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Ric arrives at Domaine Henri Gouges

October 30, 2018

Another well-known domaine that, somehow, hasn’t garnered as much universal acclaim as it ought to is Domaine Henri Gouges. Still very much a connoisseur’s domaine, Henri Gouges is considered by those who know as the doyen of Nuits-Saint-Georges. Started by Henri in the 1920s, this domaine is now managed by Henri’s great-grandson Gregory Gouges, a very pleasant, courteous and knowledgeable gentleman who welcomed us warmly at No.7 Rue du Moulin on the cold morning of 26 October 2018. I had met Gregory several times in Hong Kong at dinners, and it was really good finally to be able to step into this beautiful domaine and pay homage.

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Gregory Gouges

The wines of Nuits-Saint-Georges, for various reasons, somehow tend to suffer some sort of inferiority complex. Perhaps it is because there are no grand crus at all in spite of there being 37 premier crus within this sprawling commune. Perhaps it could be that the wines, in general, tend to be more compact with a certain distracting sandy minerality that may be off-putting to some, lacking the lush opulence and charm of the best burgundy. However, the wines of Henri Gouges surpass all that. They are several notches above your usual Nuits-Saint-Georges. Utilising biodynamic methods and vinification by gravity in its modern chai such that the grapes are gently pressed, not crushed. This domaine also pioneered the idea of growing ray grass between rows of vines, primarily to minimise soil erosion but it has the secondary effect as well of forcing the roots of the vines to delve deeper into the earth for nutrients. The reds of Henri Gouges are warm, ripe and beautifully nuanced as a seamless whole. I rate its very difficult-to-obtain Les Saint Georges 1er as grand cru standard and, in fact, Gregory told us that in the old days, Henri did indeed turn down the chance to label Les Saint Georges as grand cru as he did not want to upset his neighbours. Trooping down to its beautiful cellar, the 2017 reds tasted from barrel blew our socks off. Sensing our deep appreciation of his wines, Gregory proceeded to popped several back vintages that further affirmed the greatness of this domaine, culminating in a 1990 Les Saint Georges 1er that was still showing beautifully without any sign of dryness. This domaine is also unique in bottling a deliciously delicate and unique white burgundy from pinot blanc, actually a mutated form of pinot noir that Henri discovered many years ago.  This is really an outstanding address. Thank you very much, Gregory, for your time and generosity for such a memorable visit.

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2017 Domaine Henri Gouges Nuits-Saint-Georges. Good colour. Warm ripe dark plums  and red fruits on the nose, slightly reductive. Fleshy, medium-full. Good concentration and presence with fine acidity and balance. Less of the usual sandy minerality of this particular commune. Very fine.

2005 Domaine Henri Gouges Nuits-Saint-Georges Clos des Porrets 1er monopole. Popped and poured. Good color, exuding elegant red fruits and red roses Highly seamless, rounded and full, showing plenty of charm, superb balance and proportion. Still far from ready. Huge potential. Excellent

2015 Domaine Henri Gouges Nuits-Saint-Georges Clos des Porrets 1er monopole. Popped and poured. Rich perfumed feminine glow, beautifully seductive. Very charming on the medium-full palate as well, saturated with dark currants, rose petals and cherries, structured with supple pliant tannins with very well integrated acidity and subtle minerality. Juicy and delicious. Excellent.

2017 Domaine Henri Gouges Nuits-Saint-Georges Clos des Porrets 1er monopole. Beautiful bouquet of delicious red and dark fruits and currants with warm ripe textures. Lovely with good concentration, great acidity and presence. Very well balanced with finely detailed subtle minerality. Good finish.

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2016 Domaine Henri Gouges Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Pruliers 1er. Great colour. Shy on the nose though the palate is beautifully layered with abundant red fruits and dark roses, displaying superb presence and  great acidity amidst a pliant supple tannin structure. Very lovely.

2017 Domaine Henri Gouges Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Pruliers 1er. Good color. Delicious aromas of red fruits with a faint floral fragrance. Fleshy, excellent in fruit concentration and presence. Rounded with a distinct minerally tone but very well integrated with supple pliant tannins, finishing well.

2017 Domaine Henri Gouges Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Vaucrains 1er. Dark. A little shy though some lovely depth  may be discerned on the nose. The palate is well rounded with warm ripe dark berries and dark plums, very well balanced against subtle minerals, carrying good weight with a very natural unforced feel. Good linearity and finish. Excellent.

20181026_115940.jpg2017 Domaine Henri Gouges Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Saints-Georges 1er. Gentle red fruits and rose petals, exuding a lovely feminine lift. Already open on the palate. Fleshy, highly seamless with great suppleness, displaying very fine inner detail of subtle minerals. Superb integration. Finished with great linearity and gentle persistence amidst a mild dryish sandy tone particular to this commune. Beautiful.

1990 Domaine Henri Gouges Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Saints-Georges 1er. Popped and poured from library stock. This wine exudes a glorious complex weighty bouquet of dark fruits and currants amidst a gentle medicinal glow with a lovely sur maturite. Open, fleshy, cool and rounded on a palate layered with fine concentration, subtle acidity and minerals. Seamlessly structured with lovely fullness, finishing with gentle intensity. Very very lovely. What a treat!

2017 Domaine Henri Gouges Nuits-Saint-Georges Bourgogne. Unique pinot blanc. Open, displaying good freshness and presence of gentle white fruits with subtle acidity. Good seamless integration, finishing with fine intensity. Not the creamy chalkiness of Chardonnay. More focused and transparent.

2017 Domaine Henri Gouges Nuits-Saint-Georges La Perriere 1er. Unique pinot blanc. Lovely perfumed floral fragrance. Very good concentration with greater focus and more depth than its preceding bourgogne, displaying great integration and lovely deep lasting intensity. Excellent and rare on the market.

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