red fruit nose. Ooh, wide, great mouth-feel but still with a sub-level of tannin, some floral aspects too. a wine of line and concentration – lovely energy and great, very young flavour – bravo!
2009 Francois Gaunoux, Pommard 1er Ruigens
Ooh, wow – this is wide, floral complex, pure – fabulous. Extra depth to the texture, extra freshness and volume, and really great wine. Fresh, you could see white this might be a higher appellation than even the Grands Epenots…

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