French Wine Club – April Allocation


When Frédéric Gueugneau was growing up in the Chalonnais village of Fontaines, he would often work at the Gouffier estate under the direction of Jerome Gouffier. Years later, when Gouffier fell ill, Frédéric came home once again to lend a helping hand by managing the day-to-day operations of the estate. When his elder neighbor passed away, Frédéric was asked by the Gouffier family to assume control of the domain in 2011.

The nearly 200-year old estate had been through several name changes throughout its history but had always remained a part of the extended Gouffier lineage. The property oozes history, as evidenced by its stunning, stone-domed cellar, which had once served as a bunker in the time of Napoleon Bonaparte.

With 13.5 acres spread across eight appellations, the domain was in need of a fresh start. Frédéric, who had worked previously at La Chabliesienne for eight years, took about the task of reinvigorating the vines of Gouffier by instituting organic farming practices. While there are no vineyards in Fontaines—which sits between the villages of Mercurey and Rully—the varied sites throughout the area allow Frédéric and his partner, Benoit Pagot, to offer several expressions of Cote Chalonnaise.

The domain contracts a single cooper—Doreau Tonneliers of Cognac—with Thierry Doreau making several trips to aid Frédéric and Benoit in finding the perfect match between barrel and wine. In fact, nearly 20% of the wood used to make the barrels used in the cellar come from the forest just beyond the walls of the property.

Recent vintages of Gouffier have reflected the intelligent approach of infusion, demonstrating perfect balance, flawless integration of aging, resulting in wines of energy and precision which have garnered attention and accolades in France

Mercurey is a village in the Côte Chalonnaise subregion of Burgundy. The Pinot Noir vines are planted on a loamy golden soil with a high iron content, which results in textured wines with a deep color. The climate is continental, with warm summers and cold winters and excellent diurnal temperature difference

La Charmée 2016 Great depth of flavor showing chunky plum fruits combined with coffee beans and a peppery finish. Bright aromas of redcurrant, raspberry combine with a hint of citrus, bringing a touch of freshness.

Vintage 2016 was a challenging vintage with spells of hail, frost, and mildew. However, warm weather throughout the latter part of the growing cycle resulted in a harvest which winemaker Frédéric has called a classic vintage, with the wines showing a good balance between sugar and acidity.  The vineyard is cultivated using organic preparations and the use of chemical herbicides is strictly prohibited.

The vines are carefully managed between the spring and summer months to ensure optimal conditions for healthy, mature grapes at harvest time; with strict de-budding, leaf thinning and plowing of the soil.

The grapes were hand-picked at optimum maturity and carefully selected in the cellar. 30% of the fruit was vinified as whole bunches as the stems help to stabilize the color and impart structure to the wine. A cool maceration was followed by fermentation in one-third new barrels. 15% of stems were put back into the fermentation barrels to support the fruit and impart structure to this fleshy wine. Winemaker Frédéric uses oak judiciously, in order not to overpower the purity of the fruit. Domaine Gouffier has been experimenting with using oak from the state forests of Fontaine, just a few miles from the vines, endeavoring to stay true to the local terroir. 

Clos de l’Eveque 2017  Cold pre-fermentation maceration. This cuvée is vinified with 40% whole clusters in 50% new barrels,  in order to bring complexity and structure to the wine. Aged for 16 months The wood of our barrels comes from the forests of Darnay – just behind the estate.

The color is a deep, profound ruby. This crisp-fruited wine evokes strawberry, raspberry, and cherry. Age brings in notes of underbrush, spicy tobacco notes, and cocoa beans. In the mouth, this wine is rich, full-bodied, and chewy. In its youth, the tannins of this wine lend it a mineral firmness. 

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