L’appellation Gevrey-Chambertin

In the heart of the Côte de Nuits, the appellation extends over the commune of Gevrey-Chambertin and over the southern part of that of Brochon. The hillside vineyard is here deeply cut by the Combe Lavaux, whose wine-producing role is important as much for the soil distribution as for the local climatic conditions.

The appellation Gevrey-Chambertin is great in both size and reputation. The vine is cultivated here over more than 1360 acres (i.e. 550 hectares). The Pinot Noir grape is the only one authorised for the appellation Gevrey-Chambertin, fully dedicated to red wines.

An Exceptional Hierarchy

Gevrey-Chambertin holds the record for the number of Premier Crus and Grand Crus. The creation of the appellations in 1936 gave Gevrey-Chambertin nine of the thirty-three Grand Crus of Burgundy along with twenty-six Premier Crus.

Grand Gru 218 acres

Gevrey-Chambertin Premier Cru 211 acres

Gevrey-Chambertin Village 890 acres

Gevrey-Chambertin: relative proportions of the hierarchy levels

Nine Grand Crus:

Ruchottes-Chambertin (8.16 acres)

Chapelle-Chambertin (13.55 acres)

Griotte-Chambertin (6.65 acres)

Charmes-Chambertin (30.26 acres)

Mazoyères-Chambertin (45.93 acres)

Latricières-Chambertin (18.17 acres)

Chambertin-Clos de Bèze (38.04 acres)

Chambertin (31.88 acres)

Mazis-Chambertin (22.49 acres)

Twenty-six Gevrey-Chambertin Premier crus:

La Bossière, La Romanée, Poissenot, Estournelles-Saint-Jacques, Les Cazetiers,
Clos du Chapitre, Clos Saint-Jacques, Champeaux, Petits Cazetiers, Combe au Moine, Les Goulots, Aux Combottes, Bel-Air, Cherbaudes, Petite Chapelle, En Ergot, Clos Prieur, La Perrière, Au Closeau, Issarts, Les Corbeaux, Craipillot, Fonteny, Champonnet.

Map of the appellations of Gevrey-Chambertin

The Imprint of Terroir

The Pinot Noir grape is exceptionally well adapted to the diversity and quality of great terroir and has thus contributed to the seniority and notoriety of the wines of the appellation Gevrey-Chambertin.
Each Gevrey possesses some of the characteristics of its place of origin. The subtle nuances of slope, altitude, exposure, soils and subsoil harmonise with minute climatic variations, and express themselves successfully in each of the crus, wrought by each vintage, and revealed by the winegrower.

The Grand Crus

The nine Grand Crus appear one after the other along the southern hillside of the appellation Gevrey-Chambertin. The very light-coloured

Prémeaux and Comblanchien limestones and the ochre tones of crinoidal limestone dominate the subsoils of the Grand Crus. The soil is very rich in stones, even downslope.

The wines are deep and intense in colour, in the darkest tones of ruby, with purplish shadows. The extreme variety of aromas is richly revealed, exploring the range of red fruits, liquorice, spices, flowers and undergrowth. The palate, powerful, opulent and elegant, opens up completely to a full, voluptuous consistency, of great complexity.
Patience is necessary with these wines which will unveil their best secrets after many years.

The Premier Crus

The Premier Crus are in different locations: on the northern hillside between the villages of Brochon and Gevrey-Chambertin, at the outlet of the Combe Lavaux, and just to the south of the village of Gevrey-Chambertin, side by side with the Grand Crus. Exposure, altitude and slope vary from one Premier Cru to another. The nature of the subsoil also varies. Crinoidal limestone is predominant (e.g. Champeaux, Clos Prieur, and most of Les Cazetiers), but the Premier Crus can also be found on other substrata: Prémeaux Limestone (Fonteny, part of Lavaut-Saint-Jacques), Comblanchien limestone (Petite Chapelle), alluvial fan deposits (part of Les Corbeaux).

The beautiful ruby colour acquires a darker hue as it ages. The nose opens on a bouquet of fruits (strawberry and blackberry), flowers (rose, violet and reseda) with richer notes of liquorice, leather and undergrowth over time. The palate is full and powerful, highly structured, the tannins are velvety. Born to last, the Gevrey-Chambertin Premier Crus can be appreciated for their fruit in their youth and for their ability to age as time goes by.

The Villages

The appellation Gevrey-Chambertin Village extends over two main sectors.

To the north of the village of Gevrey, crinoidal limestone is predominant in the upper part of the hillside vineyards (Les Evocelles).
Sandy marl dated from the Lias (Lower Jurassic) frames the Route des Grands Crus (part of En Champs, Jeunes Rois, and En Vosne).

To the east of the village of Gevrey-Chambertin, the huge alluvial fan at the outlet of the Combe Lavaux is the substratum of many lieux-dits (Les Crais, La Justice, La Brunelle, and Aux Corvées). At the east of the Grand Cru hillside, the Gevrey-Chambertin Villages appellation lies either over alluvial fan deposits or over Comblanchien limestone (Les Epointures and Champs Chenys).

The wines from these lieux-dits all have their own personality, but a common structure links them to the Gevrey-Chambertin appellation.
The colour is a beautiful deep red. Fruit and floral notes dominate the
nose which acquires fur, leather, wild game and undergrowth notes
over time. On the palate, Pinot Noir expresses in Gevrey-Chambertin
Village all its complexity, with substance and consistency, a fully present
structure and rounded tannins. This wine will be appreciated as much
in its youth as after some years of ageing.

The Grand Crus

Wine-tasting notes adapted from Jacky Rigaux, (2008).

Chambertin-Clos de Bèze (38.04 acres)
The soul of terroir

Its finesse is evident from the start; its complexity is of rare intensity; its breeding is obvious and its delicacy extreme. The scents of blackcurrant, cherry, raspberry and liquorice gaily attack our nostrils. The consistency and texture of the wine are regal. Its ageing potential is phenomenal. The Clos de Bèze can even seem more concentrated than Chambertin which came later into the spotlight. It is always more
accessible in its youth, its finesse expresses itself more quickly, with the exquisite cherry aroma that persists for a very long time, and a brilliant note of white pepper that underlines a shiny minerality.

Chambertin (31.88 acres)
The powerful breed

Chambertin has been celebrated for several centuries as the most perfect of the wines of Burgundy (Abbé Arnoux, 1728; Dr Morelot, 1831; J. Lavalle, 1855; Gaston Roupnel). The colour is dark; this is the most intense of the Grand Crus of Burgundy with beautiful hints of purple in its youth. The nose reveals a masterful perfume, of rare complexity. Texture and suppleness are present from the attack on
the palate. The consistency is splendid, the length exceptional, the minerality perfectly shaped with great vivacity. Chambertin deftly reflects all the facets of its terroir with obvious breeding. Its stately
vigour requires many years to be tamed and to yield all its power.

Mazis-Chambertin (22.49 acres)
The rival of the Chambertin

This Grand Cru is undoubtedly the rival closest in power and ageing ability to its neighbour, Chambertin. A deep and intense colour, bright and brilliant, rich and complex aromas, well-marked tannins, but without harshness; it is an opulent wine, powerful and velvety with a royal balance. Very consistent and well structured, its typicality is underlined by hints of red fruits through which emerge leather and liquorice too, as the wine ages. Floral notes are often present, particularly wild rose. When at its peak, this Grand Cru reveals a dense, brilliant and very harmonious mouthfeel, of great breeding, with masterful typicity.

Ruchottes-Chambertin (8.16 acres)
Velvety tenderness

"At the top, to the right, all along the pathway of the Côte, are displayed the most glorious places of all. Here first is the Ruchottes, with its brilliant wine.” Gaston Roupnel employs the right words. Brilliant in colour, brilliant on the nose, with royal elegance, exquisite finesse, great clearness and intensity, brilliant on the palate
with intense persistence, often tenderly spiced at the finish. With more texture and suppleness than structure, but with viscosity and body, the wines from Les Ruchottes always astonish with their wonderful balance.

Chapelle-Chambertin (13.55 acres)
Grace in elation

Chapelle-Chambertin is one of the most sensual wines of Burgundy. With slightly less body than Mazis, Clos de Bèze and Chambertin, it is true, but what exquisite body, what astonishing finesse, with a bouquet of wild rose and cherry that persists for a long time when the greatness of the vintage combines with the talent of the wine-grower! More in finesse than in power, it is, with Les Ruchottes-Chambertin, the most "Chambolle” of the wines of Gevrey! A great deal of complexity, possibly more in texture than in consistency, but very harmonious and very long, it is the soul of exquisite finesse.

Griotte-Chambertin (6.65 acres)
Captivating sensualit

The delicate wines of Griotte are naturally endowed with tannins, rounded, but beautifully compensating a natural acidity that is less sustained than in Charmes or Chambertin. Every wine-lover is fascinated by the subtle balance between tannins, acidity and mellowness that asserts itself even in youth inviting one to taste it as soon as it is bottled. But what taffeta, what velvet, what intensity of flavours and perfumes on the palate lie in store for those who have learnt patience.

It is undeniably an artist’s wine which allows time to bring to fruition the subtle notes of cherry in compote, the exquisite touch of violets, a graceful and matchless minerality. Griotte-Chambertin rivalises in wealth and intensity with Chambertin and Chambertin Clos de Bèze, but reaches maturity more rapidly. Its slightly low acidity is compensated by intense, harmonious tannins.

Charmes-Chambertin (30.26 acres)
Velvety power

The wines of Charmes are very colourful, with nice bluish or purplish shades in their youth. Their consistency, their fleshy roundness, their very great length are also much appreciated. The higher up the hillside vineyard one goes, the more the wine’s elegance asserts itself, the more its structure becomes palpable, its viscosity subtle, with exquisite vivacity that brightens up so well the texture of a Grand Cru! Great elegance and finesse are associated with dense tannins. As the wine ages, its bouquet asserts itself with beautiful hints of violet, liquorice, vanilla, coffee beans and even quince. Its texture is exquisite, velvety and dense. Its aromatic persistency is impressive in its intensity.

Mazoyères-Chambertin (45.93 acres)
The elegance of power

The further up the hillside vineyard, the more the finesse of the wine asserts itself, the more obvious is its consistency and the more its suppleness blends harmoniously with the vivacity and minerality of the wine.

A rich composition, with stately consistency, velvety texture, aromatic complexity, ability to age when the vintage permits, Mazoyères openly lays claim to its status as a Grand Cru. It may even be very tannic when the vintage so decides. Yet it is a cru that remains very elegant with wonderful roundness. The best vintages may be laid down in the cellar for a lengthy period of ageing.

Latricières-Chambertin (18.17 acres)
Sublime consistency

It is a cru that blends grace with vigour, associating strength with delicacy, exhaling a bouquet of unprecedented complexity. The wine requires time to settle down in order to accede to the exquisite sensation of velvet that envelops our taste buds so harmoniously.
The flavours are remarkably well balanced, with symmetry between tannins and excellent acidity associated to an impression of mellowness, more in length than in concentration. In the great vintages, its radiant breeding allows a very floral bouquet to bloom, with the most exquisite minerality.

The sommelier

Total freedom!
The myriad facets of the wines of Gevrey-Chambertin, reflecting the mosaic of terroirs from which they spring, and the individuality of the vintage and the mark of the wine-grower, allow an incredible range of associations with a great variety of dishes of diverse geographic origins.

The Grand Crus

The power, complexity and structure of the Gevrey-Chambertin Grand Crus instinctively destine them for the noblest dishes. Game meat is excellent, but the wines will also harmonise with lamb in sauce, coq au vin, lacquered poultry and of course the indispensible prime rib of beef. Washed rind cheeses blend well with the powerful, aromatic persistency of these wines.

Best served at 12 to 14°C for a young wine, and 15 to 16°C for an older wine.

The Premier Crus
Prime rib of beef, lamb braised or in sauce, all kinds of game: the range of dishes to accompany a Gevrey-Chambertin Premier Cru is broad. Do not hesitate to serve it with perch fillets or tuna with a red wine sauce.
Premier Crus wines that have been aged will go perfectly with game.
The Gevrey-Chambertin Premier Cru is at ease with all types of cow’s cheese and inescapable with local cheeses such as Epoisses, Ami du Chambertin and Cîteaux.
Best served at 15 to 16°C

The Village appellation
The diversity of aromas and flavours on the palate of the Village appellation favours endless gastronomic variations. Red meat, grilled or cooked in sauce, poulty in sauce, and all types of cheese will harmonise beautifully with a Gevrey-Chambertin Village.Best served at 15 to 16°C.

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

Commentaires de dégustation gracieusement fournis par Jacky Rigaux, in «Gevrey-Chambertin, joyau du terroir», Christian Bon et Jacky Rigaux, édition Terres en vues, 2008.
Les accords mets-vins sont extraits de «Le guide des appellations, tout savoir sur les vins de Bourgogne, 74 fiches descriptives», édité par le Bureau Interprofessionnel des Vins de Bourgogne (BIVB).