Burgundy 2011: Focus on Pommard

Burgundy 2011 Pommard

My experience of Pommard is that it can be heavy on the black fruit, charmless and old-fashioned. It is also – quite bluntly – too expensive and trades on its name.

What a revelation to taste 2011 Pommard…

The clarity and concentration of fruit in the 2011 vintage expressed the iron-rich soil in its sinewy iodine and rosehip character. Gone are the rough tannins, what we saw were lighter and fleshier wines with a delicious savoury, rather than fruity, character. A good example is Pommard 2011 by the small family-run domaine of Pascal Bouley.

Pommard was often mentioned by winemakers in sombre tones; this particular appellation has had a particularly hard time recently. The yields in 2012 are on average down by 70% and very soon it will be a crisis – three small vintages are now beginning to hit hard. Some smaller producers may have excellent vineyards passed down the generations but they still need income and without anything to sell there is the potential for a serious cash flow problem. When will this affect the price?

The problem with small yields for the Burgundy wine lover is that 2011 is an excellent, but small, vintage – there just won’t be a lot of it. As mentioned in the first post, the story of the yields raises some questions and we expect to see very little wine over the next two years with a pressure on older stock. For the 2011 vintage, this is not quite yet a problem. But I do believe that, with their excellent balance of acidity and concentrated fruit, 2011 is a year to enjoy while it lasts.

These are my highlights:

Pommard 2011, Domaine Pascal Bouley

Light red fruit characters with a bit more backbone and a touch of spicy minerality. Good, supple ripe tannins. A depth resulting from 70 year old vines.

Pommard Cuvee Carmen, Domaine Latour-Giraud

Black forest fruit on the nose with a ripe finish of soft strawberries. Lots of structure and will age beautifully.

Juel Mahoney
1st November 2012

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