Arguably the most recognized of all the red Burgundy appellations as well as being one of the largest in the Cote de Nuits at around 420 hectares, which includes approximately 80ha of Premier and Grand Cru vineyards. Situated 30 mins drive north from Beaune, the large village of Gevrey-Chambertin sits astride the D974, and the 9 Grand Cru’s all lie to the left as you enter the village, the gentle 10-15 degree slopes of serried vines leading the eye up to the forest capped summits, a crucial element of protection from the harsh prevailing westerly winds.
Pinot Noir is king here, with the Jurassic limestone seen poking through the reddish clay, often mixed with pebbles and brown marl. The Premier and Grand Cru vineyards are all mid slope, where perfect drainage, sunnier aspect and thinner soils, often with a degree of iron present, give world class, richly structured red wines. The vineyards of Gevrey-Chambertin sit astride 2 minor fault lines, where Crinodial limestone buts up against Primeaux limestone, the pourous rock covered in scree and slope wash from centuries of erosion. Thicker soils lower down the slopes give more yield but less concentration, therefore the top producers prune their vines to limit yields, maximising concentration, as well as planting only on well drained, thinner soils and picking at the optimum point.
Criss-crossing the fields of vines are small stone walls, the sign of ‘Clos’ or separate climats of vineyards, owned by a single grower. Within these normally tiny demarcated vineyards some of the greatest wines in Burgundy are produced. The style of Gevrey is above all full bodied. The soils, aspect, vinification and nature of the appellation all combine to make Pinot Noir which is often firm and brooding when young and usually needs 7-10 years to develop. The lower yields of 50hl/ha (top producers will produce substantially less) for Gevrey are rarely reached, and the Grand Cru’s have a maximum limit of 35hl/ha, but for the greatest wines this can mean a wine which needs 15-20 years to really develop and show its breathtaking perfume, richness, breeding and power.