Fixin, exceptional Terroirs

As is the case all along the Côte de Nuits, the terroirs of the Fixin appellation slowly came into being over geological time.
The tropical seas that covered the region from two hundred to one hundred and thirty-five million years ago allowed the deposit of the marl and limestone layers on which the vines grow today.
The relief of the Côte is due to a stretching of the continental crust thirty million years ago. The Jurassic rocks were then fractured in wide strips, parallel to the Saône valley.
During the Quaternary, at least, periods with contrasted climates have alternated. The coldest period, twenty thousand years ago, hollowed out the "combes”, the valleys that cut into the relief of the Côte. The materials dragged out of the overlying plateaus accumulated at the outlets of these valleys, giving today’s vines an ideal substratum with good drainage for their cultivation.
The Pinot Noir grape is here in perfect harmony with the soil and subsoil, and reveals the quintessence of the terroirs.

Terroir Diversity

Three geological units can be identified over the area of the appellation Fixin.
The upper part of the hillside vineyards of the appellation Fixin shows clear dominance of the Mid-Jurassic crinoidal limestone.
The subsoil of the mid-part of the slope is made up of Lower Jurassic (Lias) sandy marl.
At the outlet of the "combes” that cut into the Côte, stone-rich alluvial fan deposits form an excellent substratum for growing wine, spreading out at the bottom of the hillside vineyard of the appellation Fixin.

Close-up view of crinoidal limestone (debris of marine animals of the Echinoderm family that can be star-shaped) Vineyard soil on an alluvial fan, with abundant limestone pebbles.

Fixin Premier Crus

Clos de la Perrière

The clos was created by the monks of Cîteaux. Classified as "tête de cuvée” (first rank of wine at that time), this wine, during the last few centuries, may have contributed to the elaboration of Chambertin. The place name comes from "petrara”, a name dating from the twelfth century, meaning a quarry. La Perrière, as well as other Burgundian lieux-dits with the same name, designates a twelfth century quarry. Here, the quarry was used to build the winery on the estate.

As evidenced by the nature of the rock in the quarry exploited by the Cistercian monks, the substratum of the Clos de la Perrière is mostly made up of crinoidal limestone. Comblanchien limestone outcrops at the top. The soil is rather thin but rich in stones on the upper part of the hillside.

The Clos de la Perrière and its manor (a former Cistercian winery) in the background

Clos du Chapitre

Like the famous Clos de Bèze, the Clos du Chapitre belonged to the cathedral chapter of Langres. It is located just to the east of the Clos de la Perrière.

The upper part of this climat lies over crinoidal limestone (Mid-Jurassic) whereas the subsoil of the lower part is made up of sandy marl (Lias, Lower Jurassic).

Fixin Premier Crus

Clos NapoleonFor the cadastral survey, the lieu-dit is named Les Cheusots, but Claude Noisot gave it another name in honour of the Emperor.

This gently sloping climat lies over crinoidal limestone (Mid-Jurassic) in its western part, and over sandy marl (Lias, Lower Jurassic) in its eastern part.

The Clos Napolon with the church St Martin of Fixin in the background

Les Hervelets et les Arvelets

The spelling varies, but these place names have the same origin: the "arves” (Celtic root) designate rivers.

The subsoil of both lieux-dits is made up of crinoidal limestone (Mid-Jurassic). The soils are thin and stone-rich in the upper part of the hillside vineyard and thicker and richer in silt downslope, where colluvium (gravity deposits) accumulates.

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