Profile: Domaine des Tilleuls, Philippe Livera (Gevrey)



The Domaine des Tilleuls is in the old heart of Gevrey-Chambertin, close to the Church, and set a little lower on the hill than the old Chateau. The building’s design is a little unusual – apparently once the stables for a Count – with two pointy turrets either side of a courtyard that looks across the road towards their plot of Gevrey-Chambertin, Clos des Villages. Tilleuls are lime trees, but this is very much a domaine of the family Livera; young, quietly spoken Damien Livera is responsible for the wines today, but it was his great-grandparents who began the domaine ~1920 – Livera was originally a mason from Italy. Damien’s father, Philippe Livera, took over from his parents in 1986, and in-turn, Damien began to take hold of the reigns in 2007.

Some of the domaine’s vines were lost in the early 1970s, when Jacqueline Livera, now married to Jean-Marie Ponsot, inherited vines from her Livera Grandfather, vines that included Chapelle-Chambertin. But today the domaine stands at 8.70 hectares, covering Bourgogne, Hautes Côtes de Nuits, Fixin, various plots in Gevrey-Chambertin (En Champs, Evocelles and Clos Village), and, of-course, their plot of Chapelle-Chambertin (from Gémaux). The Liveras had mainly dealt with négociants such as Bouchard Père and Louis Jadot, but Damien’s choice was to, first improve the domaine’s cuverie, and subsequently expand the amount that was domaine bottled – the produce of some 2 hectares are still with the négoce, but that amount diminishes with each vintage.

I’d come to know the wines since the 2009 vintage, and in particular, I thought the 2010s really outstanding – the Hautes Côtes de Nuits was one of the best wines of the year for me – factoring-in cost . In the vines the domaine has no ‘label’, partly bio, partly raisonée, but they are also prepared to use something systemic if deemed necessary. Fruit is destemmed, and they choose to retain some CO2 to minimise their use of SO2. Oak treatment varies from 20% for the Hautes Côtes and Fixin, up to 100% for their Chapelle-Chambertin.

Some wines…

Tasted with Damien Livera, 31st May 2013 in very rainy Gevrey – even the ‘guard’ dog chose not to come out of its kennel to greet me! Father Philippe is still there working, and indeed greeting (unlike the dog), but it seems to me that he now prefers to defer to Damien when it comes to tasting. Because a number of wines had just been racked/assembled for bottling, it was a modest selection to taste, but it only reinforced my impression of the excellence of the 2010s I had previously tasted.

I shorly discussed the 12s with Damien, we also tasted a few, but no notes as they still had malo flavours and gas. (Tasted the Clos du Village, later in the year at the Gevrey Syndicat tasting). Damien mentioned that there would be rose made from a mix old vine pinot and gamay (~80 years old) in 2012. Yields were generally lower than average, the Clos du Villages particularly-so, showing only 22 hl/ha – purely because of so much millerande grapes. Damien also said that he generally chose to have his fermentations run a little faster in this vintage, because he was concerned that the colour was extracting too quickly.

2011 Côte de Nuits Villages
This was all destemmed.
Deep colour, deep aromatics that are edged with some reduction. Round in the mouth with plenty of floral attributes and plenty of structure too. Concentrated flavour takes you into the darkly-flavoured finish. This wine is almost as impressive as the brilliant 2010! Unfortunately, drunk later in the year, this was already showing some vintage character.

2011 Gevrey-Chambertin En Champs
Here is a lovely depth of aroma – nice wine! A lovely velvet texture too, melded with depth of flavour. The tannic structure shows a little more in the finish, but frankly, who cares(?) as this is very impressive.

2011 Gevrey-Chambertin, Clos du Village
There is more than one plot named ‘Clos du Village’ in Gevrey, but the Liveras happen to own all of this one!
The nose offers very pretty dark red/black fruits and some licorice, though there’s also a suggestion of P in the background. Depth of flavour, concentration, then an extra flavour dimension in the mid-palate, accompanied with ripe, grainy tannin.

Domaine des Tilleuls
7 Rue du Château
21220 Gevrey-Chambertin
Tel:+33 (0)3 80 34 30 43

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

There is one response to “Profile: Domaine des Tilleuls, Philippe Livera (Gevrey)”

  1. willersc21st April 2014 at 10:55 amPermalinkReply

    Hi Bill,

    Do you know where the Gevrey Evocelles fits into this portfolio?

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