Domaine des Epeneaux owes its name to the Clos des Epeneaux, a magnificent parcel of five hectares acquired by Nicolas Marey at the end of the 18th, beginning of the 19th century. In 1828, the Clos des Epeneaux and related buildings, known as the Fief de Rancy, situated in the centre of the village of Pommard, became part of the heritage of the family of the Count Armand. The estate remained as such until 1994 when it annexed a vineyard plot situated in the neighbouring village of Volnay, then later parcels from the village of Auxey-Duresses.
Today, Domaine des Epeneaux constitutes a total surface area of 9 hectares, and is more committed than ever to producing wines that are true expressions of their terroir.
The Count Armand, a lawyer who lives in Paris, has supported all the winemakers who have influenced the development of this high regarded vineyard. The most recent is Paul Zinetti who worked under the hugely respected Benjamin Leroux for 4 years before succeeding him in 2014.
Paul Zinetti: After 4 years working with the highly regarded wine maker Benjamin Leroux, Paul Zinetti has the foundations to produce top level wines from this historic vineyard. After 2014, his first vintage, 2015 offers more of an impression of what is to come and we like it!
Today the domaine is still reaping the wisdom of their ancestors, who provided not only with soils scintillating with vitality, but with plants carefully selected and adapted to the subtlety of each parcel over generations.
Not only does the ground serve as base, it is the locus of immense diversity and complexity in both geological and biological terms. In order to optimize the vitality of the soil, there is no use of herbicides. However ploughing, whether mechanical or manual depending on the parcel is essential.
Reintroducing ornamental or medicinal plants and beehives, can largely reduce preventative interventions to simple herb teas (nettles, dandelion…) and decoctions (horsetail, wicker...).
The small yields have allowed the team to monitor the harvest more rigorously and, excepting grave climatic conditions, to produce wines of very high quality.
The outcome of every vintage is in fact the sum of numerous painstaking tasks carried out by a whole team of men and women dedicated to the vine. This refers not only to last year’s accomplishments but also to all those who have cared for our vineyards over decades. Without them the beautiful vines averaging 50 years old, would not be so vigorous.
The harvest is 100% de-stemmed, keeping most of the berries whole, not crushed.
Most years, the total maceration period lasts about 4 weeks, which is relatively long for traditional winemaking in Burgundy.
The moon, largely guiding and presiding over the rhythm of labour, has had a significant influence in both vineyards and vat house since the 2001 vintage.
Depending on the appellation and age of the vines, the wines will age 18 to 24 months in barrels, with a percentage of new oak ranging from 0% for the Village appellations to 30% for the old vines of Clos des Epeneaux.
Preserving the wines
Most of the wines are neither fined nor filtered to preserve the utmost quality. However, in spite of microbiological controls throughout the ageing process, the wines should be cellared at a temperature of 12°C.
LE CLOS DES ÉPENEAUX
The famous Clos, a magnificent parcel of five hectares, is one of the 10 largest premier or grand cru monopolies of the Côte de Beaune and Côte de Nuits. Although situated in the heart of the Grands and Petits Epeneaux, this parcel has a fairly different geology from its neighbours. Both powerful and refined, the resulting wines are the quintessence of what Pinot Noir can express. The hint of spices is also characteristic of Clos des Epeneaux. The vines varies between 30 and 80 years, with a density of plantations of 12,000 vines / hectare. It's separated in 4 units, which are separately vinified.
4 major criteria are distinguished: Year of plantation; Depth of the bedrock (20-30 cm on the high part, 60-80 cm on the low part of the Clos); Soil structure; Soil texture
AUXEY-DURESSES1 er Cru
The grapes of two of the most prized parcels of the village are assembled for this wine. Les Breterins is a south-facing parcel with light, white soil prompting earlier ripeness and wines abundant with fruit. Les Duresses is southeast facing with brown clay earth giving more dense, and tannic results. The complementarity of these two parcels results in a serious, powerful wine.
On this sloped south-facing parcel that has particular geology for this section of vineyard, the vines are 40 years old on the average. It is one of the most calcareous areas of the Côte de Beaune (30% active limestone).
Rich with small fruit, the wines can generally be drunk quite young, and yet can age easily for up to 10 years.
VOLNAY1 er Cru Les Fremiets
The Volnay Fremiets are divided into two parcels, one planted in 1950 and the other in 1980. Both border the Pommard appellation, in fact the soil is very similar with a significant concentration of iron oxide. Yet the rock base is more characteristic of Volnay. These wines tend to be delicate and elegant from attack to mid-palate (Volnay) then quickly gain structure for the finish (Pommard).
The Volnays are located on two distinct lieux-dits: les Grands Champs, and les Famines. The first climat (local term for plot) produces very fine, elegant wines quite characteristic of the appellation, while the second tends to give wines with more body. They are vinified separately and usually assembled once they have matured.
This young 20 year old vine is located in Volnay, in the lieu-dit called ‘les Condemaines’. With a more clayey soil here, this Volnay area is mainly planted in Pinot Noir. The introduction of a Muscat-like Chardonnay (a Chardonnay derived from small berries coming from Macon la Roche Vineuse) was daring but payed off in this rich and deep land.
Stemmed from the assembling of a young ten year old vine located in Volnay and a very old ninety -year old vine of Aligoté known as ‘doré/golden’ located in Meursault. One can find a very beautiful balance between the freshness and vividness, coming from the young vine combined with the richness and precision of the Aligoté Doré from the old vine.