“For fifteen years the Emperor [Napoleon] constantly drank the same wine [Gevrey-Chambertin] , which he liked and which we believed was good for him."
Mémorial de Sainte-Hélène by The Count of Las Cases
Gevrey-Chambertin is the largest wine-producing village in the entire Côte d’Or with the wines typically deeper in colour, with more tannin structure and firmer in body than most red Burgundy. Thanks to the iron-rich clay soils the very best can develop into the richest, biggest and long-lived Pinot Noir - this of course depends on whether the vineyard is located on the steeper slopes or the flatter, richer soils.
Gevrey boasts an impressive nine Grands Crus, with the name of Chambertin retaining a regal omnipresence throughout its finest vineyard names. Chambertin-Clos de Bèze which has the right to sell its wines simply as ‘Chambertin’, and is also the only wine allowed to put the ‘Chambertin’ before (rather than after its own), is considered one of the greats. Quality-wise the next best is generally acknowledged to be Mazis-Chambertin with incredibly concentrated and fine wines, but a little less firm than Le Chambertin. The tiny Griottes-Chambertin, which owes its name to the grill-pan shape of the vineyard rather than the wine’s griotte (sour) cherry aroma, is lower down the slope and boasts a velvety texture and rich fruit reminiscent of Chambertin itself. Gevrey’s largest Grand Cru, Charmes-Chambertin is pure and seductive.
The wines of Gevrey-Chambertin are deeply colored. They have intense aromas of currants and other small red and black fruits, animal notes of musk and fur, and often a touch of licorice after some bottle aging. They are powerful, with balanced tannins, a soft mouthfeel and good acidity. These are generally robust wines.
Domaine de la Vougeraie, based in Premeaux just south of Nuits St Georges, was created in 1999 when Jean-Claude Boisset of the Boisset Group pulled together all of the various vineyard holdings which he had purchased over the years for his negociant business. The idea from the beginning was to create a no expenses spared domaine and Pascal Marchand - a native of Montreal who was the winemaker at Comte Armand at the time - was employed to not only make the wines but to oversee the conversion of Vougeraie's then 36ha to organic and then to biodynamic cultivation.
Marchand left in 2005 and Pierre Vincent's approach was to make less extracted and less oaky wines than his predecessor. While Vincent left in 2016 to join Domaine Leflaive, the winemaking team of François Lécaillon and general director Sylvie Poillot, have continued Vincent's gentler handling of the fruit while at the same time reducing the use of oak even more with only 25% new wood for the Grand Crus.
With 46 hectares of vineyard across 35 different appellations, including six grand crus (Musigny, Bonnes Mares, Clos Vougeot, Charmes Chambertin, Mazoyères, Corton, Corton Charlemagne, Bienvenues Batard, Batard Montrachet and Chevalier Montrachet) this important and large domaine keeps going from strength to strength.