Domaine Michel Arcelain Pommard 'Noizons' 2006
Intense aromas of blackberry, black currant, cherries and licorice. A fist in a velvet glove, fine but dense; more structured than you sense at first. Warm and round and long.
BURGUNDY 2006If wine is the bottled essence of a year, let’s uncork 2006. Winter was glacial, and the winemakers couldn’t have been happier. These were, in fact, the only ‘ideal’ conditions 2006 was to offer. ‘Ideally’, Nature should then re-awaken gradually in March and April, the plant ‘weeping’ as the sap gushes to cauterize pruning wounds, forcing the buds to swell. What we got instead was dismal cold and soggy wet on through to the end of May. Vegetation stagnated, and you could fairly smell the mildew in the air. June in turn was beautiful. Hot, dry conditions saw the retarded vines burst into flower practically overnight. The vineyards exploded with green growth that galloped along as the producers struggled to keep control. July hit and was torrid, a heat wave worthy of 2003. As the grape skins thickened, the growers talked warily of another late-August harvest. How wrong they were. August waned autumnal and deteriorated. Cold and rain halted the vine’s progress yet again. The risk of rot was back (it’s never a good sign to be picking mushrooms in August), and as the bad weather dragged on, a gloomy resignation settled in. Burgundy was not a happy place when the sun returned with September. Resignation turned to panic when the heat turned August’s rain to sweltering humidity. The vines took off again, this time hurtling towards maturity at an astonishing rate, those thick skins near bursting, and grey rot not far behind. The growers walked a razor’s edge as the difference between ripeness and over-maturity often came down to hours, not days. When the crop was ready, it was ready; not the day before, not the day after. Golden grapes turned brown seemingly overnight. Picking teams worked furiously to get the harvest in before sugar levels went through the roof. It was ‘do or die’. And then it was over. Nature had served up a riotous 2006 vintage.
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