Pommard is, in a way, one of the most misunderstood of Burgundy’s great villages. It shares with Beaune an ease of pronunciation that made it both well-known and popular with English speakers. In the 19th century, it acquired a reputation amongst the British wine cognoscenti as a source of rugged, burly reds that were often damned with the faint praise of being called “four-square” or “sturdy.”
Based on how the wines from Bordeaux and Burgundy taste today, it is difficult to imagine that back then, Burgundy was considered the more full-bodied of the two, but that was the case. Even through the 50s and 60s, it was possible to find Burgundies with structures built to last 50 years, but only enough fruit for 10.
Pommard, like most of the red wine producing villages of the Cote de Beaune, currently issues wines at the village and 1er Cru level. Only the hill of Corton, sweeping across Aloxe-Corton, Pernand-Vergelesses and Ladoix was classified as Grand Cru quality.
The producers of Pommard have long known that there is a distinct hierarchy within the multitude of 1er Cru vineyards, and the three that are the best are Rugiens, Epenots and Clos des Epeneaux. In 2011, the vineyard owners commissioned a study to examine whether it would be possible to reclassify the vineyards as Grand Crus.
It is a slow process, and no final decision has yet been made. The local INAO was given a 150-page dossier to examine, but it is a slow process, and no final determination has been made. It would be a rare victory – in recent memory only two vineyards have been promoted – Clos des Lambrays in 1981 and La Grande Rue in 1992, though the latter was backdated to 1989.
As an owner of Grands Epenots, we have high hopes for promotion. The wines we produced from this vineyard a plush, with lovely brightness, outstanding structure and length, as well as a lovely texture.