The Domaine Michel Gros is best known for its magnificent red Burgundies from famous towns in the Côte de Nuits. But for decades the domaine has also farmed a wide swath of vines in the hills to the west of “la Côte.” The neighborhood isn’t quite as posh and the terroir not quite as perfect, but the “Hautes-Côtes,” as they’re called, have long provided excellent value.
In recent years, this investment has proved Buffet-esque in its precience. Perched a full hundred meters higher in elevation than the rest of Burgundy, grapes in the Hautes-Côtes ripen on average a week later. In recent scorching summers this extra time has given them a real advantage in the search for freshness and balance, allowing grapes to achieve skin (phenolic) ripeness without also meaning over-ripeness of sugars.
Gros makes three excellent cuvées from the Hautes-Côtes, and today we’re suggesting the 2018 “Au Vallon.”
The “Au Vallon” cuvée comes from a south-facing plot of vines, which get excellent sun exposure. The very hot, dry summer in 2018 produced excellent ripeness nearly everywhere in Burgundy, and only careful vignerons were able to find balance. Gros succeeded beautifully — Jasper Morris MW called this cuvée “a bundle of energy,” with a “fresh and exciting nose, ripe clean fruit.”
The nose shows raspberry, cherry and cassis, with a hint of anise. The mouth is juicy and rich, with great freshness, notes of cocoa powder and raspberry, and Gros’s signature polish and class. It’s gourmand rather than gourmet — fruit, earth and energy all in perfect harmony.
Serve this with chicken in a creamy mustard sauce.
Gros Hautes-Côtes “Au Vallon” 2018
bottle price: $36
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