Henri Gouges Nuits-Saint-Georges Clos Fontaine Jacquinot 2017


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“The 2017 Nuits Saint-Georges Cuvée Fontaine Jacquinots comes from the lieu-dit of Les Crots. It is usually blended into the Village Cru, but because of the abundant quantity, Gregory Gouges decided to bottle this separately and, for the first time at the domaine, used 50% stems. The bouquet is clean and fresh, crushed stone and undergrowth scents filtering through the brambly black fruit. The fresh, vibrant palate is medium-bodied with sappy black fruit and a tine bead of acidity, and the stems are very nicely assimilated into the fabric of the wine. This is a lovely Nuits Saint-Georges and yes, it will appear in 2018. Six barrels produced. Drinking window: 2021-2040. 90-92 points

This domaine requires no introduction, since my article from October covers just about everything you need to know about the history, the vineyard, the wines and the secret to a long life. So let’s get down to business. Grégory Gouges guided me through their 2017s and summarized the growing season.

“It was a very fast growing season. Flowering was fine, and that compensated for the previous year because the vines had a lot of pent-up energy. There was no disease, no mildew or oïdium, so we used one-third of the organic sprays compared to the previous year. We started the harvest on September 12 for the whites and then we started picking Clos des Porrets, finishing around September 16 or 17. That month saw fine weather and the yields were a little more important compared to a normal year. I try not to wait too long because I don’t like high alcohol, but in 2017, with a bigger yield at around 40hl/ha, it was important to wait a few days longer in order to obtain phenolic ripeness. The alcohol is between 12.5° and 13.0° with no chaptalisation, the pH levels around 3.40. It’s a fresh vintage with good acidity and accessibility. In my opinion, it’s not a good idea to wait a long time before bottling [echoing similar sentiments from Pierre Duroché and Louis-Michel Liger-Belair]. The 2017s do not have the structure of, say, the 2015s. The malolactic finished early and this makes me cautious about the stability of the wine. Since the whites went very quickly, we bottled those before the harvest, and I might also bottle the reds early.”

It is always interesting to compare Domaine Henri Gouges with Domaine Robert Chevillon, whose winery is located just around the corner. Gouges’s wines tend to be earthier and more brittle in texture, at least in the flush of youth. Chevillon’s wines are often sensual and attractive from the start, whereas Gouges’s wines are more mercurial and demand longer bottle age. After frost devastated much of Gouges’s vines in 2016, at least this year there is not just a full complement of wine but a new addition that comes from their Premier Cru “Les Crots.” Gouges opted to bottle the six barrels separately instead of blending it into the Village Cru, and mighty fine it is, too. Since he dislikes the name of the vineyard, he has christened it “Cuvée Fontaine Jacquinots,” which does sound more attractive.”

Neal Martin, Vinous (01/19)