Domaine Jean Chauvenet

Chauvenet-Logo Christophe Drag Chauvenet-NSG-Vaucrains
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We began our work with Jean Chauvenet, the founder of this domaine, in 1982 and for over twenty years we participated as the exclusive US importer for the estate’s wines and observed with pleasure as Jean Chauvenet and then, his son-in-law, Christophe Drag, built this domaine into one of the most highly respected producers working the vineyards of Nuits-Saint-Georges. Though an unfortunate misunderstanding caused us to part company in 2004, we explored a renewal of the relationship with the domaine in 2014, and the exceptional quality of the wines convinced us to once again represent this classic estate. With no less than seven premier crus complemented by serious Bourgogne Rouge and Villages-level cuvées, the comprehensive scope of vineyard holdings over their 9.5 hectares is among the greatest in the appellation. The wines of Nuits-Saint-Georges are not soft in their youth, but that is the true character of the terroir: robust tannins, dark fruit, and a mineral infusion from the iron-inflected soils that, taken together, can only come from this singular district. The estate’s holdings are farmed with the underlying objective of achieving certification as an organic grower in the coming years. Harvest is manual. Vinification is classic with 100% destemming and a brief period of cold maceration followed by two to three weeks of cuvaison, the length of which is determined by the appellation and the inherent structure of each wine. A decanting follows and then the wine is moved into small barrels where the malolactic occurs. An elevage of about 18 months occurs and the wines are bottled without fining or filtration.
Bourgogne Rouge Noyer Pendu: From a half-hectare parcel in the commune of Nuits Saint Georges that produces in the neighbourhood of 2400 bottles per annum. The vines are of an average age of 40 years and are planted on gravelly soil. This modest appellation produces a firmly-structured wine of rich color, bright aromatics and black-cherry flavoured fruit.
VOSNE-ROMANEÉ:  Small quantities of a superb Vosne-Romaneé from a 0.31-hectare parcel in the “Aux Raviolles” vineyard in the far southern reaches of the appellation, abutting the “Aux Herbues” lieu-dit in Nuits-Saint-Georges. Although this wine displays some of the classic exotic-spice aromas of Vosne, as well as a slightly silkier texture as befits the appellation, it is in a sense very much a Vosne-Romaneé as rendered by a Nuits-Saint-Georges specialist: firmly mineral, gutsy in spirit, and built to last.  The domaine’s very old vines here–some over 100 years of age–contribute to a wine of notable density and sap.
Chauvenet-Nuits-St-Georges Nuits-Saint-Georges: The village appellation represents the bulk of the holdings of the domaine … more or less seven hectares of vineyards spread across several parcels principally located in the northern reaches of the village of Nuits Saint Georges on a combination of silt, sand and gravel soils which produce a classic version of the appellation. The average age of the vineyards that compose this cuvee is 45 years. A deeply colored wine with vivacity; somewhat stern in its youth but with excellent balance and black fruit flavours.
Chauvenet-NSG-Bousselots Nuits-St-Georges 1er Cru Les Bousselots: Harvested from a half-hectare parcel in the northern quadrant of Nuits Saint Georges with vines that now average 30 years of age; the soil is a mix of sand and gravel which produces a wine of complex character with a seductive suppleness to its form but rigor to the finish; a wine marked by occasional notes of animal and leather as well as sweetly savoury hints of balsamic and licorice.
Chauvenet-NSG-Argillas Nuits-St-Georges 1er Cru Aux Argillas: A tiny parcel of just .17 hectares on the northern slopes of the appellation; soils are laced with clay and the vines have an excellent south/southeast exposure which insures proper ripening; planted to somewhat younger vines (around 22 years average age as of 2014), the wine from Argillas is marked by excellent balance and purity of flavours with dominant notes of cherry and licorice married to an underlying earthiness – a classic rendition of the appellation. Only two barrels are produced annually.
Chauvenet-NSG-Rue-de-Chaux Nuits-St-Georges 1er Cru Rue de Chaux: Perhaps the “truest” of the Nuits appellations with its central location and gravelly soil structure; vines here of 30 or so years of age yield a wine that is severe in its youth but with substantial depth … lots of “matiere” married to a mix of fruit and minerals that permit this wine to age gracefully.
Chauvenet-NSG-Damodes Nuits-St-Georges 1er Cru Les Damodes: Positioned on a brown-colored mix of limestone and marl, the Damodes speaks with more finesse, a suppleness that makes this cuvee the most precocious of the premier crus of the domaine; there is lots of punch to the wine but it is enrobed by the “velvet glove” of more gentle and silky tannins.
Chauvenet-NSG-Poulettes Nuits-St-Georges 1er Cru Les Poulettes: The domaine controls a small parcel of about .17 hectares; the vineyard is beautifully situated on a steep fault of white stony soil just above the more well-known 1er Cru “Perrieres”; it takes its name from the small birds (quail, pheasant) that nest in the adjoining brush and woods. The vines were planted in 1957 and, as old vines do, produce a small crop of highly concentrated grapes which tend to be amongst the first to be harvested at the domaine. Here we sense a touch of red fruit influence amongst the earth, leather, coffee aromas and flavours that we encounter frequently in this part of the Cote de Nuits.
Chauvenet-NSG-Perrieres Nuits-St-Georges 1er Cru Les Perrieres: As the Chauvenet holdings move in a southerly direction, we have the pleasure of accessing wine from the regal cru of “Perrieres”, a profoundly stony site that produces a wine of great breed and class; the domaine controls a quarter hectare of this renowned lieu-dit. A wine with a fine capacity to age, a process that reveals a most complex wine of excellent balance; one of the most elegant and intellectual wines of this part of the Cote de Nuits.
Chauvenet-NSG-Vaucrains Nuits-St-Georges 1er Cru Les Vaucrains: The “grand cru” of this domaine; recognized as one of the most glorious sites within the appellation, the Chauvenet holdings here are old and produce a wine that embodies all of the wonders of Nuits Saint Georges; there is a deep fruitiness with both black and red fruits on exhibit, an earthiness that manages to be compelling and also elegant, all set upon a background of robust tannins that support a weighty but athletic wine; a wine that rewards substantial cellaring.

Tasting Notes Domaine Jean Chauvenet by Neal Martin

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