Pierre Gelin Gevrey-Chambertin Clos Prieur premier Cru 2015
Red Burgundy might be the world’s most flexible food wine. The wine’s high acidity, medium body, medium alcohol, and low tannins make it very food friendly. Red Burgundy, with its earthy and sometimes gamey character, is a classic partner to roasted game birds, grilled duck breast, and dishes that feature mushrooms, black truffles, or are rich in umami.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
As it usually is, this is notably more elegant with its admirably pure nose of spicy, violet, earth and dark berry liqueur-like aromas. The more refined middle weight flavors possess a lovely mouthfeel and good minerality that really comes up on the delicious, attractively textured and solidly complex finish. Worth considering.
Domaine Pierre Gelin is the leading wine producer in the small village of Fixin (pronounced “Fees-an”). The domaine has 32 acres within Fixin and in nearby Gevrey-Chambertin, including holdings in five of Fixin’s eight premier crus. They are the monopole owner of one of the very best Fixin premier crus, the Clos Napoléon. The family domaine was founded in 1925 by its namesake Pierre Gelin and is currently in the hands of Pierre’s grandson, Pierre-Emmanuel. Pierre-Emmanuel farms organically and works to minimize the impact on the environment in both vineyard and cellar. Domaine Pierre Gelin endeavors to produce wines that are “pure and honest.” Fixin is a quiet village sitting at the northern end of the Côte de Nuits, just a short half-hour drive from the center of Dijon. Fixin became an AOC in 1936 with 222 acres of vines and eight premier crus. Almost all the village’s production is red, and the wines tend to be robust, structured, and earthy. Domaine Pierre Gelin owns 32 acres in total, including parcels in five of the Fixin premier crus and the monopole Clos Napoléon. In 1961 Pierre also purchased vineyards in Gevrey-Chambertin, including the monopole Clos de Meixvelle, Clos Prieur 1er cru, and the Grand Cru Clos de Bèze. The Gelin family invested in a larger, more efficient winery, which was upgraded and ready for the 2011 harvest. “The new winery allows us more flexibility during harvest, as well as the technology to increase wine quality,” says Pierre-Emmanuel. The wines of Domaine Pierre Gelin have always been de-stemmed with a long cuvaison of 8-10 days and a judicious use of oak. Only indigenous yeasts are used for fermentation which takes place in stainless-steel and oak tanks. Malolactic fermentation occurs in barrel and the wines are aged for 20-24 months in varying percentages of new oak: up to 80% new oak for the Grand Cru, and 25% new for the premier crus. They use older barrels for village wines.
This small village is home to the Grands Crus in the farthest northerly stretches of Côte de Nuits and is famous for some of the deepest and firmest Burgundian Pinot Noir.
Gevrey boasts nine Grands Crus, the best of which are arguably Le Chambertin and Chambertin-Clos de Bèze. As with all of the fragmented vineyards of Burgundy, it isn’t easy to differentiate between the two, which are situated adjacent with Clos de Bèze slightly further up the hill than Le Chambertin. Clos de Bèze has a shallower soil and if you’re really counting, may produce wines less intense but more likely to charm. Some compare Le Chambertin in both power and plentitude only to the prized Romanée-Conti Grand Cru farther south in Vosne-Romanée.
Two other Grands Crus vineyards, Mazis-Chambertin (also written Mazy-) and Latricières-Chambertin command almost as much regard as Le Chambertin and Chambertin-Clos de Bèze. The upper part of Mazy, called Les Mazis Haut is the best and Latricières-Chambertin offers an abundance of juicy fruit and a silky texture in the warmer vintages.
Other Grands Crus are Ruchottes-Chambertin, Charmes-Chambertin, Mazoyères-Chambertin, Griotte-Chambertin and Chapelle-Chambertin.
The most respected Pinot Noir wines from Gevrey-Chambertin are robust and powerful but at the same time, velvety and expressive: black fruit, black liquorice and chocolate come into play. After some time in the bottle, the wines are harmonious with bright and sometimes candied fruit, and aromas of musk, truffle and forest floor. These have staying power.
Thin-skinned, finicky and temperamental, Pinot Noir is also one of the most rewarding grapes to grow and remains a labor of love for some of the greatest vignerons in Burgundy. Fairly adaptable but highly reflective of the environment in which it is grown, Pinot Noir prefers a cool climate and requires low yields to achieve high quality. Outside of France, outstanding examples come from in Oregon, California and throughout specific locations in wine-producing world. Somm Secret—André Tchelistcheff, California’s most influential post-Prohibition winemaker decidedly stayed away from the grape, claiming “God made Cabernet. The Devil made Pinot Noir.”