Domaine de la Pousse d'Or Corton Clos du Roi Grand Cru 2004
Domaine de la Pousse d’Or has for decades been the collector’s choice for expressive and memorable wines from Burgundy’s most hallowed terroirs. This historic estate is one of the Burgundian elite, in a similar realm of such exclusive wineries like Romanée-Conti and Comte de Vogüé, with its strict selection and seamless winemaking. The history of Pousse d’Or in Volnay underscores its influence throughout the ages. In 1855, the winery was part of a larger domaine that included such names as Romanée-Conti and Clos de Tart. Originally called La Bousse d’Or (Bousse, in old French, means earth; thus, “golden earth”), the Domaine changed owners a number of times until legend Gérard Potel took the reins. It was Potel that put the estate’s wines on the map, with the elegant, refined style that Pousse d’Or is still known for today. In 1997, Patrick Landanger purchased the winery and its vineyards. In the mid-2000s, Landanger added an impressive collection of Côte de Nuits vineyards (from Domaine Moine-Hudelot) to his portfolio. Pousse d’Or has three premier cru monopoles, or exclusively estate-owned vineyards, in Volnay: ‘Clos de la Bousse d’Or,’ ‘Clos des Soixante (60)-Ouvrées’ and ‘Clos d’Audignac.’ Pousse’s attention to detail and dedication to organic viticulture (the estate is not certified but has followed organic principles for years) is serious. Vineyards are cared for without the use of pesticides or herbicides and are regularly plowed. Grapes are harvested and sorted by hand, and bunches are destemmed and fermented on indigenous yeasts in temperature-controlled tanks. Wines are aged from 15 to 18 months in French oak barrels, with between 30 to 50 percent new wood, depending on the cru. In recent vintages, Landanger has been experimenting with terracotta amphorae for aging some of his premier cru wines. All wines are bottled by gravity and are unfined and unfiltered.
Prevailing over the charming village of Aloxe, the hill of Corton actually commands the entire appellation. Corton is the only Grand Cru for Pinot Noir in the entire Côte de Beaune. Its Grand Crus red wines can be described simply as “Corton” or Corton hyphenated with other names. These vineyards cover the southeast face of the hill of Corton where soils are rich in red chalk, clay and marl.
Dense and austere when young, the best Corton Pinot Noir will peak in complexity and flavor after about a decade, offering some of the best rewards in cellaring among Côte de Beaune reds. Pommard and Volnay offer similar potential.
The great whites of the village are made within Corton-Charlemagne, a cooler, narrow band of vineyards at the top of the hill that descends west towards the village of Pernand-Vergelesses. Here the thin and white stony soils produce Chardonnay of exceptional character, power and finesse. A minimum of five years in bottle is suggested but some can be amazing long after. Fully half of Aloxe-Corton is considered Grand Cru.
Thin-skinned, finicky and temperamental, Pinot Noir is also one of the most rewarding grapes to grow and remains a labor of love for some of the greatest vignerons in Burgundy. Fairly adaptable but highly reflective of the environment in which it is grown, Pinot Noir prefers a cool climate and requires low yields to achieve high quality. Outside of France, outstanding examples come from in Oregon, California and throughout specific locations in wine-producing world. Somm Secret—André Tchelistcheff, California’s most influential post-Prohibition winemaker decidedly stayed away from the grape, claiming “God made Cabernet. The Devil made Pinot Noir.”