Wednesday, December 9, 2015
Domaine A.-F. Gros in Beaune: Cellar Tour and Wine Tasting with Owner and Winemaker Mathias Parent – Bourgogne Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015), France
We started the day with a tour of the Hospices de Beaune, had lunch in Beaune, and visited 2 wine producers, including tastings, in the afternoon: Joseph Drouhin and A.-F. Gros.
I already reported about the whole trip here: Bourgogne Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015), France
and the visit of the Hospices de Beaune here: Visit: Hospices de Beaune with Karoline Knoth – Bourgogne Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015)
This posting focuses on the visit of Domaine A.-F. Gros. There, we tasted wines Domaine A.-F. Gros as well as François Parent wines.
Mathias Gros was our host.
Domaine A.-F. Gros
The Gros dynasty began in 1830 when Alphonse Gros married Madame Latour, settling in Vosne-Romanée in what is now the home of Jean Gros. It was he who encouraged mechanization and new viticultural techniques such as high vine training, long before they became standard practice.
The Domaine A.-F. Gros was created in 1996 when Jean and Jeanine Gros retired and divided their Domaine Gros-Renaudot among their 3 children, Michel, Bernard and Anne-Françoise. 3 new domains arose out of Jean and Jeanine Gros’ retirement: Domaine Michel Gros in Vosne Romanée, Domaine Gros Frère & Soeur directed by Bernard in Vosne Romanée, and Domaine A.-F. Gros in Pommard. In Vosne, there is also a domaine of cousin Anne Gros. So in total, there are 4 Gros domaines, all of them independent from each other.
Anne-Françoise married François Parent, who also brought a domaine into the marriage. Thus, today the domaine consists of Anne-Françoise’s share of Domaine Jean Gros, additional wines in and around Vosne-Romanée which she has bought or leased, and her husband’s share of Domaine Parent. Additionally, François Parent offers wines (negociant wines) under his own label, adorned with a black truffle. Anne-Françoise’s labels sport the outline of a female head.
Note that François Parent’s family domaine is Domaine Parent, right in the center of the village opposite the church. In 1998, Anne and Catherine Parent took charge of the domaine, which excludes François Parent’s part and which is now part of the A.-F. Gros domaine operation.
Anne-Françoise Gros-Parent and François make wine from a staggering array of Burgundy’s best appellations, including Richebourg, Echezeaux, Vosne-Romanée, Chambolle-Musigny, Morey-St. Denis, Volnay, Pommard, Beaune and Savigny-lès-Beaune. François Parent, who is in charge of all the wines, is renowned for his wines of elegance and distinction, which are the perfect expression of French Pinot Noir. Leaning towards a bio-dynamic approach, his traditional methods of cultivating the land and tending the vines are intimately adapted to the different micro-climates, soils, and expositions of the vineyards. Natural yeast are used, with little destemming, and the wines are lightly filtered
Anne-Françoise and François live in Pommard but the winery is in Beaune.
The Next Generation: Caroline, Rosalie and Mathias
Anne-Françoise and François have three children: Caroline, Rosalie and Mathias.
Rosalie has nothing to do with wine, while Caroline (in her mid-30s, she has 2 children) and Mathias (in his early 20s) work side by side with their parents and are slated to eventually take over. Caroline focuses on the sales side (with her mother), while Mathias on the winemaking (with his father).
Caroline has recently launched her own negociant venture and produces wines from a variety of vineyards located in both Cote de Beaune and Cote de Nuits. Part of her own venture is Pinot Angels, co-founded with Chef Hubert Keller in 2012. Hubert Keller is the owner of Fleur de Lys in San Francisco and Las Vegas. Hubert is an Alsace-born chef and a passionate Harley rider.
After a cellar tour, Mathias Gros poured the following wines for us.
2012 Domaine A.-F. Gros Chambolle Musigny
Burghound.com: A moderately toasty nose of otherwise pure red pinot fruit and discreet spice nuances leads to seductively textured and lighly mineral-injected flavors that exude a very fine minerality on to the attractively complex and lingering finish. There isn’t quite the vibrance of the best here though this is by no means over ripe and thus my range offers the benefit of the doubt that this is simply fatigued rather than lacking in acidity.
2010 Domaine A.-F. Gros Vosne Romanee Maiziere
David Allen, MW: Delicious and ethereal from the outset with fine aromas, fresh acidity, balanced alcohol, lovely depth and superb balance.
2012 Domaine A.-F. Gros Savigny Les Beaune 1er Cru Clos des Guettes
Robert Parker: The 2012 Savigny-les-Beaune 1er Cru Clos des Guettes is the same age as Mathias, 23-years old and were planted with selection massale that has a proclivity to produce small grapes. This was a monopole up until 1995, when a majority of the vineyard was sold to Louis Jadot and a small part Domaine Dubois. It has a very attractive bouquet with fine delineation: dark cherries, minerals and faint marine influences coming through. The palate is finely balanced with light but tensile tannins. There is a pleasant citric note here with a tightly wound, linear, clean and fresh finish. Very fine.
2011 Domaine A.-F. Gros Pommard 1er Cru Les Pezerolles
Jancis Robinson: Dry, quite firm – very Pommard, then! It is gratifying when appellations are true to type.
2011 Francois Parent Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru Les Morgeot
Burghound.com: There is a vaguely exotic character to the dried white and yellow orchard fruit aromas that continues on to the attractively rich and ever-so-slightly sweet full-bodied flavors that possess plenty of mid-palate concentration. The sweetness however is nicely buffered by the citrusy finish that delivers good length though it lacks a bit of precision. In sum, this generous effort should drink well almost immediately.
2011 Francois Parent Corton Charlemagne Grand Cru
Hachette: Les lecteurs du Guide n'ont guère eu l'occasion de découvrir le travail de François Parent sur le chardonnay. Le grand cru élu coup de cœur dans la dernière édition devait tout au pinot noir : un clos-de-vougeot. Un double statut de vigneron et de négociant permet à la maison d'élargir sa gamme. Voilà donc un corton-charlemagne, confidentiel toutefois. Or limpide aux reflets verts, ce 2011 est dominé par un boisé beurré évoquant presque le caramel, qui laisse percer une touche florale et confite. Le palais ne laisse pas non plus oublier un séjour de seize mois en fût. Il dévoile une sensation de gras et de tendre suavité équilibrée par une fine acidité. On laissera le boisé s'estomper deux ans en cave, avant de servir ce vin avec un soufflé de langouste.
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