One of the great vineyards of Nuits, Gouges note that their parcels in Vaucrains always produce very small berries, making for a very powerful, intense wine. This is utterly beguiling, an absolute beauty, powerful and strong yet utterly seductive; initial floral hints of cherry blossom followed by wave after wave of ripe fruit on the palate, flavours of bramble, damson, black cherry, earth and spices. This may be suave, effusive and packed with fruit but the refined tannins add a firm grip to the wine. Long, deeply complex, very serious indeed.
Henri Gouges started Domaine-bottling in the 1920s and as such are one of Burgundy's pioneering estates. Henri's grandsons Pierre and Christian have been looking after production for the last two decades and have been responible for carving out the Domaine's great reputation for uniquely muscular, long-lived Burgundies. As from the 2007 vintage Gregory, Christian's nephew, who has been working at the Domaine since 2003, is making the wines and has made an immediate impact. His aim is for less extraction in the wines through a collection of numerous small details in the winemaking process, including more use of gravity in the cellars and less pumping of the wines. His changes are not totally wholesale, though, and he still clearly sticks to the Domaine's reserved, traditional approach to making wine. Stems are not included in fermentation but use of new oak is fairly limited. The resultant wines are pure, high-toned, certainly not flashy, and powerful but not unwieldy, they give immense pleasure. An exciting new dawn for a benchmark Burgundian Domaine.
A town in the northern part of the Côte d'Or that gave its name to the Côte de Nuits. Sitting on the southern edge of the Côte de Nuits, the town is the mini commercial hub of this part of the Côte d'Or, though much less significantly so than the Côte d'Or's capital, Beaune. Many négociants are based here and the town, like Beaune, also runs its own charity auction, the Hospices de Nuits, but on a much smaller scale.
The appellation Nuits-St-Georges lies both sides of the town, incorporating the vineyards of neighbouring Prémeaux-Prissey to the south. Typically Nuits-St-Georges are powerful, mineral, muscular and long-lived wines, however there is a distinct, widely accepted difference between the wines on the south side and those further north adjoinging Vosne-Romanée where the wines are silkier and more elegant, rather like those of its neighbour. There is more clay in the soil of the Prémeaux vineyards, making wines of less finesse and more prominent tannins.
Nuits boasts 27 Premier Cru vineyards but no Grands Crus, perhaps because at the time of the classifications in 1930 the town's leading vigneron, Henri Gouges, who was tasked to help classify the vineyards, was too concerned of being seen to favour vineyards in which he owned parcels. However, if the crown was to go to one Les St-Georges, on the south side of Nuits, would be it. Also particularly fine in the southern Nuits-St-Georges sector are Les Cailles and Les Vaucrains, both adjacent to Les St-Georges, while Aux Murgers and Aux Boudots on the Vosne-Romanée side and Les Argillières, Clos l'Arlot, and Clos de la Maréchale in Prémeaux can make great wine.
Small quantities of very rare white wine are made, too, from the Chardonnay grape, as in the Clos l'Arlot, and also from the Pinot Blanc grape in Gouges' Premier Cru Les Perrières. The town is home to a surprisingly small handful of well-reputed producers, namely Henri Gouges, Robert Chevillon, Domaine de l'Arlot, Patrice Rion, and Chauvenet, whilst there are many growers in neighbouring Vosne-Romanée who make outstanding examples of Nuits St Georges., and in Chambolle-Musigny, Freddy Mugnier is responsible for the great revival in fortunes of the spectacular Clos de la Maréchale vineyard.