The remarkable Simone from Château de Pommard

I get invited to a lot of Zoom tastings. This was another, and while I’ve been impressed with the wines of Château de Pommard in the past, I wasn’t expecting this tasting, featuring their top wine, Cuvée Simone, to blow me away in the fashion that it did.

Some background. Château de Pommard was bought by Michael Baum in 2014, and he has taken this domaine upmarket in a significant way. Not least, the farming is now certified organic, and is set to be certified biodynamic in 2021. The story is here.

Now to this wine. Baum owns the biggest monopole in Burgundy: Clos Marey-Monge. It’s a 20 hectare plot walled with a 2 metre high wall that is 2 km long. But within this clos there are seven terroirs. For 300 years these were blended together into a single cuvée, but in 2010 (predating Baum) the decision was made to bottle Simone separately. This 0.53 hectare plot is remarkable for the nature of its clay.

Clay comes in different sorts. The thing about clay is the surface area it has: the interlocking plates that make it up create an astonishing surface area that then works in cation exchange and also storage of water. The Simone plot has a world record for the highest measured internal surface density. In one gram of clay, there is a surface area of 736 metres squared. In Pomerol, Petrus previously held the record with 700 m2, and in Burgundy Richebourg and Musigny come close at 650 m2.

Emmanuel Sala, who has been making wines here for 15 years, says that 2018 was the first year he used whole bunch. It was a warm year, and in pursuit of freshness he used 75% whole bunch. There was also extensive maceration of 4.5 weeks. ‘I started the whole cluster to preserve the freshness of the wine,’ says Sala. He also used 38% new oak, which for a prestige cuvée like this, is on the low side.

Château de Pommard Cuvée Simone Pommard 2018 Bourgogne, France
13.5% alcohol. This is quite astonishing. There’s a beautifully floral cherry fruit nose with hints of meat and dried herbs, and some fine spiciness. It’s all framed with this extremely supple greenness, that’s almost invisible but which makes an important contribution. The palate is fine and silky, with a smoothness, but also lovely density. There’s some blood and iodine complexity as well as a core of intense, refined berry and cherry fruit. Astonishingly pretty and elegant, this is fabulous stuff. 97/100

(UK retail £326)

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