Fixin, in the shadow of  Napoléon

From the Middle Ages to the French Revolution (1789)

Dominated by its two churches, St Antoine from the tenth century and St Martin from the fourteenth century, the commune has been growing vines for a very long time.

The village of Fixin belonged to the canons of Langres. The vineyards of Le Chapitre and Les Arvelets were owned by the cathedral chapter of Langres.

The Clos de la Perrière is also very old. A manuscript dated 1197 mentions the quarry of La Perrière as being owned by the abbey of Citeaux. The vat-house (or what would become the vat-house) became the property of Citeaux in 1142 by donation from the Duke of Burgundy. The monks used the building as a hospice for the oldest brothers.

A manuscript dated 1518 accurately describes the estate at that time. The whole is made up of the vines, an enclosed garden, the quarry, a set of buildings enclosed with two doors and a main building including two or three terraced houses. 
Several cellars, the screw-press and a jail are overlain by a kitchen and a series of rooms, including a chapel and the governor’s room. As with the Clos de Vougeot, a large quarry was associated to a Cistercian wine-producing estate.

The domain was sold in 1622 to Jean Bouhier, of a rich Burgundian family, and in 1741 became the property of the Lopin de Montmort family.

The tower, a belated addition, comes from a building in Dijon that was destroyed in the nineteenth century.

The Modern Era

The Fixin appellation was marked by Claude Noisot (1781, 1861), a soldier and then captain of the Imperial Guard under Napoleon I. He paid homage to the Emperor by creating the Clos Napoleon. Noisot Park and Manor still dominate the village today with the famous statue by François Rude of Napoleon Awaking to Immortality.

The reputation of the wines of Fixin rapidly gained in importance: up to the end of the eighteenth century, the wines were as famous as those of the neighbouring village, Gevrey-Chambertin.

During the nineteenth century, when quantity was the rule, the Marquis of Montmort, owner of the Clos de la Perrière, strove to maintain quality by diminishing the yield of the vines by reducing the number of grapes per vine. His action was crucial in heightening awareness of this need for quality. This has allowed the wines of Fixin to acquire the prestige that they have at present, from the beginning of the twentieth century.

In 1855, Jules Lavalle classified the Clos des Perrières among the "têtes de cuvées” (first class quality for wines at the time). "They are coloured, very spirituous, and they can be kept longer than any other wine from the Côte d’Or. When ageing, they gain, like all the great wines of the Côte de Gevrey, the bouquet that forms the pleasure of the wines of Burgundy, and ranks them in first place among all the wines in the world. The 

Marquis of Monmort used to sell his wines at the same price as Chambertin”.

These great domains, by working hard to develop the best "crus”, have helped to establish the "Premier Crus”, obtained along with the Fixin Village appellation in 1936.

Based on a long wine-producing tradition that has allowed its terroirs to be accurately defined, Fixin, at the dawn of the third millennium, is turned inexorably towards the future. 

Etudes et cartes :
Françoise Vannier-Petit
Photographies :
Françoise Vannier-Petit,
Valérie Huguenot Office de tourisme du canton de Gevrey-Chambertin