Some older vintages of Domaine Comte Armand, Pommard, Clos des Epeneaux

I tasted with Paul Zinetti in spring 2017. This tasting was first published in The Burgundy Briefing Vintage Report 2016.

This continues (backwards) the tasting of Clos des Epeneaux, which can be found in an earlier tastings page . These wines were made prior to his time as winemaker here. Benjamin Leroux took over the management of the vineyards and winemaking at Domaine Comte Armand in 1999. Prior to this it was Pascal Marchand.

I have recorded Paul’s opinions.

He comments, “I think Pascal made what was fashionable in the 80 and 90, the wines with big extraction and structure and I think Pascal was 23 or 24. He made a lot of extraction with pigeage. The technology was different then. Now you can do intracellular fermentation, but then not. 80s and 90s you necessary to make big strong wines. When Benjamin started in 1999 he has a different feeling. It was a different process and the taste has changed a lot. But you must remember the technology was different then. Now we can control the fermentation of each tank. Pascal increased the quality level of the estate. Pascal changed things and also increased the land holding, was just the Clos then and also he started organic farming on the estate. He really re-built the estate. His wines were maybe difficult at the beginning, but now with 20 years. Clos des Epeneaux it is easy to make a big strong wine and so we have to be careful with extraction. It is a great vineyard for the energy in the vineyard.”

“The high lights are 97 and 96 is my 3 star wine. After this 99 and 2000. The following 98 and the 95,” says Paul.

Tasting Notes 

Pommard, Clos des Epeneaux 1997
Paling now. Big aroma. Rich and heady. Very expressive. This has black chocolate, prunes and spice. Touch of liquorish. Very ripe aroma showing the heat of the summer. Wonderful aroma. The strike is rounded, rich and ripe. Very juicy and generous up front. A big wine. The tannins are a touch rugged, but it is the tannins which are supporting the palate. They are giving a tannic bite to the wine, which gives it freshness onto the finish. A good sappy freshness. This is better than expected. It is not refined. I am surprised by the burst of energy. It fades on the finish, but is very appealing. Not as long as the 99, but longer than the 98. Score 18.25. This has time.

Paul: “It is delicate and fine and the nose is wonderful and the mouth is fresh and elegant and it is amazing. Less extraction than the others of course. It is long and nice and the structure is integrated a big surprise”

*Pommard, Clos des Epeneaux 1996
Browning colour, orange hue. This has a much more tertiary aroma than the 97. It is very spicy. White pepper, red peppercorns and fresh toast. Sweet mown hay. Gorgeous aroma. Generous and rich on the front. A full palate. Surprisingly full. soft, smooth tannins. Texture is soft and smooth. I love the tannins they are almost chocolate, but what’s marked about this wine is the acidity, cuts in a fresh line though the flesh of the palate..and there is plenty of concentration here. The acidity gives the palate plenty of vigour and it drives through onto the finish. Score 18.75

Paul: “It is always very nice. The ageing is not finished, although it is very good now. Wonderful intensity on the nose with cherry notes. It is a very nice style of Pinot, I love warm vintage, but may prefer vintages with less extraction with fine aromas..and the balance is so important and so good here. Velvet texture. I like the good reduction in the nose. I think in the 90s and the 80 they didn’t have any whole bunch.”

Pommard, Clos des Epeneaux 1995
Orange hue. Scented and sweet and ripe, just a touch musty maybe. I do not like this so much. It is sweet on the strike, but does not have the freshness of the 1996. I don’t find it has pure. There is modest concentration and if I am critical it is a bit dry onto the finish. Soft acidity and the tannins are a touch coarse. I think you should drink this wine. There are some nice aromatics in the middle. Maybe you should leave this wine and come back in a year or two. Score 16

“Less wine in 1995 and less ripe than the 96, more green tannins. But I love the spicy and the spicy note at the end. Very energetic. Lesser quality than the 96 and 97,” says Paul.

Pommard, Clos des Epeneaux 1980
This was Mr Boillot. Marcel Rossignol and before this Jospeh Boillet in the 30s. Orange hue. Butter-mint and caramel on the nose, slightly confected note. This is sweet, rounded, silky and elegant. There is an almost caramel, sweet fruit..I wonder if they added acidity in this vintage. There is a sweet and salty note at then end of the palate. It has a surprisingly smooth texture. Not lacking in concentration either. It is elegant…on a plateau. It is a good surprise. Score 16

“The nose and the mouth there is a correlation – caramel and sweetness.”


UK: Berry Bros; Goedhuis; Lay & Wheeler; Lea & Sandeman; Morris & Verdin; Thorman Hunt & Co.
USA: Selection Becky Wasserman, Le Serbet, Beaune, France