About the wine
The plot of 4.89 hectares of land is located north of Pommard, at the start of the slope and is east facing. The soil, which is rich in clay and limestone, is brown and strewn with limestone rocks. The depth of the soil is around 40-60cm and its structure acts as a natural filter.
The vines are 60 years old and produce wines with aromas of red berries and also ripe white fruits such as peaches or apricots. The fine tannins are numerous and blend in nicely with the smoothness and the aromas.
About the producer
Domaine Confuron-Cotétidot was created in 1964 with the marriage of legendary winemaker Jean-Jacques “Jacky” Confuron to Bernadette Cotétidot. Jacky has since relinquished day-to-day operation of the domaine to his two sons, Yves and Jean-Pierre. With old vines spread over four villages in the Côte de Nuits, the domaine claims a very impressive array of village, Premier and Grand Cru sites.
In general, the goal is to rely on their low-yielding, late picked old vines (average 65-70 years) in order to capture each vineyard’s true character, preferring a minimalist approach in the cellar so as to achieve optimum expression. While the style here is “traditional”, it is also ample and rich with plenty of vibrant fruit from whole bunch fermentation. The wines age brilliantly.
Harvest here is always late in order to ensure the grapes are truly ripe. A long cuvaison (2-3 weeks) followed by barrel ageing for almost two years prior to bottling without fining and filtration. New oak is kept to a minimum with only minimal sulphur additions. Unusual for Burgundy, Confuron-Cotétidot’s vines have never been treated with herbicides or pesticides.
In charge of Domaine de Courcel during the mornings, Yves Confuron returns to look after the 11ha family domaine for the rest of the day, helped by his brother Jean-Pierre who also vinifies wines for Domaine Chanson. This is one of the most serious and consistent domaines in the Côte d’Or and even the village wines are superb! However, it is the Premier Cru ‘Suchots’ that is many followers’ favourite.
Robert Parker Wine Advocate (robertparker.com):The 2016 Pommard 1er Cru Grand Clos des Épenots offers up aromas of blackcurrant cordial, blood orange, dark chocolate and spices, followed by a full-bodied, broad-shouldered palate built around an ample chassis of richly extracted powdery stem tannin, concentrated fruit and tangy acids, concluding with a long, mordant finish. The wine's aromas, flavors and structure are all quite stylized, marked by Yves Confuron's preference for extended cold macerations, stem retention and long fermentations, but in that style, it is an undeniable success—albeit one that only the most patient of readers will ever encounter at maturity. (William Kelley) Points: 92+ Issue Date: 30/04/2019
Burghound (burghound.com):This is the first wine to display any reduction along with a bit more wood influence. Otherwise the refined yet overtly powerful flavors once again possess so much dry extract that they come across as velvety and forward just until the almost painfully intense finish where the character changes to a youthfully austere, dusty and very serious finale. Like all of the wines in the range, this is a big 2016 with plenty of muscle and excellent aging potential. Points 91-94. Issue: 70
Regions Vintage Report:2016 Burgundy – beauty out of adversity.”
At its best, Burgundy 2016 exhibits beautiful quality and styling but is very sadly yet another year of very low yields. Inconsistency, too, means that being strict with our selection was critical. While this is a nightmare for Burgundian growers and keen, regular Burgundy drinkers alike, it is likely to be better news but only for those investors who are able and fortunate enough to secure precious allocations of top tier wines. Sadly, these star wines have become increasingly ‘out of reach’ for many. For sure there will be limited stock available, but the old maxim of supply and demand will no doubt apply. The latter is bound to exceed the former, pushing prices up in secondary markets and making Burgundy 2016 a sought-after vintage.
Apart from almost a year’s worth of rain having fallen by the end of June, the punishing climatic conditions were dominated by a devastating frost on the 27th April. Thankfully the embattled region witnessed some salvation as glorious weather in the second half of summer settled in from July onwards. The first half of the growing season was the most difficult in living memory, the second half as close to perfect as anybody could have hoped for. Although hailstorms in the Mâconnais and Chablis did cause some significant damage, reducing yields there, they did not really impact the Cote d’Or. What decimated so much of numerous appellation’s yield, however, was the severe frost on the night of 26th/27th April. A cloudless night caused temperatures to drop below freezing – not by much, maybe -2 to -4 degrees at most but the effect was more like a winter freeze than a spring frost. The rain during the evening/night of the 26th froze on the vines acting as a magnifying glass for the sun the following morning, intensifying the impact of the freeze on the tender vine buds. The gloriously cloudless sunrise on the 27th delivered this ‘coup de grâce’ as the temperature remained so low long enough to inflict its severe toll. There was destruction of devastating proportions. Even Le Montrachet, not impacted by frost for at least 100 years, lost 99% of its crop. Savigny-lès-Beaune and Pernand-Vergelesses lost up to 90%, as did certain vineyards in Chassagne Montrachet. In the Côte de Nuits, Marsannay, Nuits St Georges and Chambolle-Musigny took the full force whereas their neighbour Morey St Denis was left largely intact. Erratic weather conditions in the weeks that followed hampered the vines from setting second generation buds where the first had been destroyed. There was also severe pressure from mildew. 85% of average annual rainfall fell in the first 6 months of the year. This outbreak of mildew also struck vineyards very erratically, and much depended on the timing of the numerous treatments necessary. Vigilance was key. In 2016, many growers were forced to leave biodynamic principles in abeyance as the mildew and humidity threatened what little crop remained. Many biodynamic farmers, therefore, endured a real battle. They had to apply numerous treatments compared to a normal year. The volatile rain patterns tended to wash the newly applied treatments off the vines only hours after the work was finished, which means they had to go out again and fight to protect their vines. 3 The longest day of the year, though, presaged a change in the weather, with gloriously welcome sunshine showing itself on 22nd June. From late July all the way into September, the weather was superb, with day after day of sun, often very warm even hot. The summer saw 30% less rain than normal. However, the odd cooler, damper respite helped ensure that the ripening process was not blocked. The hot, clear and sunny conditions, with minimal humidity, that predominated, allowed the grapes to ripen beautifully. The exceptional late summer weather continued right through until heavy rain overnight on 14th/15th September, and some showers over the next few days: welcome rain on the whole to relieve the vines, which were starting to suffer from hydric stress, and to reinvigorate the ripening process. The harvest began earlier than originally expected – from the 19th September with most growers having completed their picking by the end of the month. Importantly, the whole crop was gathered in under fine weather conditions. The grapes were mostly very healthy with the correct balance between sugar and acidity.
The reds were more advanced than the whites, and the vines themselves looked in fine condition but there were pitifully few bunches to be seen. Aromas of the best wines tend to be bright, pure and refined, but sadly they will only be available in very small volumes from certain vineyards. The wines The finest reds exhibit a beautifully pure aromatic, floral style with sculpted tannins and telling, teasing minerality. A seam of freshness runs through the wines thanks to cool nights in September and timely picking dates. The tannins are often satin-like, lithe and perfectly pitched. This is a vintage that will allow drinkers to choose when to enjoy their wines as it will show well from an early age (2-3 years depending on vineyard pedigree) as well as repay medium to longer term cellaring. The small crop has given the wines fine concentration. The widespread inclusion of whole clusters in vinifications has helped retain freshness and an appetising edge to many wines. The best whites exhibit more tension and vivacity than 2015 coupled with a silken, creamy mid-palate texture that results in fine poise and balance. Elegance and marked typicité are much in evidence, for both reds and whites. 2016 is a fine advert for Burgundian terroir expression, despite the ravages of the early growing season, and as such goes with our utmost recommendation. The move to increasingly sensitive, deft winemaking continues including gentle extraction, less manipulation and less new oak. The determination to allow the wines to express their precise origins with purity and clarity has to be applauded. What is more, it helps to portray emphatically the essential ‘personalities’ of the wines that arise from this veritable mosaic of vineyards – a key feature of Burgundy’s raison d’être. There were numerous examples of growers blending together a number of individual 1ers Crus as each of the individual crus produced so little fruit that to vinify them as “stand alone” cuvées was untenable.
As a result,there are many unique wines on offer in 2016. In many instances the results are excellent too. Prices Prices of 2016 would have been under even more pressure if the 2017 vintage had not delivered such hugely welcome and overdue full cellars. As it is, the continued weakness of the pound does not help – which allied to severe pressure of growing global demand for such limited stocks, does mean that several offer prices are subject to an increase over last year. We have done our best to keep these rises to a minimum.
Neil Sommerfelt MW, Consultant January 2018