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Average critic rating : 93.0 points
The 2013 Nuits St Georges 1er Cru les Pruliers might well be the pick of the wines from Domaine Henri Gouges this year. It has a tightly wound, undergrowth-tinged bouquet with mulberry and briary aromas. The palate is underpinned by fine, taut tannins and a taut thread of acidity. This is very “streamlined” at the moment – all about the focus and energy rather than flamboyance. It has a lovely shimmering finish, with a long saline aftertaste. Excellent. ||I must admit, I could not remember where Domaine Henri Gouges was located and frantically used my iPhone to track it down, only to find that I was standing outside the front door. Oh well. It is always a pleasure to meet with Gregory Gouges who is thoughtfully spoken and has done much to relieve the domaine of its reputation of tannic, masculine wines (that wouldn’t budge unless you gave them 20+ years in the cellar), and a penchant for "stemmy" wines. Yes, a sense of tradition remains intact, but the wines are both more precise and more approachable these days. So what of the latest vintage?||“For a lot of people it was a difficult vintage,” Gregory began. “Compared with 2012 it was difficult for growers because of the weather conditions in terms of spraying, but that is good for the vineyards. The start [of the growing season] was cold for long periods. For example, at bud-break the temperature was 10 degrees and this retarded the vegatative cycle. We have maintained the organic viticulture, but it was hard because organic products are not good at staying on the vine when it is rainy. We de-leafed just one or two leaves per vine to help the circulation of air but it’s not a miracle cure. We prefer to make a slightly harder pruning but you have to watch the capacity of buds. The harvest started 5 October and the ripeness and quantity of sugar was not perfect. Everything was between 11.0 and 11.8 degrees potential alcohol and the black rot meant we had to make a strict selection. We lost of 20 to 25% of grapes in order to keep the same level of quality while maintaining the style of vintage. The quality came from the human work and compared to 2012 the human impact was more important, as was controlling the yield. Everything was destemmed in 2013. The terroir of Nuits Saint Georges is powerful and I don’t think it is suitable for destemming. There was some chaptalization for the Bourgogne Rouge and Village Crus, but only 0.5 degrees, much less so for the Premier Crus, apart from the Clos des Porrets. We have made the same quality of wine, but we have lost more of the crop in 2013. Gouges was known for its hard wines that used to take many years to reach their drinking plateau. But with the new facility we are making the wines more approachable without losing the identity of the domaine and their longevity.”||Though one or two barrel samples were not in a fit state for assessment, generally these 2013s continue the good work that is going on at the domaine. The best terroirs showed exactly why they have earned their status, with strong showings for the Les Pruliers and Les Saint Georges. What I liked here was the tension and poise, the sheer pinoté of these wines that prioritized elegance over power. | eRobertParker.com.December, 2014
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