Based in Pommard, Domaine Michel Gaunoux is one of the most under-rated domaines in Burgundy.
The Gaunoux family has been making wine in the Côte de Beaune since 1875. The original property was founded by Alexandre, and it was his son Henri who built the estate’s reputation for quality both before and after the Second World War. When he died in 1972, the property was divided in two – creating Domaine Michel Gaunoux in Pommard and Domaine François Gaunoux in Meursault. (Jean-Michel Gaunoux later split with his father François to establish a third Gaunoux domaine – Domaine Jean-Michel Gaunoux.)
Domaine Michel Gaunoux is today run by Michel’s grandchildren, Anne and Alexandre, with a guiding hand from their mother. Everything here is extremely traditional, and the family has been quietly making rich, complex and age-worthy Pommard and Corton for half a century.
The family’s natural modesty – with a belief that the terroir should always be more prominent than the winemaker – paired with the fact the wines aren’t released en primeur, means they fly under many people’s radars. They release only a small volume of young wine two years after a given vintage – once the wine is bottled and settled (and almost a year after most of their neighbours). Instead they hold back most of their stocks for release once mature. It’s one way to allow for the lack of patience among consumers, but also ensures the wines are indeed drunk – rather than sitting in cellars untouched and traded on, something that the family is keen to avoid.
While the property may not be widely known, it has attracted the critics’ attention – with Allen Meadows (Burghound) naming them “one of the finest domaines in all of Burgundy”, while William Kelley considers the property “among the region’s best kept secrets”.
The emphasis on quality here is everything, and if a vintage doesn’t pass muster, they are prepared to sell their entire production to négociants. The wines are old-fashioned, classic Burgundy – but far from the rustic image that might conjure. These are refined, perfumed, light-coloured, red-fruited expressions of Pommard that blossom with the requisite time in the cellar.