Domaine Henri Gouges Les Chaignots is a 1er Cru produced in the north of the appellation. The vines are grown on a grassy hillside in clay and limestone soils, made all the richer via nutrient rich deposits from the Combe de la Serée river, descending from the Hautes-Côtes. The grapes are full destemmed (as is the case for all Henri Gouges wines). Fruit forward and pure.
Domaine Henri Gouges is one of the most highly regarded domaines in Nuits-St-Georges. The domaine itself possesses 14.5ha of vinyards, including parcels in six Nuit-St-Georges 1er Crus.
Originally known as Nuits, then Nuits-sous-Beaune, in 1892 it opted to append it’s name to one of its most important vineyards, Les St.Georges. The most obvious though, is the lending of it’s name to the entire Cote which fittingly ends there (or starts if coming from the south). The commune has no Grand Cru vineyards, a diplomatic decision made by the mayor of the time Henri Gouges in preferring not to single out any vineyard for the highest status.
The appellation falls into two parts, divided by the town itself with the northern section extending to Vosne-Romanée, and the southern section which is partly in Nuits-Saint-Georges and partly in Premeaux. The wines vary according to their provenance - The wines with the most finesse are in the north (associated with Vosne), the richest and most sought-after are those just south of Nuits-St Georges with those lighter in body, in the south around the village of Prémeaux.
The red wines of Nuits-Saint-Georges generally have a deep, dark robe. The powerful, complex nose blends cherry, blackcurrant, fur, truffle, and often spices. These are among Burgundy's most tannic wines, and their balancing roundness makes them full-bodied and solid.
“And lastly, to crown the repast, Ardan had brought out a fine bottle of Nuits, which was found ‘by chance’ in the provision-box. The three friends drank to the union of the earth and her satellite.”
Around the Moon by Jules Verne
The book and passage served as inspiration for the Apollo15 astronauts, who in 1971 christened the crater closest to their landing site, Saint Georges. At the base of the crater, along with a bit of Texan soil, they placed a label of Nuits-Saint-Georges cuvée Terre-Lune.
Along with Armand Rousseau in Gevrey Chambertin and Sem d'Angerville in Volnay, Henri Gouges in Nuits-Saint-Georges - which began in 1919 after Henri returned from the war and insisted his father sell him his vines - was one of the first producers to domaine bottle his own wines for commercial purposes rather than sell the fruit to the large negociant houses. Henri Gouges owns 14.50 hectares of vines with the 12 hectares of Nuits-Saint-Georges Premier Crus remaining unchanged since the 1930s. Along with Robert Chevillon, Gouges should be considered the most renowned domaine based in Nuits-Saint-Georges focussed solely on making wines from this important commune.
Cousins Pierre and Christian Gouges, grandsons of the original Henri and now retired, ran the domaine from 1986 with Pierre's son, Gregory taking over making the family's wines from 2007 and Antoine - Gregory's cousin, joining the domaine in 2017. And while a new, pump-free and gravity-fed winery was built in 2007, the style at Henri Gouges hasn’t changed a lot over the years. The wines are destemmed as Gouges believes that while stems provide good tannic support, Nuits-Saint-Georges doesn’t need them and only about 20% new wood is used in the elevage. These are structured, earthy and classic old school Nuits-Saint-Georges that will reward those with the patience to hold onto and cellar them properly.