Chateau de Pommard
Don't be looking for the Chateau de Pommard label in the USA, they don't export, and all their lushous wines and brandy are purchased directly from the Chateau. I asked if there was an American distributor that brings their wine over and resells them, and sadly the answer was no. I was disappointed knowing the only way to get Chateau de Pommard wine and brandy into my home would be to go directly to the Chateau, and carry only one or two bottles in a checked luggage, and hope they do not break the bottles. That is what we did, we bought one bottle and packed well in clothing and thank goodness, the bottle came out just fine when we got home. I am forever mad at the darn "liquid rule" on USA airplanes now. In Europe, care beer and wine all you want, drink them on the plane if you like, but here it is a no. The question I have is, are we truly safer not being able to carry more than 3 oz of gels, deodorants, shampoo and peanut butter and jelly on a plane? Are we safer for not being able to hand carry a wine bottle on the plane? I digress, where was I?
Just some quick stats about Chateau de Pommard, is that its vineyard is a continuous 20 hetares large, and is fully walled or clos by a stone wall. This is fairly unusual to have such a larage continuous acreage as the vineyard, and for this large vineyard to be clos. The real unique part of Chateau de Pommard is that it is its own appellation, and this appellation grows pinot noir. All other appellations in Bourgogne are made up of multiple vineyard owners for various reasons. Chateau de Pommard is quite unique. The Chateau also has a special bottle shape they use, and I this specific bottle shape is halfway between a champagne and a red wine bottle. The glass is thicker, and the bottle is a bit more squat as it descends to its base. The bottle is a trademark of Chateau de Pommard, and yet another really special and unique aspect to this wine house.
We tasted the wine from 2003, 2004 and 2005, and all the vintages were dark garnet in color, big and bold in flavor, and you can tell they were aged in either new or once used oak barrels. This is a stark contrast to some of the other wine makers in the area because the other wines are more simply made, some without oak, and are more about being an excellent daily table wine. I personally like the Chateau de Pommard 2005 the best. 2005 has been known to be a great growing year all around the world, and being able to taste vintages side by side like that, it is very telling. The 2003 was completely different, and I believe that was from the heat wave that came through France that tore through the country, ruining crops, vineyards, and causing deaths. Our gracious host also allowed us to taste Marc de Bourgogne, a brandy made from the skins and pits left over from the pressing after initial fermentation, and Fine de Bourgogne which is brandy distilled from wine. Marc and Fine are like grappa, but are aged in oak barrels to give it a lovely amber color. Tasting Chateau de Pommard's Marc and Fine side by side, I thought the Fine was just slightly smoother than the Marc, and because we were limited on luggage space, only one bottle was able to come with us, and it was the Fine. These two delicacies definitely do not make it out of Cote d'Or, and are not sold outside of the Chateau. It is gonna have to be a really special occasion to have sips of this gem. It is not for guzzling that is for sure.
Since I know little to nothing about Fine de Bourgogne (except for what the folks at the Chateau told me and the article that I hyperlinked), anyone have any online resources that I can go see and learn more? Do tell!
We were told that the wine is aged in oak for about 2 years before it is bottled, and then the bottle wine hits its peak in the bottle after about 5 years. These bottles right here, the 2001s, there are only 232 left of them are at their peak right now. We were not offered a chance to purchase one of these. I have a feeling that these would probably be more than what we were willing to spend, and it is possible that these are in reserve for the owner to enjoy when he comes to stay at his Chateau.
The other thing about this Chateau is that there is a museum portion of the chateau that is open for a self guided tour. We saw a giant wood grape press, some antique wine making equipment, and the scene above, which is the original chateau kitchen, now just a museum piece used to educate tourists and visitors like me. The chateau was built in the early 1700s, with a huge hearth kitchen. The hearth is similar to my friend's grandmom's house north of Philadelphia (near Washington's Crossing of the Delaware is) and her hearth was built in the early 1700s as well. It was the area where there was open spitfire cooking, as well as a wood burning stove that was the stove, not just a heat source for the room. In the USA, my friend's grandmom's house is on the historic register because it existed before the Revolutionary War, and it is considered quite old for the USA. This chateau, although it is nearly 300 years old, it is considered one of the youngsters on the winemaking trail of Bourgogne, given that many other wine making families go back even further than 300 years. It is just perspective of time and tradition that I thought about while typing this blog entry.