Potinet-Ampeau Pommard 1er Cru 'Les Pezerolles' 2009
The Pommard 1er Cru 'Les Pezerolles' vineyard sits on the Beaune side of Pommard facing east, just above the walled in vineyards of 'Les Epenots'. The soil make up has enough clay in it to give a consistently powerful wine, year in, year out. 'Pezerolles' is considered one of the great Pommards; rich, round, gutsy, with deep color, intense fruit and good tannis. It is particularly apt for aging in the Potinet-Ampeau style.
Our earliest tastings of the 2009s were either of raw bubbling juice or, a bit later, from barrel samples that still had lots of gas in them. It's a rare vintage where winemakers will let you taste wines right after the alcoholic fermentation has finished. Wines at that stage tend to be all over the place, and only tolerant palates can cut through the mire. Last Fall however the winemakers were shoving a glass into your hand and leading a conga line through the cellars. Comparisons are being made to 2005, 1999 and even 1990, all great years; and all years where the wines were accessible right from the outset.
Vincent Rapet at Rapet Pere et Fils explained it best. All of these vintages (including the 2009) were reasonably hot growing seasons. Not so hot as to cook out acidity altogether; but hot enough that the plants started to absorb their fruit's acids. The acidity that goes first, the first to be absorbed, is malic acid. That’s the acid that usually gets transformed into lactic acid in the second, malo-lactic, fermentation. So if there’s not a lot of malic acid in the first place, the difference between the wine before and after malo is diminished, and sometimes hardly discernible. These wines are therefore charming, seemingly finished, right off the mark. What's crucial to a great vintage (in terms of balance, structure and longevity) is tartaric acid. And in 2009 (as in these other great vintages) we’re at just about ideal levels of tartaric. So as these wines were released in the bottle, we started drinking them young and lustily. Structure is not the word! Both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from north to south sing with bright precise fruit.
In the whites, Chablis is honeysuckle and river rock. The whites from around the Corton mountain are suave, smoky and nutty. Further south, whites from the 'golden triangle' (Puligny, Chassagne and Meursault) are cut and distinct, and have classic balance; ideal for laying down, but juicy and charming in their youth.
The Pinots are mostly a beautiful deep, brilliant ruby. Impressive aromas of ripe red and black fruits are highlighted with spice. Complexity and depth are obvious even in youth. Good balance, round, silky tannins and rich finish.
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 LambotsLes Noizons
Les Petits Noizons
Rue au Porc