The vinification is equally traditional: the grapes are destemmed 100%, there is a cold maceration extending at times to five days, the cuvaison unfolds over a 15 to 21 day period (depending on the “cru” and the vintage) under temperature-controlled conditions; the wine is then racked into barrel where the malo-lactic fermentation occurs and the wines are aged for approximately 16 months on the fine lees in small oak barrels (a certain percentage of which is new – more new oak for the more important, structured cuvées) before being bottled without filtration. The domaine recommends that their wines be decanted before service.
The Domaine Harmand-Geoffroy offers us the opportunity to immerse ourselves in the terroir of Gevrey Chambertin as the range of wines covers many of the most important vineyard sites in this fabled village.
|Bourgogne “La Nouroy”: From a quarter-hectare parcel of 30 plus year-old vines planted on the eastern side of the village of Gevrey; vinified a la the family method just like the more prominent appellations with a long, slow fermentation to obtain the fine extracts of pinot noir; this tiny parcel produces just enough wine to afford us access to 100 cases or so per year.|
|Gevrey Chambertin: An “uber-classic” Gevrey sourced from multiple small parcels (covering more than four hectares) throughout the village which enables the wine to capture the true nature of this grand appellation; the youngest vines for this cuvée are 25 years of age with the oldest being 80 years old (calculated as of 2011). Rich, yet graceful, this Gevrey shows the wild berry fruit and charming rusticity that are the hallmarks of true Gevrey Chambertin. Depending on harvest levels, there are 100 to 200 cases available annually for the US market.|
|Gevrey Chambertin En Jouise: A lovely wine produced from very old vines (between 60 and 80 years of age); this parcel sits beneath and to the side of Clos Prieur and like its relative neighbors, e.g. Mazis Chambertin, it is a wine of finesse and elegance with silky tannins and a more openly fruity approach. The domaine owns a bit more than a hectare of “En Jouise” making this one of the more important cuvées of the domaine. On an annual basis, we purchase three barrels (900 bottles/75 cases) for the US market.|
|Gevrey Chambertin Vieilles Vignes: As is the case with almost every wine that issues from the Harmand-Geoffroy cellars, this cuvée is the product of very old vines; in this instance, the vines were planted 50 to 80 years ago (as of 2011). The result is one of the most powerful wines in the cellar that shows dark, almost somber fruit, a wine that is reticent in its youth and quite profound with seven to ten years of age. The parcels for this wine (En Champs, Champerrier, Combes du Dessus) are situated just beneath the fine 1er Cru “Les Champeaux” and the wine reflects the sturdy, complex aspect of the vines on the north side of Gevrey, the Brochon side.|
|Gevrey Chambertin Clos Prieur: This wine is from a contiguous parcel that sits astride the Clos Prieur du Haut (classified 1er Cru) and the Clos Prieur du Bas (classified as a village wine); rather than create two tiny cuvées, the domaine prefers to blend the two to make an extra-fine village wine from the lieu-dit “Clos Prieur”. Harmand-Geoffroy owns a bit less than a half-hectare of vineyards in Clos Prieur and the vines therein were planted between 50 and 80 years ago (dated as of 2011). In our opinion, this is one of the finest village wines available from Gevrey; it is elegant yet powerful with a compelling density and ripe, sweet tannins. We consider ourselves fortunate to have access to at least a single barrel (300 bottles) per annum (and we occasionally press our luck and bottle some magnums to extend our holdings of this outstanding wine).|
|Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru La Bossiere (monopole): The entirety of this tiny premier cru belongs to the Harmand-Geoffroy. It is situated at the top of the Combe de Lavaux in the northern tier of Gevrey Chambertin in a zone that is slightly colder in climate; thus, the wine is often elegant and austere with notes of wild berries being dominant. This vineyard, encompassing slightly less than a half-hectare, has some of the youngest vines of the domaine (25 years of age as of 2011) and it will continue to gain in importance and depth as these vines age. A source of only 300 bottles for the US market annually.|
|Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru La Perriere: This premier cru is located just beneath Mazis Chambertin in the southern tier of Gevrey, a zone which typically provides wines of finesse that are graced by silky tannins. Here, we have a wine frequently marked by red fruits, rather than black; a seductive wine of excellent balance. Production is very limited as the Domaine Harmand-Geoffroy owns a mere 3/10 of a hectare; the vines are 45 years of age (as of 2011). We import 300 bottles per year for the US market.|
|Gevrey 1er Cru Lavaux Saint Jacques: This fabled vineyard site, sitting in the heart of the Combe de Lavaux, produces a wine of great breadth and depth with wild berry notes (both red and black), ample body and formidable age-ability. The domaine works almost 7/10 of a hectare, making this 1er Cru one of the most important holdings for Harmand-Geoffroy. The vines were planted between 40 and 90 years ago (as of 2011) so yields are small and the juice quite concentrated. We have access to three barrels plus (900 bottles and some magnums) every vintage.|
|Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru Les Champeaux: Situated on a rocky face high on the Combe de Lavaux in the northwestern sector of Gevrey Chambertin, the Champeaux produces a wine of great nobility and complexity. The Harmand-Geoffroy domaine exploits a mere 2/10 of a hectare of vines in Champeaux, some of which were planted 80 years ago (as of 2011). We consider this lieu-dit to be amongst the very finest sites in this renowned appellation. We import a mere 300 bottles of this wine annually for the US market.|
|Mazis Chambertin Grand Cru: The Harmand-Geoffroy domaine works a substantial section of this fine Grand Cru … over three-quarters of a hectare. The vines are between 40 and 70 years of age (as of 2011); they face east and sit on well-drained, marne-infused soil. As is often the case with the Grand Crus in this southern tier of Gevrey, this wine, although powerful, is distinguished and fine with notes of raspberry and red cherry fruit in its youth supplemented with the aromas of violet, rose and clove; a more wild side emerges as the wine ages and pepper, licorice and leather add nuance to this beautiful beast. We import between three and four barrels per annum for the US market (900 bottles plus a significant number of magnums).|
The 2016 Vintage at Domaine Harmand-Geoffroy: Energy, Transparency, Balance
It has been a joy to witness the slow and careful passing of the torch from Gérard Harmand to his son Philippe at Domaine Harmand-Geoffroy over the past decade. The Harmand family has tended land in Gevrey-Chambertin since the late 19th century, and over the years they amassed nine hectares of Pinot Noir—all within the confines of Gevrey, and encompassing an impressive and varied range of parcels throughout the village. Over our nearly twenty years of partnership, we have seen gradual but marked improvements in the wines’ clarity and expressiveness, as this father-and-son team coaxes new depths from their tremendous holdings with each passing vintage. Gérard and Philippe farm without chemicals or synthetic treatments, working the soil to bring life and to promote root development. Their fruit, always manually harvested, is carefully sorted and entirely de-stemmed; alcoholic fermentation occurs spontaneously and takes place in stainless steel; and the wines are racked once during a 16-month barrel élévage and are moved solely by gravity, thereby preserving the fruit’s inherent energy and purity. The wines today express the classic meat-and-mineral core of Gevrey-Chambertin with a combination of robust power and marked clarity, and the widely varying terroirs are always well-differentiated even in the richest of vintages. The sizable majority of Harmand-Geoffroy’s holdings are between 55 and 95 years of age, and the wines offer a wonderful concentration commensurate with these extremely old, low-yielding vines.
The notorious late-April frost of 2016 did not entirely spare the Harmand family, although damages in Gevrey-Chambertin were less extreme than in other parts of the Côte, and the domaine ended up suffering an overall 30% reduction in crop. Summer was warm and generous overall, though mercifully without the worrisome spikes or stretches of extreme heat that have marked vintages more regularly here in the post-climate-change era. Gérard and Philippe began harvest on the 24th of September under excellent conditions, and they produced a lineup that embodies the best characteristics of this unique growing season. Harmand-Geoffroy’s wines always display an unapologetically meaty, old-school sensibility—it is a big part of what we adore about them—but that classicism is wed to an impeccable sense of tension and energy in these 2016s, which deliver both power and finesse and are even more transparent to their underlying terroirs than usual.
2016 Bourgogne Rouge “La Nouroy”
As prices for Côte d’Or red Burgundy climb ever upward, examples of Bourgogne like Harmand-Geoffroy’s become increasingly valuable as teaching tools and as entryways to the region. Harmand’s quarter-hectare parcel in La Nouroy sits right up against villages-level Gevrey-Chambertin, just north of the lieu-dit Champ Franc. This 2016, aged entirely in second- and third-passage barrels, offers robust, dark fruits that scream “Gevrey-Chambertin,” with plush tannins and plenty of spice—a great encapsulation of the house style.
Harmand’s Gevrey-Chambertin, produced from four hectares worth of holdings scattered throughout the appellation, boasts a vine age of up to 80 years. These old vines make themselves known in the 2016’s thick, assertive entry and sappy depth of fruit, but the minerality here is notable and precise nonetheless, with more obvious cut than the massively built 2015. The wine has all but swallowed its 20% new oak even at this relatively early stage.
2016 Gevrey-Chambertin “En Jouise”
En Jouise is situated just about dead-center in the appellation, downslope from the village itself and adjacent to Clos Prieur (see below). The Harmands exploit a solid hectare here, and the wine they obtain from their 60 to 80-year-old vines is always a standout in the cellar. Higher-toned than the Gevrey-Chambertin above, the 2016 is a strikingly elegant vintage for this cuvée, showing excellent precision and an appealing sense of restraint. 30% new oak.
2016 Gevrey-Chambertin “Clos Prieur”
Clos Prieur is one of those especially confusing Côte d’Or vineyards: the upper part of it is classified as premier cru (and sits just underneath Mazis-Chambertin on the slope), and the lower part is classified as villages. Harmand-Geoffroy’s half-hectare parcel here actually straddles the boundary, with two-thirds of it in premier-cru territory and one-third in villages. Rather than produce two separate cuvées from this single contiguous holding, they make one wine—a villages in classification but a premier cru in personality. Brooding minerality carries the 2016 at this young stage, which offers a palate of rigorous tension but significantly less generosity than the preceding wines for the moment. 40% new oak.
2016 Gevrey-Chambertin “Vieilles Vignes”
This standout cuvée is a blend of holdings in three different lieux-dits: Champerrier, Combe du Dessus, and En Champs—which sit just below the great premier cru Les Champeaux (see below). Harmand’s 55- to 85-year-old vines here imbue the wine with a notable sappiness and an extra wallop of classic Gevrey meatiness, and the fact that the family always serves it as the last of the villages wines speaks to its powerful personality. This 2016, while undeniably dense, displays a vintage-derived precision in keeping with the wines above. 30% new oak.
2016 Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru “La Perrière”
Premier cru La Perrière is nestled just below grand cru Mazis-Chambertin on the slope, immediately north of the premier-cru section of Clos Prieur. The family owns a third of a hectare of 50-year-old vines here, which typically yield a chiseled wine of great finesse. This 2016 offers bright red fruits and assertive spices on the nose, with remarkably silky tannins and a gentle mineral-inflected cling on the focused, lengthy finish. A few years of patience will help the wine absorb its 40% new wood, which marks it slightly at the moment.
2016 Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru “La Bossière – Monopole”
A unique wine in the domaine’s arsenal, La Bossière is a 0.45-hectare premier cru—the smallest premier cru in Gevrey—situated at the very top of the Combe de Lavaux, and owned entirely by the Harmand family. At this extreme part of the slope, nearly nonexistent topsoil and a cooler average temperature produce sleek wines of drive and focus. The 2016 is bristling with energy, with a direct and driving personality built on spice and minerality rather than fruit richness, though it certainly does not lack for power. 40% new oak.
2016 Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru “Les Champeaux”
Les Champeaux rests at the northernmost limit of Gevrey-Chambertin, high up on the hard and thin-soiled bedrock of the Combe de Lavaux. In an appellation of so many outstanding crus, Champeaux yields among the very best and most striking wines. The Harmands exploit a small 0.2-hectare plot here, and their 85-year-old vines always produce one of the highlights of their cellar. This 2016 is a bit more backward for the moment than the preceding wines (as befits the terroir), and its palate is a tug-of-war between warm, deep minerality and intensely concentrated dark-red fruits, promising many years of positive evolution. 50% new oak.
2016 Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru “Lavaux Saint Jacques”
Nestled in the heart of the Combe de Lavaux, Lavaux Saint Jacques is one of the more famous and coveted sites in the appellation, and for good reason: it encompasses a range of seemingly at-odds characteristics with ease, and many consider it a grand cru in all but name. The Harmand family is fortunate to own three-quarters of a hectare here, with vines between 45 and 95 years of age. This 2016 approaches the “Champeaux” in mineral intensity, but with a far blacker-fruited and gamier personality, and a spiciness a bit wilder and less refined. This brooding powerhouse will need time to reveal its inner layers, but an underlying sense of freshness suggests a harmonious future. 50% new oak.
2016 Mazis-Chambertin Grand Cru
Harmand-Geoffroy exploits over three-quarters of a hectare in this great vineyard that lies just north of Clos de Bèze and just below Ruchottes-Chambertin on the prime fillet of Gevrey-Chambertin’s swath of grand crus. Produced from vines between 45 and 75 years of age, the Mazis-Chambertin is typically the firmest and most youthfully reticent wine in the cellar. In spite of its massive core of material, however, this 2016 displays the inherent energy of the vintage in spades, and in fact it is no more backwards than the “Lavaux Saint Jacques” or “Champeaux” at this stage. 80% new oak.
The blue dots on the map below denote Domaine Harmand-Geoffroy’s holdings. (click to enlarge)