(I tasted two components, the first from compact bedrock and the second from fractured rock, mostly at the top of the holding, then an approximation of the final blend; there is no longer a young-vines cuvee and no more Pommard 1er Cru bottling as the youngest vines here are now 27 years old; 12 hectoliters per hectare, or one-third of a normal crop): Bright, full red. Sexy, complex nose melds raspberry, redcurrant, iron and a soupcon of chocolate. Hugely rich and mouthfilling, with red fruit flavors complicated by wild herbs and salty minerality and nicely framed by harmonious acidity. In a very ripe style but with plenty of serious tannins for support. Finishes with extraordinary palate-coating solidity. Leroux told me this wine would be bottled in magnums--|and larger.|
Author: Stephen Tanzer
Issue: January/February 2014
Now for the main attraction that dominates Domaine Comte Armand: the 2012 Pommard 1er Cru Clos des Epeneaux. There is no second wine (usually labelled village or premier cru) from this monopole this year and due to diminished quantities the final blend welcomed its younger vines that in any case have now reached a respectable 25 year of age. I tasted two cuvees according to geological profile: the lower reaches of fragmented rock high in iron oxide that tend to give tannic wines and the higher reaches of shallower soil and a proliferation of smaller cracks that tends to give more mineral-driven, elegant wine. The first cuvee from ferrous soils has a very refined bouquet with crystalline dark cherry and cassis fruit that come loaded with minerals, yet it is not a powerful bouquet, rather one that creeps up on you by stealth - seduction by the back door. The palate has a chalky, assertive, grippy entry with splendid weight and breadth. It does not fan out towards the finish like the 2009 or 2010, but stays very linear and focused, leaving a residue of minerals in its wake. You can sense the power, but Benjamin has this cuvee on a tight leash. The second, from fragmented rock, has a slightly more open nose and red fruit. It is sweeter and more feminine with a lithe finish. The blend of the two is very harmonious, the light blend tempering the more boisterous cuvee from the upper reaches, the elegance enhanced by the combination of the two. This will be fascinating once bottled. Readers should note that for the first time, the Clos des Epeneaux will be bottled in magnums only.