Domaine Comte Armand in Pommard has been under the ownership of the same family in an unbroken line since before the French revolution, an extreme rarity in Burgundy. Until 1994 the domaine owned only one vineyard, their famous 13-acre Monopole Clos des Epeneaux – an outstanding 1er Cru in Pommard. The current Comte Armand – Vicomte Gabriel Armand, is a Parisian lawyer who has continued the family tradition of relying on resident-managers, or regisseurs, to conduct all of the domaine’s affairs.
As he did in 2010, Benjamin Leroux enthusiastically endorsed the 2011 vintage by saying that he "loves it. 2011 doesn't offer the consistency of either 2009 or 2010 but when the '11s are good, they are excellent. The growing season started very early and it actually closely parallels the 2007 season. The flowering occurred remarkably early, which is to say on the 8th of May and we enjoyed lots of sunshine until the middle of July and then things went to hell. We started picking the whites on the 29th of August and the reds on the 31st. The pinot was definitely ripe and we had very good sugars that ranged between 12.5 to 13% and I chaptalized only a few tenths with the goal of prolonging the fermentations rather than actually adding any alcohol as what we had naturally is more than sufficient for the style of wine I wish to make. There wasn't much sorting required as the rot pressure was really pretty mild. I used a bit of whole clusters in the Volnay and the Frémiets but otherwise the fruit was completely destemmed. I am really very happy with the quality of my 2011s and if you were to take the last 10 years and rank order them in terms of quality, I would definitely put 2011 in the top 5." While it's not necessarily the case for every wine in the range I would suggest to readers that Leroux definitely outperformed the general quality of the 2011 vintage. Note that reviews for Leroux's négociant operation are included below.
Note: the 5+ ha Clos is composed of approximately 80% Petits Epenots and 20% Grands Epenots; the vine ages run from 18 to 75+ years of age; as is typically the case here, the 2011 Clos des Epeneaux is segregated into several different cuvées based on vineyard location and will then be blended in varying proportions. The tasting note that follows is based upon a sample that should reasonably resemble the final blend. Not surprisingly, the nose is similar to that of the Pommard "1er" though it's more complex with a perfumed character to the distinctly earth-inflected red currant, blue berry and plum aromas. There is good power and plenty of punch to the broad-shouldered and muscular medium-bodied flavors that are shaped by relatively fine-grained tannins on the perfectly balanced and highly persistent finish. This is really very impressive and while it's not quite at the same level as the 2010 version, it's a more than worthy successor. Score: 92-94 Tasted: Apr 15, 2013 Drink: 2023+ Issue: 50 Sweet spot Outstanding Allen Meadows; Burghound
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