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Domaine des Epeneaux (also known as Domaine Comte Armand) acquired its name from the vineyard Clos Des Epeneaux, a Premier Cru Monopole vineyard in Pommard. Since 1850, the estate has been a one vineyard domaine until 1994, where a few vineyards added into their portfolio. The current Comte Armand owner is Vicomte Gabriel Armand, a lawyer in Paris

Domaine des Epeneaux is known for their monopole vineyard, Clos Des Epeneaux. It is one of the most highly prized Premier Cru vineyards in Pommard situated within Les Grands Epenots and Les Petits Epenots. This 5.3 ha vineyard is located within Les Grands Epenots, planted 100% Pinot Noir. It is one of the largest monopole vineyards in Burgundy.

Since 1994, Domaine des Epeneaux acquired more vineyards around Cote de Beaune, Volnay and Auxey-Duresses.

Winemakers at Domaine Comte Armand

Pascal Marchand (1985-1999) – A Quebecer who came to Burgundy in 1983 for a summer harvest and never left since. Pascal Marchand studied enology in Beaune and was appointed the winemaker of Domaine Comte Armand in 1985. It was Marchand who converted the Domaine to organic viticulture and built the reputation the Domaine now has. Marchand also

Benjamin Leroux (1999- 2014) – Benjamin was 23 years of age when he was put in charge of Domaine Comte Armand in 1999, prior to that he also had some experience working at Comte Armand as well as Domaine Drouhin in Oregon, Cos d’Estournel, Giesen, and Louis Jadot. Benjamin Leroux vinifies the cuvees separately according to the geology and not by vine age. Bourgogne Aujourd’hui named Benjamin Leroux No.1 of the Top 10 winemakers for the next decade.

Paul Zinetti (2014 onwards) – Paul worked under Benjamin Leroux for four years before succeeding him. I have yet to taste wines made by him.

Winemaking style

The winemaking style at Domaine Comte Armand has changed over the past few decades along with the winemakers. In the most general sense, the wines are dense and structured when Pascal Marchand was in charge. Then the wines gained more finesse and purity after Benjamin Leroux took over. Wines are 100% destemmed but not crushed. Long maceration with around 30% new oak.

Tasting Notes

Pommard 1er Cru Clos Des Epeneaux 1993

Unfortunately the 1993 Comte Armand Pommard Clos des Epeneaux was oxidised. Tasted blind in the vertical and thought it was from the 50s or 60s. Fully matured with drying fruits and leathery edges. Getting tired and meat starting to turn sour. Good phenolic ripeness so most likely from a good vintage. 1959? (Not Rated)

Pommard 1er Cru Clos Des Epeneaux 1995

Tasted blind in vertical – Dark shade of fruits with considerable amount of fine-grained tannins and new oak structure. Big-boned with great density, the firmness of tannins reminds me of 1999. Got more Nuits Saint Georges characteristics in the 1995 than the 2001. However nowhere as charming or as elegant as the 01. Nuits Saint Georges 1er Cru 1999? (87/100)

Pommard 1er Cru Clos Des Epeneaux 1998

Even at close to 20 years of age, it is still structured and austere. 100% destemmed. A dark and concentrated Pommard. Maturing with cloudy floral and herbal tones, dark cherry, deep spices, and intense dark currant. Solid Pommard structure, with dry finish. The tannins are still obstructive, will it ever come around? (88/100)

Pommard 1er Cru Clos Des Epeneaux 2001

Tasted blind – Hints of age from its dark berry, maturing musky cherry, mild volatile acidity. Resolved tannins and smooth edges, either 2001 or 2000. Rustic winemaking style. 1er Cru weight. Morey Saint Denis 1er Cru 2000? (89/100)

Pommard 1er Cru Clos Des Epeneaux 2002

The 2002 Clos des Epeneaux was made by Benjamin Leroux. 2002 was a great vintage in Burgundy, it yielded plenty of great Pinot Noir and Chardonnay (though beware of premox in 2002). However, the 2002 Clos des Epeneaux was made in an extracted way and didn’t show much Burgundian character (ironically the Italian Le Pergole Torte 99 was more “Burgundian” than this!). Rich dark berry fruits with drying tannins. Full bodied and jammy fruits (another irony..), austere earthy backbone. (87/100)

Pommard 1er Cru Clos Des Epeneaux 2006

The 2006 Comte Armand Pommard Clos des Epeneaux was voted for wine of the flight in blind. Tasted blind – Lovely array of blueberry, charming vanilla spices and wood toast. Grand Cru weight with tannic backbone that resembles Nuits Saint Georges. Though the roasted herbs and grainy tannins brings me back to Morey Saint Denis. Maturing with a dry finish. Arguably the most ‘modern’ (i.e. least rustic style) of the flight. Morey Saint Denis Grand Cru 1996? (90/100)

Pommard 1er Cru Clos Des Epeneaux 2009

The 2009 Clos Des Epeneaux offers an upfront ripe dark cherry and baking spices. Powerful yet refined enough to steer away from the usual Pommards, which are generally blunt and forceful on tannins. Lifted bouquet of concentrated berries, fresh violets and cassis. Full bodied, sappy and some heat showing on the mid-palate. No doubt this will age for half a century or more! (90/100)

Pommard 1er Cru Clos Des Epeneaux 2010

The 2010 Clos Des Epeneaux is brilliantly fetching and refined, this could be the best vintage Benjamin Leroux has ever made at Domaine Comte Armand. A combination of cool and rich dark fruits, elegant cherry, zesty spice, and a lovely bouquet. There is a surprising amount of depth and pure intensity that is equal to many Grand Crus from Cote de Nuits. 40% new oak and 100% destemmed. Great energy and highly charged fruits. This needs a lot more ageing before approachable. (91-92/100)

Pommard 1er Cru Clos Des Epeneaux 2012

In 2012, only 4,000 magnums were produced. In a normal vintage, they produce around 20,000 bottles. The 2012 Clos Des Epeneaux offers an in-depth array of dark fruits, wild berries, and exotic wood spices. Quite a muscular body with grippy tannins and good acidity. A well-made wine that is tight at this stage, it needs at least a few more years before approachable. (89-90/100)

Pommard 1er Cru Clos Des Epeneaux 2013

The 2013 Clos des Epeneaux is not the usual blockbuster Clos des Epeneaux, it is a clean, fruit forward wine with good purity. Fresh strawberry, red berries, gentle wood toast and spices, and hints of pepper. Airy minerals and sleek fruits, the wine is delicate yet with a moderate tannic structure. It will require a few years for the structure to integrate with the fruits. (87-88/100)

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