2011 Domaine A. – F. Gros, Vosne-Romanee “Clos de la Fontaine” Monopole, Red Burgundy, France.
Know for high quality, solid performances and exacting purity the Domaine A. F. Gros, which was formed in 1988, and based in Pommard in the Cote de Beaune, crafts small lot Burgundies with grapes sourced from inherited plots in some of the region’s best Crus, including this tiny Clos de la Fontaine Monopole in the Cote de Nuits’ famous village of Vosne-Romanee, it is a stunning rarity and this 2011 was a thrill to taste. This is very elegant and transparent Pinot Noir with an exceptional layering of flavors that includes black cherry, crushed raspberry, mulberry and Moro orange fruits and smoky sweet oak accents that are luxurious, but not aggressively overt, along with tea spices, stony notes and potpourri. The nose, which was slightly shy at first opens to reveal violets and rose floral detail equalizing the red fruits and barrel elements. I’ve had a few of the A. F. Gros wines over the years and have always enjoyed the style and balance in them, I especially remember their Richebourg Grand Cru fondly, I mean who wouldn’t? The current wines are made by Mathias Parent (Gros), who is the 13th generation of Parent to make wine in the Burgundy region and who’s ancestors even sold wine to Thomas Jefferson. Mathias took over from his mother Anne-Françoise Gros, who’s name graces the labels and who was the daughter of the legendary Jean Gros and has continued with domaine’s traditional methods in the cellar, especially trying to promote clarity and expressive fruit in his wines.

The estate vines are farmed mostly to organic practices, within reason or as the French say lutte raisonée, and the grapes are all hand tended with serve selections and small yields to achieve concentration and richness in the wines. Mathias used carefully sorted de-stemmed grapes for each of his red Burgundies, including this special Lieu-Dit offering, with the primary fermentation being done in stainless steel with thermal regulation to keep temps down and with about three weeks of maceration with daily punch downs to extract as much flavor, structure and color. Once the wine is dry, the village level and lieu-dit bottlings are racked to French oak barriques with 40% usually, depending on the depth of the vintage and aged 12 months. The oak treatment delivers an opulence, but, as noted, doesn’t hurt the finished wine, though the Premier and Grand Crus, which see much more new wood take a little longer to integrate as you’d expect, while the village and this one can be enjoyed in their youth. The A. F. Gros label is almost exclusively Pinot Noirs with 10 hectares in top sites, in the whole Cote d’Or, like Flagey-Échezeaux, Vosne-Romanée, Savigny-lès-Beaune, Chambolle-Musigny and Pommard. These are sleek, satiny textured and well detailed Burgundies that are very classic and compelling with pretty personalities, with this Vosne-Romaneee Clos de la Fontaine being a tasty treat indeed and well worth searching out. The 2011 vintage, not known as a great vintage, is full of wonderful surprises and there are some great drinking wines to be had with this one very much impressing me.
($100 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

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