Domaine Harmand-Geoffroy’s 2014 Vintage A Gevrey-Chambertin Master Class

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Gevrey-Chambertin accounts for the largest surface area under vine in the entire Cote de Nuits, and it can be challenging to get a handle on its broad range of terroirs. How fortunate we at Rosenthal Wine Merchant are, then, to work with Harmand-Geoffroy—a long-established domaine whose enviable holdings lie entirely within the limits of Gevrey, yet encompass so many different iterations of its varied soils and expositions.

The Harmand family has worked the land in Gevrey-Chambertin since the end of the 19th century, and today the nine-hectare domaine is undergoing a passing of the torch from father Gerard to son Philippe. The infectiously kind duo complement each other well, Gerard’s warm-eyed calmness offset by Philippe’s efficient yet always-smiling nature. During our semi-annual visits, Philippe moves throughout the family’s old cellar with remarkable speed and smoothness, his weathered hands and browned skin suggesting plenty of time spent among the vines. It is a heartwarming sight in an era when ever-skyrocketing land value and growing global interest are creating what one may argue is a “softer” prototype of the classic Burgundian vigneron. He offers insights and answers questions succinctly and with great clarity, and this transparency and self-assuredness echo wonderfully in his wines.

Philippe works his nine hectares of old vines (nearly all of which are between 50 and 85 years of age) without the use of chemicals, leaving grass between the rows in order to foster competition for the vines. In the cellar, gentle handling is the operative philosophy— pumping is never employed, and the wines display a remarkable robustness and vividness of fruit even in less fortunate vintages. He employs a five-day cold maceration prior to fermentation, which occurs spontaneously and is temperature-controlled to ensure a successful and fine extraction of elements. Except for the more massively scaled grand cru Mazis-Chambertin, the wines see only 20% to 40% new oak and bottling typically takes place after sixteen months—without fining or filtering.

Though Harmand-Geoffroy’s offerings have always been classic, well-built, and impressive, Philippe has elevated them to unprecedented heights over the past few vintages, crafting wines of sappy fruit, succulent texture, and profound spice-earth interplay. We fully expect to see his reputation continue to escalate, but we are currently in a fortunate-for-you scenario in which the wines—several of which we have enviable access to—are openly available and not allocated. The domaine’s 2014s, which will arrive in mid-August, are charming, classic, vibrant red Burgundies that offer a vivid glimpse into both the variety of terroirs in this great village and Philippe’s masterful touch. We urge you to experience them with us.

2014 Bourgogne Rouge “La Nouroy”
As prices for Cote d’Or red Burgundy climb ever upward, examples of Bourgogne Rouge like Harmand-Geoffroy’s become increasingly valuable—as teaching tools, as potential entryways, and as wines that can be consumed regularly by non-One-Percenters. Harmand’s quarter-hectare parcel of “La Nouroy” sits right up against villages-level Gevrey-Chambertin, just north of the lieu-dit “Champ Franc”—but, as Burgundy’s ruthless logic dictates, a distance of a few meters can mean a dramatic difference in price. This 2014 is fresh but fleshy, with textbook Gevrey meatiness and a real sense of class, and its combination of vivacity and succulence embodies the house style beautifully.

2014 Gevrey-Chambertin
Produced from four hectares’ worth of small parcels scattered throughout the village, Harmand’s Gevrey-Chambertin boasts a vine age of up to 80 years. The fresh, kinetic quality of the best 2014s is wholly evident in this wine, as its earth-tinged, gently sauvage elements wrap snugly around a core of bright red fruit. Pert acidity makes the whole ensemble dance on the palate, and the long, luscious finish is very impressive for a villages-level Burgundy. This is an effortlessly balanced wine that promises relatively early drinking pleasure.

2014 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 wrest from these 60 to 80 year-old vines is always a standout in their cellar. While still very classically Gevrey in spirit, this 2014 has a smokier, richer, more brooding presence than the basic villages above, with a pronounced gamy edge and an arresting inner-mouth perfume. Despite its ample ripeness, it rings on the palate with vintage-typical acidity, and its slightly more serious carriage in no way compromises its overall deliciousness.

2014 Gevrey-Chambertin “Clos Prieur”
“Clos Prieur” is one of those vineyards that makes the complexity of Burgundy’s classification system feel almost like a practical joke: part of it is classified as premier cru (and sits just underneath Mazis-Chambertin on the slope), and the other (lower) part is classified as villages. If that weren’t enough, 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. But, rather than produce two separate cuvees from this single contiguous holding, they make one wine—a villages in name but a premier cru in personality. This 2014 is arrestingly mineral in spirit, sacrificing a few degrees of fruit volume for a more profound and palate-clinging impression of bedrock. Currently firmer on the palate than the two wines above, it should blossom with a few years of cellaring.

2014 Gevrey-Chambertin “Vieilles Vignes”
This standout cuvee 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 powerful sappiness, an extra layer of density and concentration. The bold, almost punchy 2014 explodes from the glass with spice, cola, and overt floral aromatics, all anchored by a very deep, dark core of fruit. While just as structured and mineral-driven as the “Clos Prieur” above, the tannins are more coated in fruit, and the intensely sappy finish is almost viscous—yet still relatively light on its feet and fresh.

2014 Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru “La Perriere”
The first stop on Harmand-Geoffroy’s tour of Gevrey premier crus, “La Perriere” 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 2014 follows suit, with bright, spice-drenched aromas and fruit that leans more toward red than black. The palate is a flood of tart cherries and stony minerality, and the fresh, cleansing finish underlines Perriere’s status as the most lifted and vibrant of Harmand’s crus.

2014 Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru “La Bossiere – Monopole”
A unique and striking wine in the Harmand-Geoffroy arsenal, “La Bossiere” is a 0.45 ha. 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 tend to lead to a wine of drive and focus rather than sheer power. The 2014 displays remarkable depth and eye-opening vibrancy, marrying the succulent fruit of the “Vieilles Vignes” with the cut of the Perriere, but with a more overtly suave texture than either. This is a truly gorgeous wine that showcases the more elegant side of Gevrey.

2014 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 many outstanding crus, Champeaux ranks among the very best and most striking. The Harmands exploit a mere 0.2-hectare plot here, and their 85 year-old vines always produce one of the highlights of their cellar. This 2014 is a bold, commanding wine—a spellbinding combination of exotic spice, dense fruit, and punchy limestone, all expressed through a beautifully silky texture. The tannins are present but perfectly integrated even at this early stage of development, and the lengthy finish clings to the palate promising a long life.

2014 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 panoply 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 almost three quarters of a hectare here, with vines between 45 and 95 years of age. The 2014 is a blast of dark cherry fruit, a roaring but seductive nose giving way to a palate of scintillating tension, coating the mouth fully and extending high into the upper register of spice notes. Though buffered by plenty of old-vines sap, there are firmer tannins here than in the previous wines of the lineup, and thus some patience will be necessary for this hugely impressive wine’s ultimate promise to be realized.

2014 Mazis-Chambertin Grand Cru
Harmand-Geoffroy exploits over three quarters of a hectare in this great vineyard that lies just north of Clos de Beze and just below Ruchottes-Chambertin on the prime fillet of Gevrey-Chambertin grand cru turf. Produced from vines between 45 and 75 years of age, the Mazis-Chambertin is always the firmest and most youthfully reticent wine in the cellar. This 2014 is powerfully dense, with darker and more brooding fruit than the Lavaux Saint Jacques and the Champeaux above. Though taut at the moment, a broad mineral underpinning peeks through the thick, concentrated palate, and a generous spice element keeps the wine from coming across as monolithic. Impressively, it all but absorbs its 90% new oak, even at this youthful stage.

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