2014 Domaine Henri Gouges, Nuits-Saint-Georges, Red Burgundy, France.
The Gouges family has been growing grapes in Burgundy for more than four hundred years and the current domaine was established in 1920 by the famed Henri Gouges and by 1933 he was producing great wines exclusively under his label and bottling all of their wines instead of selling to large negociants, where the quality of fruit was lost. Henri past the winery on to his sons Marcel and Michel, and it was under their leadership that this famous Nuits-Saint-Georges estate became world class and a worldwide success, making powerful terroir expressive wines with gripping whole cluster intensity that required long cellar times to reveal their brilliance. I have adored these wines since the nineties and have always found them amazingly complex with an inner if not almost hidden beauty, especially their Premier Crus, including the Monopole Clos des Porrets and the classic Les Saint Georges, Vaucrains and Perrières. Now the domaine is run by Gregory and Antoine, who have grown into the challenge with exceptional ease and their latest wines are stunning, like this basic Village NSG shows, they have found an extra dimension and a wonderful degree of elegance that was sometimes missing from their father’s Pinot Noirs, when youthful. In my limited experience, when in doubt, you can always rely on Domaine Henri Gouges for quality and value when in need of a fine Burgundy.
The Nuits-Saint-Georges Rouge comes from 7 small plots, mostly from the southern hillsides set on brown calcareous dirt over the classic limestone and clay soils, with this radiantly red fruited wine coming from the delightfully impressive 2014 vintage, which while known mostly for exceptional whites, it did produce some exciting reds like this one from Gouges. This bottle was brought to a blind tasting, and it was straight from the Domaine by local winemaker Sam Smith of Monterey’s Morgan Winery, who was visiting France a few moths ago and was lucky enough to taste at a few estates in Burgundy, for which I am thankful, as it performed beautifully with exceptional purity of fruit and classic details. Being the basic Village cuvee, it is more open knit in style than the Premier Crus and it shows a joyous array of forward red fruits, delicate floral notes, spice and mineral tones in a textured lighter frame, highlighting the vintage’s personality. With air in the glass this ruby/garnet Pinot Noir gains dimension and complexity adding a bit more intensity on the medium bodied palate with a touch of earth, chalky stones and the flavors become more defined showing black cherry, raspberry, plum and wilted rose petals plus a hint of wood. Everything is poised and elegant with a nice underlying vibrancy, in fact I first guessed it was a Volnay Premier Cru, such was the quality, drink over the next 3 to 5 years, it’s an excellent example from Gouges.
($60 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive