Domaine Henri Gouges Nuits-St-Georges Les Vaucrains Premier Cru 2019
When tasting, these are intense wines, characteristic of their terroir through freshness and minerality. The Vaucrains are nevertheless exceptional long-keeping wines, which require a dozen years to reveal their full potential.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Barrel Sample: 92-95
Barrel Sample: 91-94
The creation of Domaine Henri Gouges was the culmination of 400 years of family grape farmers, and it is, in many minds, the top domaine in Nuits-Saint-Georges. Henri formed the domaine in 1920 but was soon discouraged with selling the fruit to négociants. He envisioned a better quality wine, and by 1933, he was producing, bottling, and selling directly. He, along with the Marquis d’Angerville from Volnay, was at the forefront of battles against fraud in Burgundy in the 1920s. In the 1930s, Monsieur Gouges was one of the people charged with the job of delineating the crus in Burgundy for the Institut National d’Appellation d’Origine, and he was a member of that regulatory body at its outset. Since the beginning, the domaine has remained an undivided family property. In 1967 Henri’s two sons, Michel and Marcel, succeeded him and added to the holdings of the estate. Each of them handed leadership over to one of their sons to bring the domaine to the next stage. Pierre and Christian began the modernization of the vineyards and the winery, which they have now turned over to Pierre’s son, Gregory, and his cousin, Antoine. While the house style has evolved, the main focus is the better reflection of the terroir in the fruit through organic viticulture. They believe that healthy vines produce quality fruit and thus more expressive terroir-driven wines.
Inhabiting the bottom end of the northern half of the Côte d’Or, Nuits-St-Georges is a busy, market-driven town and home to many of Burgundy’s negociants. It is also the largest town in the Côte d’Or after Beaune and contributes "nuits" to the name of Côte de Nuits (i.e., the northern half of the Côte d’Or).
The appellation itself is divided into two parts, where in the north it directly borders Vosne-Romanée, the southerly end is the commune of Prémeaux. There are no Grands Crus in this village, though it does have a large number of Premiers Crus.
The best Nuits-St-Georges Pinot Noir are layered with cherry, plum, underbrush and sandalwood. The fruit is sweet, the wine energetic, and the finish long and lush.
Thin-skinned, finicky and temperamental, Pinot Noir is also one of the most rewarding grapes to grow and remains a labor of love for some of the greatest vignerons in Burgundy. Fairly adaptable but highly reflective of the environment in which it is grown, Pinot Noir prefers a cool climate and requires low yields to achieve high quality. Outside of France, outstanding examples come from in Oregon, California and throughout specific locations in wine-producing world. Somm Secret—André Tchelistcheff, California’s most influential post-Prohibition winemaker decidedly stayed away from the grape, claiming “God made Cabernet. The Devil made Pinot Noir.”