Burgundy’s basic red wine is Bourgogne Rouge, and when it comes from a notable winey such as Domaine A.F.Gros, it’s an affordable way to enjoy a good vintage like 2009.
Over generations, French inheritance law forced the Gros family to divide its vineyards, resulting in parcels as small as an acre and spawning numerous labels. There is Domaine Michel Gros, Domaine Gros Frere & Soeur, Domaine Anne Gros, and Domaine A.F. Gros. The average consumer would need a flow chart to understand it.
Domaine A.F.Gros is owned by Anne Francoise Gros, who inherited vineyards from her parents, Jean and Jeanine Gros, along with her brothers. Anne Françoise married Francois Parent, a winemaker from another respected Burgundy wine family, and he makes the Domaine A.F.Gros and Domaine Parent wines.
Burgundy is one of France’s smallest wine regions, and it has worldwide demand. Whether it’s the white wines from chardonnay, or the reds from pinot noir, prices for its Grand Crus are astronomical and its Premier Crus lofty. Affordability arrives with wines bearing the village appellation, and in good vintages like 2009, value is attached to regional wines like the Hautes-Cotes de Nuits.
Domaine A.F. Gros makes the full range of appellation wines, from the Grand Crus Richebourg and Echezeaux to Premier Crus in Vosne-Romanee, Pommard and Beaune, along with village and regional wines.
The 2009 vintage is being called an “American” vintage because the red wines are filled with ripe fruit aroma and flavors and soft tannins. They offer immediate gratification. This wine style is considered American by European producers because it mirrors the many California and Oregon pinot noirs that are soft, fruit-forward wines with the texture of jam.
The 2009 A.F.Gros Bourgogne Rouge Hautes-Cotes de Nuits is made of pinot noir grapes from its vineyards in the higher elevations of the prestiges Cotes de Nuits area of Burgundy.
Parent captured the pure pleasure of the vintage by making the wine in large oak barrels and limiting the aging to three months in new and one-year old barrels. This technique adds a layer of complexity from the oak without masking the ripe fruit flavors.
The wine’s pleasure begins with the bright strawberry color and accelerates with the appealing cherry scent. Your palate is treated to a mix of cherry and basil flavors with very good balance. Parent preserves the wine’s natural tart cherry finish, which I find very refreshing, but drinkers of the ubiquitous jammy California pinot noirs might find it a bit strident. Yet it is that very quality that makes this wine a perfect partner for food.
Pour it with a classic Burgundy dish of coq au vin, or serve it alongside baked fall squash with roasted fennel, cauliflower, garlic and onions, or enjoy it with a cheese souffle.
With proper storage, the 2009 A.F. Gros Bourgogne Rouge Hautes-Cotes de Nuits will be charming for about four years. Put a case in your cellar and watch how A.F. Gros can grow on you.
The 2009 Bourgogne Rouge Hautes-Cotes de Nuits retails for approximately $29.