Jan 28th, Vosne-Romanee, Cote de Nuits (Burgundy).
We both had never tasted Anne Gros' wines before this visit, but her name had come forward several times in the last couple of years in articles about the new generation of Burgundy winemakers. So we enquired about visiting her, in spite of the fact her Domaine is not usually open to visitors and we were lucky she accepted to receive us.
Her career as a vigneronne was an unplanned one, as she followed a literary cursus at the university without thinking at all then she would one day work on her father's Domaine. But the events gave her life another course and as her father had to step down for health reasons, she decided to follow suit and do the job. That was in 1988. She courageously faced the different tasks in the vineyard, the vinification, the commercial part, while getting a BPA diploma at the viticulture school in Beaune and an oenology degree in Dijon.
Her professional turnaround was swift and successful. While her first harvests were sold to negociants, she began to bottle her wines herself in 1990 and amateurs in France and abroad began to notice her " refined, delicate, precise and silky wines".
The first hint of her humour surfaces when you try to log on her website : you have to answer the question : which are the two grape varieties of Burgundy ? Then press "valider"... The website is accessible with Internet Explorer (not with Mozilla Firefox), which is why I could'nt enter the first time I tried (You don't think I could'nt answer the question, do you ?). With Mozilla, after you successfully answered the question, the following page misses the complete menu on the left.
Before going to the cask cellar, we look at the vathouse (built in 1999). Everything is destemmed, she says, then goes to the cement vats for the alcoholic fermentation. Then the free run juice is pumped and the solid part is separately pressed. Both juices are then blended and go down into casks for 14 to 16 months. The wine will return after then in stainless vats for decantation and blending before bottling.
No sorting tables for the harvest, the sorting is done on the vine. After I asked if there was a single picking, she says jokingly this is not Sauternes here, but Pinot Noir (oops, I said it!)...
__1 Haute Cote de Nuits 2005 (red). From a cask, like all the wines we'll taste today. We warm up the wine a minute in our hands. The wine is pleasant already. Tenderness. Will be a very "gourmand" wine with a laying-down potential of about 7-8 years. 14-18 months elevage. 12 casks of this wine. 17-18 when the vines will be mature.
__2 Bourgogne 2005 (red). 25 years old vines. Blending of three small plots (5 ares-10 ares-17 ares__an are is 1/100 of an hectare). Tighter frame, B. observes. Anne says the malolactic is in process.
__3 Chambolle Musigny Villages 2005. Third picture above : Anne inserts the winethief in the cask. B. says she likes this wine because it unrolls in the mouth with a creamy side.
Looking at the casks, I notice that the cooperages' names are not visible on the outside. She says she makes wine, not barrels, so the make names have not to be proeminent. The cooperages/suppliers have gotten it right and their names/references on the casks are very discreet, on the oblique side of the wooden hoop. She likes to work with wood from the Allier (a french region) for the quality of it.
__4 Clos Vougeot "Grand Maupertuis" 2005. This climat is located under the Grands Echezeaux. When she later blends the different casks of the same plot, each wine from the different casks bring their personality in the assemblage.
__5 Richebourg 2004. Taken from a one-year cask like the previous wine we tasted. Malolactic fermentation in process (some gas coming out). Will go into a new cask when malo will be achieved. More minerality, lots of energy here. Some racking is done sometimes, but rarely. She prefers (in 70% of the cases) to work on the fine lees of the wine, but there are not fixed rules. External yeasts are used to start the fermentation.
Speaking of the type of pruning, she says for the young vines, she uses Cordon de Royat, and for the 35+ years vines she opts for Guyot.
Thank you Anne for your time and the glimpse on these fine wines in the making...
As said above, Anne does not usually receive visitors. Plus, she has no wine to sell at the winery. Her production is tightly spread between her customers, local, national, and international. But you can purchase her wines in Nuits Saint Georges at Le Cavon de Bacchus, a fine-wines store.
And you can find the nearest distributor depending where you live on her website (with Internet Explorer, it does not work with Mozilla Firefox) : On the menu on the left, click on "trouver nos vins", then on "dans le monde" and choose your country (quite a long list for the U.S. and Japan).
Domaine Anne Gros
11 rue des Communes 21700 Vosne-Romanee France