Domaine Michel Gros

Domaine Michel Gros

Michel, the eldest of Jean Gros’ children, took over running the family domaine fresh from wine school in 1975, on account of his father’s ill health. He has added further vineyards of his own, and rents more, to compensate for the parts of Domaine Jean Gros which went to his siblings in 1995.

Repeated accolades, including being the International Wine Challenge’s Red Winemaker of the Year two years running (2008-2010) indicate that this is a producer who delivers fine wine, but Michel Gros has his own clear ideas of what methods to use, which are not always in tune with current received wisdom.

The vineyards are run according to lutte raisonée, with grassing between the rows in the Hautes-Côtes de Nuits and some deeper soils on the main hillsides, otherwise contact herbicides are used. Michel is against ploughing, and also prefers the occasional limited use of synthetic sprays to the copper which is permitted under organic and biodynamic viticulture rules.

At harvest, the sorting is done in the vineyard with chosen sorters working alongside the pickers. The grapes are 100 per cent destemmed then encouraged to start fermenting almost immediately through the addition of selected yeasts.  If the required percentage of alcohol (around 13 per cent for village wines and above) is not there naturally, part of the juice is passed through an entropy evaporator to concentrate it, and then blended back into the rest of the cuvée. After fermentation the juice is heated up to 35°C/95ºF to complete the extraction of the tannins and fixing of the colour, then left to settle for a week in tank before going to barrel with just the finest lees. The wines spend 20 months in wood, one third new at village level, 50 per cent for premier cru and 100 per cent for the three barrels of Clos de Vougeot. Michel likes heavily toasted barrels, as his father did before him, mostly from Tonnelerie Rousseau and the Tronçais forest.

From all this it is clear that Michel Gros is relatively interventionist in his winemaking and it is true that there is a house style of concentrated red fruits, but the individual cuvées do nonetheless reflect their individual terroirs, from the darker fruit and more prominent tannins of Nuits-St-Georges Chaliots to the supreme elegance of Clos des Réas.

Jasper Morris MW, Burgundy Wine Director and author of the award-winning Inside Burgundy comprehensive handbook.

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