Since first showcasing the Landanger wines from Domaine de la Pousse D’Or at my retail shops when the 2002s were released, I have shared this story with hundreds of Burgundy fans. And now that the 2011s are being offered “en premier”, it’s my pleasure to dust off the old pages from deep within this blog for another round…
To tell this story, we go back to 1855, when the original estate, known then as La Bousse d’Or (the golden Earth) was in its first glory days. At that time, this estate owned a vast amount of land by Burgundy standards. In its holdings were the entire vineyards of Romanee-Conti and Clos de Tart, two of the most illustrious Grand Crus in the world. Through the decades, the estate was sold and divided until the 1960s.
That’s when the estate came up for sale once again. And that time, a man by the name of Jean-Nicolas Ferte’ comes into the picture. Ferte’ was a man who loved to live. A man passionate about everything in life that was exquisite, especially great food and outstanding wine. A man they called a bon viveur. He had a niece, Florence, who intended to marry. The man of her intentions? Gerard Potel. Ferte’ “adopted” the young couple and set them up in their new abode.
Now you long-timers in this Burgundy business – and my clients who’ve read this tale before – know who Potel is. He is known the world over as one of the single greatest wine-makers in all of Burgundy. But before Potel became the Potel, he met Ferte’ and the niece, Florence, in Beaune. When the three of them came together, Potel was already a wine-maker, but not in Burgundy. But Ferte’ would drink only Burgundy, so he set out to find an estate to buy so as to complete this picture. He told all of his richest friends in the Cote D’Or to be on the watch for something suitable.
The man that would contact Ferte’ about the news of the perfect estate would be Mr. Ramonet. Ramonet sent a letter that the sale was to begin at a certain date but Ferte’, it seems, was on vacation. The letter never reached Ferte’. As the date came closer, Mr. Ramonet actually phoned to Ferte’ to announce the news. This was a moment in history – Ramonet hated using the phone!
The sale was completed by 1964, with about half of the former estate being sold to Ferte’ and his partners. The name was changed to Pousse D’Or, in accordance with French laws, and Potel was placed in charge of wine-making. For years, there were partners to deal with. Ferte’ had formed his partnership with his good friend Louis Seysses, the father of Jacques Seysses, the latter being another of the more famous names of Burgundy, as the wine-maker of Dujac.
Seysses and Potel – WOW that’s a dynamic duo – worked together for a few years at the new Pousse D’Or until 1978 or so when Seysses went full time at Dujac. But is wasn’t until 1985 after many years of trying to find the “right” group of buyers that Potel finally bought out the shares from that original partnership from the 1960s. And all through this time, Potel continued to make the greatest wines of the southern part of Burgundy, the Cote de Beaune, at this glorious Domaine de la Pousse D’Or.
Tragically, Gerard Potel died in 1997 and the entire wine world lost one of its greatest stars and most gentle souls. “His legacy absolutely must be carried on”, was the cry, and one man stepped in to carry the torch. That man is Patrick Landanger! He purchased the estate in 1997, invested hundreds of thousands, and hired a new team of professionals from vineyard to cellars.
Landanger is such a perfectionist, such a control freak, that he made the decision to only release the wines that he had complete control over. That meant he passed over the entire 1997 and 1998 vintages. His first complete vintage, the 1999s, set not only a new standard for Cote de Beaune wines, but a new standard for Pousse D’Or as well.
And when I tell you – as a long time collector of Burgundy dating back more than 2 decades – that you should very strongly consider these wines for your collection, I do so as a fellow enthusiast; as a man who knows how great a “great” Burgundy can be. And how rare they are to find….
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