Spotlight on Red Burgundy: Nicolas Potel Pommard ‘Les Jarolieres’ 1er Cru 2002

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The history of Burgundy is a classically European patchwork of nobility, religion and military orders. Pommard was owned in various parts by the Dukes of Burgundy, various abbeys and even the famous Knights of Malta (which, in fact, still exists, with a headquarters in Rome). That complex history has now manifested in a near impenetrable labyrinth of vineyards and interconnected families. Burgundy is now the most difficult wine region in the world to penetrate, and I think much of this has to do with its embodiment of Europe’s immensely complex history, with so many land owners and so many interests.

A Hybrid Vineyard

As noted previously, Pommard is one of the best villages for red wines in Beaune, with its Epenots and Rugiens vineyards being the apex. The two famous vineyards are actually situated on opposite slopes from the village of Pommard, with Epenots in the north and Rugiens in the south.

Les Jarolieres immediately abuts the great Les Rugiens-Bas premier cru site (considered the best of the Rugiens), on the south slope rising above the village of Pommard. Les Jarolieres is also directly adjacent to Volnay, and carries some Volnay-like character with less of the sheer power and intensity of classic Pommard.

Around Rugiens, soils are rocky and very red in colour. Clive Coates claims it is the combination of high levels of limestone and clay that produce the “fullness and sturdiness” for which Pommard wines are known.

Of Potel and ‘02

Nicolas Potel is the son of famed Gerard Potel, who ran Domaine de la Pousse d’Or before he passed away in 1997. In 2002, Nicolas Potel was a micro-negotient focusing on high quality and modern styled wines. Nicolas has since left, starting the new Roche de Belline, but in 2002 this Pommard bears his stamp.

The 2002 vintage was a superb base for Potel to show his skills, being fruity and forward. Good selection ensured that the grapes were ripe and not in need of chaptilization. Today, the 2002’s are showing very well and, even with their powerful fruit, also tend to exhibit quite fresh acidity. As such, these are balanced wines

A Typical, Delicious 2002

This wine exhibits precisely the character of 2002: fruity, plush, loveable, but not necessarily perfectly expressive of place. This wine has a lovely balsamic nose with plenty of sexy cherry fruit. The fruit is beautiful, and the wine fully developed with those secondary balsamic and cedar notes continuing on the palate. A soft texture, fine tannin and a very long finish elevate this above your standard premier cru. A fruity, potent mid-palate keeps the wine alive and buoys entry into the sophisticated finish. A complete and easily delicious Pommard. And, ridiculous with a fresh bowl of roasted heirloom cherry tomato pasta topped with pecorino padano and a generous helping of 2012 vintage Italian olive oil.

Very Good+ to Excellent
$90 at BCLDB

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