Gevrey-Chambertin

For travellers coming from Dijon, Gevrey-Chambertin is where Burgundy’s Elysian Fields begin. At the entrance to the hollowed hill of Lavaux lies a château once the property of the monks of Cluny that resembles a fortified wine cellar. The canons of Langres, too, were for a long time guardians of these vineyards which can be dated back to the year 640 AD, evidence of a long and intimate involvement in the history of Burgundy’s wine industry. Gevrey-Chambertin forms a kind of guard of honour to a set of fabulous grands crus whose crown jewels are Chambertin and Clos De Bèze. The appellation dates from September 1936. The village of Brochon is an extension of Gevrey-Chambertin, sharing the same characteristics.

The Gevrey-Chambertin premiers crus occupy the upper portion of the Côte at heights of between 280 and 380 metres (brown limestone soils, rather shallow). Below are the village appellation vines on brown calcic or limey soils. The vines also reap the benefit of marls covered with screes and red silt washed down from the plateau. These stony mixtures confer elegance and delicacy on the wine while the clayey marls, which contain rich deposits of fossil shellfish, add body and firmness. Exposures vary from east to south-east.

In the first flush of youth the colour of Gevrey-Chambertin is a bright ruby, turning to deep carmine or dark cerise with age. Strawberry, mulberry, violet, mignonette, and rose all help to make up their bouquet of aromas. More maturity brings out liquorice and leather, with gamey notes and hints of underbrush. On the palate, they impress with their firm structure, velvety tannins and delicate texture. Gevrey-Chambertin wines are everything great Burgundy should be: full bodied, powerful, rich, and meaty. They have both body and spirit. Gevrey-Chambertin wines are everything a great Burgundy should be: full bodied, powerful, rich, and meaty. Pleasant when drunk young, they are nevertheless first and foremost wines for ageing, often for long periods. As such, they make an excellent basis for comparing different vintages.

This is a wine for the meat eater, its gamey notes give it a particular affinity for game, especially when the wine is more fully evolved. It also goes superbly with rib steak and braised lamb. It can even be served with a fillet of pikeperch (zander) or tuna in red wine sauce. It is at ease with all strong cow-milk cheeses, in particular Époisses, Ami du Chambertin (a local specialty) or Cîteaux (a near neighbour).
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