Domaine Michel Gros 2018 'Fontaine Saint-Martin' Monopole, Hautes-Côtes de Nuits Rouge, Burgundy, France
Winemaker: Michel & Pierre Gros
Varieties: Pinot Noir
Terroir: The 7 ha hillside vineyard sits between 350 m - 390 m with southeast exposures that overlooks the valley and the Cistercian Abbey of Lieu-Dieu des Champs. The soil of limestone and marl is mixed with Oxfordian clay (Jurassic period).
Vinification: Fermentation begins in enamel-lined vats after destemming and gentle sorting, with daily punchdowns. When fermentation is finished, the wine is gently racked into 30 percent new French oak barrels for 18 months before being lightly fined and bottled.
- 91 POINTS, DECANTER
- 90 POINTS, WINE SPECTATOR
From our 2022 Bottle Club Notes:
If you like Burgundy, you've probably come across the surname Gros (pronounced grow) once or twice. Domaine Anne Gros, Domaine A-F Gros, Domaine Gros Frére et Sur, and Domaine Michel Gros round out the list. Yes, they're all related, and yes, they're all on the market right now. When you add their spouse's surnames to the mix, the list of related wineries grows even longer.
This can be confusing in Burgundy, as names like Gros, Boillot, and Morey can dominate. All of this can be attributed to The Napoleonic Code, which was enacted following the French Revolution to promote fairer wealth distribution and keep wealth concentration out of the hands of The Church and aristocrats, primarily by taking land away from The Church and redistributing it to farmers and tradesmen, then abolishing primogeniture, the practice of all inheritance going to the firstborn son. Instead, the inheritance would be distributed evenly among all heirs (at first, this applied only to male heirs, but was later amended to include women).
Think of it like this: the Smiths own a 100-acre plot of land and have four children.
When Mr. and Mrs. Smith die, the vineyard is divided equally, with each child receiving 25 acres. When that child dies, the 25 acres are divided equally among their children, and so on. A few generations later, that original 100-acre plot has been divided among dozens of relatives, with some owning only a small portion of that once-great piece of land.
This is precisely what occurred in Burgundy. This resulted in the rise of negoçiants, merchants who would lease or buy fruit for a collection of different individuals' small holdings and then combine the fragmented pieces to make one wine. Woooooeeeee, that’s a lot, huh? Just one more reason you leave the wine-selecting to us at DECANTsf, huh?!
Anyway, back to Michel, a sixth-generation steward of family vineyards and the son of Jean, the nephew of Anne (Domaine Anne Gros), and the brother of Anne-François (A-F Gros) and Bernard (Gros Frére et Sur). Michel was the only member of the family who did not inherit a piece of the Grand Cru vineyard Richebourg, but instead inherited a few monopoles, or vineyards that are entirely owned by one domaine. His most famous (and expensive) wine is his Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru 'Clos des Réas,' but he also produces lovely Pinot Noir and Chardonnay on Fontaine Saint Martin, this 7-hectare vineyard overlooking the Cistercian Abbey of Lieu-Dieu des Champs. The vines were planted in 1976 on limestone and clay-marl and are completely organically farmed.
Michel and son Pierre, the estate's next in line and current winemaker, hand-picked these grapes earlier than usual in 2018, resulting in healthy and fully ripe fruit despite a dry heatwave in the summer and a lot of hail in the spring. Fermentation begins in enamel-lined vats after destemming and gentle sorting, with daily punchdowns. When fermentation is finished, the wine is gently racked into 30 percent new French oak barrels for 18 months before being lightly fined and bottled.
Michel Gros' wines are distinguished by a signature seductive lushness and polish, as well as dark, firm tannins. This wine combines wild-strawberry flavors with black tea, toasted nutmeg, and black cherries. Because it is still so young, this will be a wine to cellar for a while, perhaps a year or more, to allow the tannins to settle and the fruit to develop. When you do open it, pair it with roasted duck, pan-roasted chicken, or something with a lot of mushrooms! — Cara Patricia