The Gaunoux family goes back several hundred years in the Cote d'Or, but Jean-Michel Gaunoux, who previously worked with his father Francois at the family domain, established his own small operation in Meursault in 1990. He takes a light touch with manipulation, as well as with the use of new oak, and the few bottles of his wines that have come my way in recent years have indicated they they age gracefully i bottle. Gaunoux does a long (24 to 48 hours) debourbage. He ultimately allows much of the alcoholic fermentation to finish in barrel. He noted that he had not done any lees stirring since 2004, and that he has cut his sulfur doses in half. Gaunoux told me he racks after the next vintage, then assembles his wines in cuves, where they remain for a month before he bottles them.
(25% new oak): Spicy aromas of yellow flowers and fresh apricot. Strong, saline and quite dry, with good density and fresh acidity to its peach flavor. A rather strict village wine with a restrained sweetness.
(from vines between 55 and 60 years of age): Somewhat reduced aromas of honey, smoke and flint. Then lush, fat and concentrated; sweeter than the basic village offering but with a distinct stony firm edge giving shape to the wine. In a rather round style but with very firm acidity and a mineral-tinged aftertaste.
(from a parcel just underneath the Clos des Perrieres, according to Gaunoux): Pale, green-tinged yellow. Perfumed, pure, rather elegant aromas of lemon and lime oil. Then electric in the mouth, with superb acid cut framing the dry crushed stone and salty mineral flavors. Superb lemony persistence is downright aristocratic. This will need at least five or six years of patience and should age a long time.
($64) Orange oil, lime zest and almond flower on the nose; classic Meursault. A fresh and fairly backward village wine for the vintage, with good cut and firm mineral spine to the bitter lemon flavor. In fact, this is almost hard! I'd give this a year or two in the cellar before pulling the cork.
($129) Pale color with green highlights. Spicy and fresh for Goutte d'Or, with aromas of soft citrus fruits and minerals complicated by a leesy nuance. Then suppler in the middle than the village offering, but with firm acidity giving shape and thrust to the honey and spice flavors. Nicely long on the dense, saline, brisk aftertaste, which throws off notes of lemon, peach and hazelnut. Gaunoux told me that this wine has gotten more minerally in recent years. "There haven't been changes in winemaking, but it may be a matter or earlier picking," he explained.
($129) (Gaunoux buys grapes and must): Sexy, high-toned aromas of orange marmalade, honey and hazelnut, with a higher-pitched suggestion of orange oil. Creamy-sweet and pliant in the mouth, with soft citrus flavors nicely shaped by ripe acidity. Ultimately nicely dry if a bit exotic on the mouthcoating finish, with with lovely ripe acidity promising a slow evolution in bottle.
($129) Bright pale yellow. Reduced aroma of crushed stone and lime; more discreet today than the Goutte d'Or or Perrieres. Then dense and supple on the palate, combining cooler flavors of lemon-lime and powedered stone with the opulence of the vintage. Less showy than the Genevrieres but more structured and serious. The dry, stony finish displays a dusty, almost tannic, quality that suggests that this wine will need at least several years of bottle aging.
($129) (Gaunoux's 30-year-old vines are on mid-slope): Captivating aromas of spicy peach, nut oil and menthol lifted by acacia flower. Juicy-verging-on-bracing, with a distinctly bracing quality and terrific energy to the flavors of peach, flowers and stony minerality. Firmly built, strong and long. This is close to 14% alcohol, from small, millerande grapes that are virtually always picked first. Finishes with excellent thrust and power; in fact, this comes across as a bit aggressive following the suppler Meursaults.