Goodbye Domaine des Varoilles – Hello Domaine du Couvent


Philippe Chéron 2021 Domaine du CouventTasted in Gevrey-Chambertin with Philippe Chéron, 06 July 2021.

Philippe & Stéphanie Chéron
Domaine du Couvent
11 rue de l’ancien Hôpital
21220 Gevrey-Chambertin
Tel: +33 3 80 34 30 30
More reports with Domaine du Couvent / Varoilles

Domaine du Couvent is one of those Burgundy secrets that is slowly coming out into the light:

Today’s Domaine du Couvent is housed in the old convent in Gevrey-Chambertin which was previously the home of Domaine des Varoilles. The domaine is the fusion of two estates owned by the Chéron family of Nuits St.Georges. The domaines that have been fused are those of Misset-Chéron (Nuits) and des Varoilles (Gevrey) now managed by Philippe Chéron. Philippe’s first vintage with his family vines was 2011, previously he’d worked with Domaine Jean-Claude Belland in Santenay.

The produce of the family vines was practically all sold in bulk or as grapes – “And we still have some parcels that are en fermage,” says Philippe. “Much of the old domaine’s wines are still sold in this way but we now have the chance to expand through the more commercial network of Varoilles.” – and, as you will see, these wines deserve a wider audience. Visitors wanting some of these wines should contact ahead of time though.

Domaine Misset-Chéron’s roots are from the 1930s when Paul Misset, the grandfather of Philippe Chéron, acquired two plots of vines in the Clos de Vougeot, in the sub-climats of Baudes and Baudes-Hautes, totalling an impressive 2 hectares. Paul Misset was no winemaker, so he put these vines in the hands of other growers. In the mid-1990s, Denis Chéron was eager to take over the exploitation of this Clos de Vougeot from his father-in-law, in Vosne-Romanée – this was the inception of Misset-Chéron. Denis also acquired new plots in Chambolle-Musigny and Vosne-Romanée as well as a winery in Nuits St.Georges. In 2011, Denis was joined at the domaine by his son, Philippe. In 2012, they acquired their first vines in Gevrey-Chambertin, and the following year some 1er cru Champonnet came too. In 2016, another of grandfather Paul Misset’s acquisitions also returned to the domaine – some Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er cru Aux Murgers.

Domaine des Varoilles was created in 1964 by Denis Chéron – Philippe’s father – in association with the Naigeon family of Gevrey-Chambertin – their home in the former convent in Gevrey-Chambertin once housed the cooperage of the Naigeon family. The domaine was formed around two monopoly vineyards, both premier cru monopolies of Gevrey-Chambertin: La Romanée and the Clos des Varoilles. The estate was further expanded in the years that followed, acquiring their home in a convent in Gevrey-Chambertin in the 1970s. In 1990, the Naigeon family sold their shares to their Swiss importer – Gilbert Hammel and Charles Rolaz – Gilbert retired in 2020 but not before finishing the elevage of the 2019s – though it was Philippe Chéron who bottled them – and these are tasted below.

The two domains – unified as Domaine du Couvent:
From the 2020 harvest, Philippe Chéron merged the two domaines into one which took the name of Domaine du Couvent. Today, vinification, ageing and bottling are currently done in the old vaulted cellars of Misset-Chéron in Nuits St.Georges. The buildings in Gevrey are dedicated to the estate’s farm plus bottle storage, order preparation and shipments. 2021 saw the arrival of three new plots: Chambolle-Musigny 1er Les Feusselottes, Marsannay Le Clos du Roy red and Marsannay Les Longeroies blanc. At this stage, you might be asking what has happened to the 6-hectare Clos des Varoilles(?) Apparently, this was deemed too large a single cuvée for the team here to vinify and commercialise, so a suitable producer was found to take on the vines in a rental agreement – a fermage that started with the 2020 vintage – and that is Domaine Prieuré-Roch of Premeaux – who will now produce 3 monopoles!

Philippe on 2019:
The climate has helped us a lot and brought richness to the wines in recent vintages. It has allowed us to do less pigeage, use less sulfur, etcetera. Nature has been generous in everything except quantity – we averaged just 4 clusters of grapes per vine in 2019 – you can see the concentration – it was about 25 hl/ha!

The wines…

I’ve always been a fan of the slightly oaky (when young) but excellent wines of Varoilles but the ‘Couvent’ wines I see as even a little better. They might not, initially, be the easiest wines to source – but they are worth little work to do so. A domaine to follow!

Philippe will continue to use the Varoilles label for existing clients. New clients will get the wines wearing the new Reserve de Couvent label. Philippe bottled these wines in mid-April:

2019 des Varoilles, Bourgogne Pinot Noir
From two parcels in the bottom of Gevrey – the best known is Grand Champs – partly was gamay but now all is planted with pinot
A nose of depth and energy – some impression of silk. Hmm, that’s big, mouth-filling wine, plenty of concentration. Tasty wine and with a good finish.

2019 des Varoilles, Gevrey-Chambertin Clos du Couvent
The old park of the Convent that housed the cuverie of Varoilles – just a stone’s throw from the Mairie of Gevrey..
Hmm, that’s a beautiful nose – silky and concentrated – there’s finesse here. Depth of flavour – fuller, plenty of concentration. A wine that successfully blends power with enough elegance and really some extract. Super.

2019 des Varoilles, Gevrey-Chambertin Clos des Meix des Ouches
A bit more than a hectare under Fontenys, Craipillots
The lovely ‘family’ nose is evident here but with a little extra vibration of energy. A slightly more open and structural wine with some modest finishing bitters – there’s a certain rigour here but this is a beautifully assembled wine and easily my favourite so far – just wait 2-3 years – simply excellent villages!

2019 des Varoilles, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Champonnets
The other side of the road from the last wine, a little more slope here too that heads up to Ruchottes
A wider nose, more finely divided complexity – a more airy style than the previous wines. Essentially this has a more vibrant energy, it’s also deliciously mouth-filling. A modest framing of the wine with tannin but not drying, just bringing a small element of bitters to the finishing flavour. Super.

2019 des Varoilles, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er La Romanée
The narrow band at the top of the hill but not that much slope as we have already reached the top here – pale soil – not much clay, it’s mainly the degenerated limestone as soil. An old source in the middle of these vines too
A little return to the family nose – a small addition of florals in this case but the base remains the finely granular, almost saline complexity. A little more direct and mouth-watering, almost an accent of coffee, but wide and ingraining with flavour. Long, mineral and saline finishing – impressively long. Excellent.

2019 des Varoilles, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Les Varoilles
It’s the family nose but it’s no less inviting for that – plenty of weight, a silky impression and a certain elegance with faintly floral accents again. Mouth-filling, plenty of energy and a clear extra higher-toned complexity. A flavour that melts and slowly fades over the palate – the Romanée is a little more demonstrative today – but only a little – here is a suggestion more structure – and that’s no bad thing. Delicious and complex wine with a nervosité… Excellent again.

Philippe’s wines – Domaine du Couvent:
Racked and bottled about the same time in April, in Nuits. Just a small filtration for some of the wines:

2019 du Couvent, Gevrey-Chambertin les Seuvrées
Plenty of colour. A nose that reflects the previous wines – no surprise as largely bottled the same week by the same man – but here is also a small amount of whole clusters too – about 20%. This nose also with a faintly floral aspect. Silky, mobile – extra freshness – I’m really loving the energy here – that is completely delicious – almost inky style but in the best sense of the work. Bravo!

2019 du Couvent, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Champonnets
Only a 3.5 ha cru and now Philippe has 2 parcels – currently separately made. ‘The vines are completely different even if the place is the same. Here you have to embrace some sur-maturity. Been working this parcel since 2013…’
The nose is slightly different here there’s a nice vibration to the aromas. Mouth-filling and concentrated – a burst of finishing energy too. Holding an impressive core of finishing flavour too – that’s an excellent wine.

2019 du Couvent, Chambolle-Musigny
12 different parcels and 9 climats – though not much more than 1 ha.
Ooh – now that’s a lovely nose – a perfumed nose – of concentration too. Concentrated in the mouth too, silky but still with lots of energy – that’s a quite a cliché Chambolle – all that you might wish for. Finishing with a last more saline wave of flavour. Simply excellent wine again.

2019 du Couvent, Chambolle-Musigny Clos de l’Orme
0.36 ha – their largest parcel of villages Chambolle so vinified apart
A very attractive nose – deep and more obviously mineral in style. More open, slightly more structural – a good base of ripe tannin. A wine showing a little more power and a little less floral elegance today. That’s a wine that I find super-impressive, if a little austere, in the finish. A modest adolescence only – that will be another simply excellent wine but wait a couple of years.

2019 du Couvent, Vosne-Romanée Les Barreaux
A parcel starting at Cros Parantoux and then heading up the hillside.
Faintly floral, an extra softness of aroma too – with aeration there’s an extra cushion to the depth of this – that’s really attractive and getting better all the time. Direct and fresh – as it probably should be high on the hill. Layered, complex, a small lick of tannin and structure. Drink or keep – bravo!
2019 du Couvent, Nuits St.Georges 1er Les Murgers
Very old vines here says Philippe. ‘Our only inconvenience is that the parcel is a little small at 0.21 ha’ – first vinified here in 2016.
A different nose here suggesting more whole cluster – it’s about 50% in this vintage but it can be 100% when there’s more juice . Very silky, complex, very aromatic – the structure is there but mainly hidden. Wide, a little saline and very persistent – a great Nuits!

Agree? Disagree? Anything you'd like to add?

Burgundy Report

Translate »

You are using an outdated browser. Please update your browser to view this website correctly:;