Domaine Faiveley Nuits-Saint-Georges Aux Chaignots Premier Cru 1998
Founded in 1825, Bourgognes Faiveley has been handed down from father to son for over 175 years. As the sixth generation to take the reins, François Faiveley manages, with equal amounts passion and competence, the largest family domaine in Burgundy. Methodically reconstructing vineyards fractured by French inheritance laws, Bourgognes Faiveley today owns more appellations in their entirety (monopoles) than any other domaine in Burgundy.
"Faiveley’s wines are... supremely clean and elegant: definitive examples of Pinot Noir... above all they have richness and breed, the thumbprint of a master winemaker."
-Clive Coates M.W.
Côte d’Or, A Celebration of the Great Wines of Burgundy
Inhabiting the bottom end of the northern half of the Côte d’Or, Nuits-St-Georges is a busy, market-driven town and home to many of Burgundy’s negociants. It is also the largest town in the Côte d’Or after Beaune and contributes "nuits" to the name of Côte de Nuits (i.e., the northern half of the Côte d’Or).
The appellation itself is divided into two parts, where in the north it directly borders Vosne-Romanée, the southerly end is the commune of Prémeaux. There are no Grands Crus in this village, though it does have a large number of Premiers Crus.
The best Nuits-St-Georges Pinot noir are layered with cherry, plum, underbrush and sandalwood. The fruit is sweet, the wine energetic, and the finish long and lush.
One of the most finicky yet rewarding grapes to grow, Pinot Noir is a labor of love for many. However, the greatest red wines of Burgundy prove that it is unquestionably worth the effort. In fact, it is the only red variety permitted in Burgundy. Highly reflective of its terroir, Pinot Noir prefers calcareous soils and a cool climate, requires low yields to achieve high quality and demands a lot of attention in the vineyard and winery. It retains even more glory as an important component of Champagne as well as on its own in France’s Loire Valley and Alsace regions. This sensational grape enjoys immense international success, most notably growing in Oregon, California and New Zealand with smaller amounts in Chile, Germany (as Spätburgunder) and Italy (as Pinot Nero).
In the Glass
Pinot Noir is all about red fruit—strawberry, raspberry and cherry with some heftier styles delving into the red or purple plum and in the other direction, red or orange citrus. It is relatively pale in color with soft tannins and a lively acidity. With age (of which the best examples can handle an astounding amount) it can develop hauntingly alluring characteristics of fresh earth, savory spice, dried fruit and truffles.
Pinot’s healthy acidity cuts through the oiliness of pink-fleshed fish like salmon and tuna but its mild mannered tannins give it enough structure to pair with all sorts of poultry: chicken, quail and especially duck. As the namesake wine of Boeuf Bourguignon, Pinot noir has proven it isn’t afraid of beef. California examples work splendidly well with barbecue and Pinot Noir is also vegetarian-friendly—most notably with any dish that features mushrooms.
For administrative purposes, the region of Beaujolais is often included in Burgundy. But it is extremely different in terms of topography, soil and climate, and the important red grape here is ultimately Gamay, not Pinot noir. Truth be told, there is a tiny amount of Gamay sprinkled around the outlying parts of Burgundy (mainly in Maconnais) but it isn’t allowed with any great significance and certainly not in any Village or Cru level wines. So "red Burgundy" still necessarily refers to Pinot noir.