Appellation du Jour | Gevrey-Chambertin

January 07, 2019

Appellation du Jour | Gevrey-Chambertin

Today’s appellation spotlight is on Gevrey Chambertin in the Côte de Nuits region of  Burgundy, France. The Côte de Nuits is the northern half of the Cote d'Or wine region in Burgundy (the southern half being the Cote de Beaune). It specializes in red wines made predominantly from Pinot Noir, the most famous and expensive of which come from the Grand Cru vineyards of Vosne-Romanée and Chambolle-Musigny.

Roughly 95% of all wine produced in the Cote de Nuits comes from a single variety: Pinot Noir. The district is widely viewed as the 'spiritual home' of Pinot Noir, a reputation strongly reinforced by such stellar wines as Romanee-Conti Grand Cru.

Gevrey-Chambertin – a village in Burgundy's Côte de Nuits district – produces some of the world's most prestigious and expensive red wines. The village is home to nine grand cru vineyards, comfortably more than any other Burgundy village (the nearest contender is Vosne-Romanée). Eight of these feature "Chambertin" somewhere in their name, in homage to the most respected among them: Le Chambertin.

Although the grand cru wines attract the most attention, those made under the village's standard Gevrey-Chambertin appellation are held in very high regard. Just like their big grand cru brothers, all Gevrey-Chambertin wines are made almost exclusively from Pinot Noir. Widely regarded as being Burgundy's most full-bodied and structured, the village's wines have a particular intensity of color, aroma and flavor about them, not to mention impressive longevity. Well-made examples can develop in the bottle for several decades. These qualities, combined with the village's solid reputation and relatively large production volumes, have earned Gevrey-Chambertin a reputation as the "king" of Burgundy wines.

The grand cru vineyards lie just to the south of the village, on the mid-slopes of the Côte d'Or escarpment. These nine distinct climats, each with its own appellation, collectively occupy a 1640ft-wide (500m) belt between the village and its boundary with Morey-Saint-Denis. The grand cru climats produce the commune's most expensive wines. The premier cru vineyards are located just west of the village, on the higher slopes of the Côte d'Or, at elevations of 820–1150ft (250–350m). The most respected of these are Clos Saint-Jacques and Les Cazetiers, both of which are regularly cited as being of grand cru quality. To the east and north lie the swathes of village-level vineyards, which produce more wine each year than almost any other Côte d'Or commune.

The Gevrey-Chambertin appellation covers more than 2 million bottles of wine per vintage, produced from 1075 acres (435ha) of vineyards. This figure includes all premier cru wines, but not the grand cru wines, which have their own separate appellations. 

The village was originally called just Gevrey, but in 1847 the parish council added the name of the most prestigious local vineyard, Le Chambertin. This started a trend that ran the length of the Côte d'Or, right down to the "Montrachets" (Puligny and Chassagne) in the south. There are now 11 Coôte d'Or villages whose names refer to their most prestigious vineyard site.

Charmes-Chambertin is one of Gevrey-Chambertin's lesser-known grand cru sites, located on the Côte d'Or right below the famous Le Chambertin climat itself. Often refered to alongside the Mazoyères-Chambertin vineyard, Charmes-Chambertin makes some of the softer Pinot Noir wines from Gevrey-Chambertin's stretch of grand cru vineyards.

The vineyard occupies the lowest and most shallow slopes of the grand cru belt, close to the border with Morey-Saint-Denis. The soils in the vineyard are well-drained and stony, with a thin layer of pebble-strewn chalky topsoil over a deep, rocky base. The percentage of clay reduces slightly towards the higher edge of the site, giving way to drier, looser limestone.

Due to subtle topographical changes along the slopes, Charmes-Chambertin faces a few points north of east, meaning that its vines are not so fully exposed to the morning sunshine. This contributes to the fresher, lighter style of its wines, which are best consumed at an earlier age than those of its neighbors. Charmes is surrounded by climats that produce structured, full-bodied and ageworthy wines, and its reputation has suffered somewhat as a result of this juxtaposition. Some wine critics have openly questioned the validity of its grand cru status.

Charmes-Chambertin was classified as a grand cru site in 1937, along with its eight grand cru neighbors, all of whom have the Chambertin suffix. In the 19th Century, all the climats surrounding the esteemed Chambertin site began to take on the famous name, as permitted by Napoleonic law. Wines made on the neighboring Mazoyères-Chambertin site may also take the Charmes-Chambertin name, although this does not apply in reverse.

Among the most respected producers of Gevrey-Chambertin wines include Domaine Armand Rousseau, Domaine Fourrier, Domaine Leroy and Domaine Trapet Père et Fils. Naturally, the large negociant houses include the village in their holdings; the portfolios of Louis Jadot and Domaine Faiveley both feature a Chambertin Grand Cru wine, several premier cru wines and an "entry-level" village wine.

If you are interesting in wines from Gevrey-Chambertin, click here >


Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.