2008 Domaine Henri Gouges Nuits-St-Georges 1er Cru "Les Vaucrains" (Pre-Arrival)

SKU #1390187 93 points John Gilman

 The combination of very little juice in the berries and severe selection has brought the yields down in the Vaucrains to eighteen hectoliters per hectare, so there is not going to be a whole lot of this stunning Nuits in the marketplace. Make sure to make your reservations early. The wine was also late to finish up its malo and was showing a touch reduced, but this is clearly a stellar wine in the making. The bouquet is a deep, complex and reserved blend of black cherries, blood orange, great minerality, woodsmoke, gamebirds and coffee. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and very pure and soil-driven, with great focus, very refined (albeit substantial) tannins and great length and grip on the tangy finish. This will be a superb bottle, but it will need all of ten years to really come into its own. (Drink between 2018-2060)  (12/2009)

92 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Good bright red. Complex, highly aromatic nose offers redcurrant, tobacco, game, iron, leather and peppery herbs. Sweeter in the middle and more powerful than the Pruliers but with lively spiciness and peppery lift. Finishes ripe and long. A lovely wine, seemingly less austere than the 2009 version. (ST)  (3/2011)

91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Raw red meat and tart cherry in the nose of Gouges’s 2008 Nuits-St.-Georges Les Vaucrains are accented with sage, white pepper, and salinity, all of which combine in the mouth for a pungency, vivacious, saliva-inducing, and deeply-concentrated impression. Here are both the meat and the meat-tenderizing acids, herbs, and brine in one, handy glass! This displays a surprisingly caressing, silken texture to compliment its brightness, and finishes with vibratory intensity as well as invigoration and refreshment such as one doesn’t expect from its genre. The strongly mineral and carnal elements as well as the slightly acerbic personality will excite some of us more than they will others. I think this will prove delightfully and intriguingly versatile over the next 12-15 years. (DS)  (6/2010)

90 points Allen Meadows - Burghound

 Gouges noted that they harvested only 18 hl/ha in 2008. Herb-infused ripe red berry fruit aromas are nuanced by hints of earth and underbrush, both of which can be found on the rich, full and very serious flavors that are tautly muscular and possess real tension on the mouth coating, concentrated and impressively persistent and linear finish. This is not a big Vaucrains by the usual standards of this wine but it's focused and powerful.  (1/2011)

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Price: $159.99
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Pinot Noir

- One of France's most legendary grapes and the grape that earned Burgundy its reputation. The parent of varietals like Pinot Gris/Grigio and Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir is blue to violet to indigo in color with relatively thin skins, and it is said to have been cultivated in France for more than 2,000 years. At its best, Pinot Noir creates elegant wines that are filled with primary red fruit aromas and flavors while young, revealing with an array of secondary characteristics like earth, smoke, violet, truffle and game with age. The varietal is also known, perhaps better than any, for its ability to translate terroir, or a sense of place. While the best Pinot Noir still comes from Burgundy, it is being produced with increasing success in cooler climates around the world. In France, it is part of the trifecta of grapes that can go into Champagne, and it is also grown in Alsace, Irancy, Jura, Savoie, Lorraine and Sancerre. Outside of France it is produced under the names Pinot Nero and Blauburgunder in Italy's mountainous regions, as Spätburgunder in Germany and as Blauburgunder in Austria. In the US, Pinot Noir has found suitable growing conditions in the cooler parts of California, including Carneros, the Russian River Valley, the Anderson Valley, the Sonoma Coast, Monterey County, the Santa Lucia Highlands and Santa Barbara County, as well as in Oregon's Willamette Valley. In recent years, New Zealand has demonstrated its ability to interpret this hard-to-grow varietal, with successful bottlings coming from careful and attentive growers in Central Otago, Martinborough and Canterbury. Chile is also an up-and-coming region for Pinot Noir, creating fresh, fruit-forward, early-drinking and affordable Pinots from the coastal Casablanca Valley and the Limari Valley.


- When it comes to wine, France stands alone. No other country can beat it in terms of quality and diversity. And while many of its Region, Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne most obviously, produce wine as rare, as sought-after and nearly as expensive as gold, there are just as many obscurities and values to be had from little known appellations throughout the country. To learn everything there is to know about French wine would take a lifetime. To understand and appreciate French wine, one only has to begin tasting them.


- The province of eastern France, famous for its red wines produced from Pinot Noir and its whites produced from Chardonnay. (Small of amounts of Gamay and Aligoté are still grown, although these have to be labeled differently.) The most famous part of the region is known as the Côte d'Or (the Golden Slope). It is divided into the Côte de Beaune, south of the town of Beaune (famous principally for its whites), and the Côte de Nuits, North of Beaune (home of the most famous reds). In addition, the Côte Chalonnaise and the Mâconnais are important wine growing regions, although historically a clear level (or more) below the Côte d'Or. Also include by some are the regions of Chablis and Auxerrois, farther north.
Specific Appellation:

Nuits Saint Georges

- A long, narrow appellation, and the southernmost commune of importance in the Côtes de Nuits. Nuits St. Georges tend to be sturdy, muscular wines, which are tannic in their youth. There are no Grands Cru in the town, but several Premier Cru vineyards. The wines from the north side of the village, towards Vosne-Romanée are distinctly different in character than those from the southern vineyards. The vineyards traditionally among the best are in the South, including Cailles, Vaucrains, St. Georges, and Argillières. These vineyards are on deep brown limestone. The northern vineyards, on the other side of the river Meuzin, have more in common with those of Vosne Romanée. The vineyards are composed of pebbles and limestone, and the wines have more of the finesse and elegance of Vosne, but with the structure of Nuits St. Georges.