Domaine Michel Arcelain Pommard 'Clos Beaudier' 2010
The Arcelain Pommard 'Clos Beaudier' is a tiny production, a single-vineyard cuvee that Michel always sets apart from his other Pommards, almost as if it were a premier cru (and I think he sees it that way!). The greatest fault in the 2010s is that they are so charming so early; they risk being drunk up before they really have a chance to show what all the fuss is about. Translucent ruby, earthy bright, pure and powerful, with elegant notes of orange and spice, and complex length. This is a wine to buy by the case: drink a bottle a year over the next 12 years and watch a real Burgundy unfold.
Michel and Mado Arcelain have been working their domain in Pommard together since they were married in 1963. The domain is made up of parcels of vines inherited from both sides of the family and over a number of generations, as well as vineyards purchased by them over the years. These vineyards (with the exception of a small parcel planted in Chardonnay) are all Pinot Noir of the highest quality, known as Pinot Fin. The selection of quality vines was primordial for the domain, and they have been cultivated like a garden since 1949.
BURGUNDY 2010 VINTAGE
Burgundy 2010 is a small harvest, even smaller than expected. Uneven flowering and a subsequent cold snap in early summer meant that all but the best-exposed vineyards gave greatly diminished yields. The exceptions are…exceptional. Michel Arcelain in Pommard (who completed his 64th harvest that year!) told us that while his village Beaune ‘Siserpe’ was down a third in quantity, his Beaune 1er Cru ‘Clos des Mouches’ gave him the same as last year. It’s the exposition, he says. And that, in short, is what makes it a premier cru.
A hot and cold summer combined with (in the Côtes) too much moisture brought the threat of rot, and meant that the growers had to be particularly vigilant with their treatments, and then again at the sorting tables. Meaning even less crop. Most unusual of all, the harvest did not come to maturity by color. Usually it's red and then white. In 2010 growers alternated harvesting between Pinot and Chardonnay as the parcels reached maturity. Some even sent their pickers home for a few days in mid-harvest.
But the good producers did not complain (much), because the quality is there. With good natural sugar levels, and remarkably tame acidity, the wines were promising right from the outset. Both Pinot Noir and Chardonnay like to come to maturity slowly, and 2010 gave them this opportunity. So if the phyto-sanitary side was seen to (which is what it means to be one of the good producers), we are looking at rich bright voluminous wines, both red and white, and from south to north.Chardonnay
2010 is a year for whites. From the north to the south of Burgundy, the whites show the whole range of expression of Chardonnay. These are balanced wines with freshness and purity, and refined minerality. This is a Chardonnay as the Burgundians like it. The Chablis are superb!
Delicious reds in a classic style, with excellent balance between fruit, acidity and tannins.
Compared to 2009, the 2010s are less rich but more precise. Compared to 2008, they are richer and more balanced. Precision and purity, character and depth; and above all elegance. Many producers have told us that they prefer their 2010s to their 2009s. Again, 2010 is Burgundy as the Burgundians like it.
COTE DE BEAUNE
Pommard lies between Beaune and Volnay where the Côte de Beaune makes a slight turn towards the Morvan. After Beaune, it is one of the larger vineyards. There are no grands crus, though there is a perennial debate about which of the best vineyards should be promoted. As in many of the best wine villages, the appellation is split by a combe with the village lying in the mouth of the valley. So here in Pommard, we speak of the north (Beaune) side vineyards and the south (Volnay) side vineyards. And that goes someway to explaining Pommard styles. But Pommard has a quirk: its best vineyards are not necessarily all situated on slopes. In fact many are in the flatland north of the village.
Produced only in the commune of Pommard, appellation Pommard includes 28 premiers crus.
Pommard has a reputation, forged in the 19th century, of being a massive beast of a wine. But look where it sits, between the south of Beaune and Volnay. Time, terroir and oenology have combined to show us a much more subtle Pommard, a wine that is richer and at the same time more elegant than its caricature. It can be deeply colored, and its berry fruit can be supported by cherry pit and plum. And yes it can develop wild aromas and chocolaty textures, but it will never be a tannic giant, but rather a full and gutsy, mouthwateringly rich, fruit-filled nugget.
On the lower slopes and flat ground, the soil is ancient alluvium. Mid-slope, the clay-limestone soils are well drained thanks to the inclusion of rock debris. Higher still are jurassic oxfordian marls, brown calcic soils, and brown limestone soils. In places, the soil is red with iron. Exposures are south or east, and altitudes range between 250 to 330 meters.
Red wines only - Pinot Noir
Production surface area
1 hectare (ha) = 2.4 acres
321.69 ha (including 122.31 ha Premier Cru)
Pommard's density is perhaps its most important feature when combining with food. Most will tell you that because it is so massive, it should be served with game. And is some cases this is correct. But you will find that braised and stewed meat and poultry work well, and the finesse of the wine can accent the rusticity of a simple stew. It is a natural partner for flavorful cheeses Époisses, Langres and Soumaintrain, but also Comté.
On the label, the appellations 'Pommard' and 'Pommard 1er Cru' may be followed by the name of a specific vineyard, known as a climat.The following climats are classified as premier cru:
Clos de la Commaraine
Clos de Verger
Clos des Epeneaux
Le Clos Micot
Les Combes Dessus
Les Croix Noires
Les Grands Epenots
Les Petits Epenots
Les Rugiens Bas
Les Rugiens Hauts
The following climats are village wines from a single vineyard, know as a lieu-dit:
La Croix Blanche
La Croix PlanetLa Levrière
La Plante aux Chèvres
Le Bas des Saussilles
Les Combes Dessous
Les Petits Noizons
Rue au Porc