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Profile: Domaine Pierre Naigeon (Gevrey)

domaine-pierre-naigeon-gevrey

Pierre Naigeon is the fifth generation of his family to be based in Gevrey-Chambertin, making wine, but Naigeons had been there since at least the 1700s, working as farmers and barrel-makers.

In 1890 the depressed wine market was in the grip of phylloxera so cooper, Fernand Naigeon, finding it difficult to sell his barrels, took the decision to fill the unsold barrels with his own wine – this was the birth of Maison Naigeon-Chauveau. Working together with his wife, Alice, Fernand Naigeon managed to grow Naigeon-Chauveau into a successful business. In 1947 Fernand and Alice’s grandson, Pierre Naigeon, took over production, gradually increasing the size of the domaine. Together with the Misset family (Domaine Paul Misset) Naigeon-Chauveau was also the owner of the current Domaine des Varoilles, which was sold to the Swiss firm of Hammel in 1990.

Domaine Pierre Naigeon is a relatively recent creation. Pierre Naigeon began broking wine in around 1991 and also took on the few remain vines owned by the family – it was not much more than 1 hectare, but it included both Bonnes-Mares and Charmes-Chambertin. Pierre, who has also experienced making wine in the Yarra Valley, has since then built up his domaine to 11.5 hectares, mainly through fermage and metayage contracts plus some instances of bought-in grapes (whites mainly).

Vines and winemaking

Pierre vinifies everything himself – and without blending – so that means he has eight different cuvées (only!) from Gevrey, some of only one barrel. Whilst 10% of his sales go to the restaurant of France, the bulk of his sales are export.

In the vines he uses no herbicides, insecticides or synthetic anti-rot treatments. He’s not ‘Bio’ because he doesn’t like the idea of using copper in the vines, but he will use a little organic compost and of-course control the weeds by ploughing. There is no practice of green harvesting, rather, Pierre prefers to leave the ‘right number’ of buds on the vine to start with; essentially that brought about 32hl/ha in 2011, versus nearer 45hl/ha in 2009 – and all vines are treated the same – Bourgogne or Bonnes-Mares.

Pierre’s proud of his patchwork of small parcels, because many are of older vines, the produce of which he picks with extreme care – using very small plastic baskets that will hold no more than 5kg of fruit. Those cases are put into a cool room until the grapes sink to about 12°C, the fruit then passing over “the old triage table from Domaine de la Romanée-Conti”. Depending on the year, there may be some whole clusters too. The cooling enables a period of cool maceration before the fermentations begin – there may be a little chaptalisation ‘to control the fermentation’, but usually no more than 0.5°, there is ‘not much’ pigeage. Pierre also likes to have a little post-fermentation (warm) maceration too, before the wine is moved by gravity into its barrels. The wine stays in barrel for at least 1 year without racking, before bottling without fining or filtration. Barrels come mainly from Chassin and François Frères and average-out at about 20% new, though the Mazy gets 1005 – but that’s because there only is one barrel! – the average new oak for the Grand Crus work out at about 60%. Pierre notes that he’s fortunate that his wines have a nice following; it means he can concentrate on his vines rather than marketing.

The wines
Bonnes-Mares Cuvée Prestige
Charmes-Chambertin Vieilles Vigne
Mazy-Chambertin Les Mazys Hauts VV
Corton Les Grand Lolières (Blanc)

Gevrey-Chambertin Les Cazetiers VV
Gevrey-Chambertin Les Cherbaudes VV
Gevrey-Chambertin Les Fontenys VV
Gevrey-Chambertin Lavaux Saint Jacques VV
Gevrey-Chambertin La Perrière VV
Morey St.Denis La Riotte VV
Fixin Les Hervelets VV

Chambolle-Musigny VV
Fixin Les Herbues VV
Gevrey-Chambertin VV
Gevrey-Chambertin Les Crais VV
Gevrey-Chambertin Croix des Champs VV
Gevrey-Chambertin Les Echezeaux VV
Gevrey-Chambertin Les Marchais Vignes
Gevrey-Chambertin En Pallud VV
Gevrey-Chambertin En Vosne VV
Masannay Red La Ribaude VV
Marsannay Rosé
Nuits St.Georges La Plateaux
Vosne-Romanée Le Pré de la Folie VV
Chassagne-Montrachet Les Embrazées
PUligny-Montrachet Les Reuchaux VV

Bourgogne Rosé
Bourgogne Pinot Noir VV
Bourgogne Pinot Noir Les Maladières
Bourgogne Pinot Noir Grands Champs VV
Bourgogne Hautes Côtes de Nuits Red Petite Vigne
Bourgogne Hautes Côtes de Nuits Blanc Les Martennes
Bourgogne Grand Ordinaire Blanc En Auvonne
Bourgogne Passetoutgrains
Bourgogne Aligoté En Riotte

As you can see (right) it’s a considerable number of cuvées that come from this domaine, though the largest area is Hautes Côtes which amounts to around 4 hectares. I had the chance to taste through the barrels of 2011, 18th January 2012 – all had long-since finished their malos, “Malos were very fast for the 2011s” said Pierre, “In quite a number of cases they directly followed the alcoholic fermentations.” I’ll offer some commentary, rather than notes as they are clearly too young. We finished with some (not yet bottles) 2010 whites which Pierre described as made from exchanged or bought grapes – ‘just for the pleasure!’ but Pierre likes to point out that even when he’s bought grapes, he’s usually made all the treatments in the vines, and harvested the grapes himself. As you will see from the notes that follow, this seems an address where you will find some treasure!

Some 2011s…
The Marsannays were very precocious and very, very pretty. The Fixin Les Herbues had a suggestion (I wasn’t sure) of pyrazine(?), The Fixin Les Hervelets (from 65 year-old vines) was very elegant indeed (for Fixin!). The Morey was charming and the Chambolle (bottom of the villages near RN74) was elegant and long. Next The Vosne-Romanée (Basses Mazières) packed an extra aromatic punch. The Nuits was nice and Pierre explained that he’d ‘done nothing’ with this wine – not even pigeage. Gevrey Les Crais (from 75 year-old vines) had beautiful aromas though again with a hint of pyrazine perhaps, whereas the Corvées was one of the few with a hint of CO2 to spoil the party. Gevrey En Pallud was rounder and sweeter – though sometimes isn’t produced as there isn’t always enough to fill a barrel – whilst Gevrey Les Marchais (opposite Varoilles) smelled great, was mineral too – one to search out. Gevrey ‘Echézeaux’ has minerality and a really impressive width, whilst Gevrey ‘en Vosne’ (from the Brochon side) is more linear and mouth-watering.

And those 2010 whites:

2010 Pierre Naigeon, Puligny-Montrachet
A very impressive core of fruit, some oak notes underpinning the aromas – wide and complex. There’s plenty of flavour from the barrel and quite a rich/opulent impression, yet the wine hangs nicely ‘together’.

2010 Pierre Naigeon, Chassagne-Montrachet Les Embrazées
Lovely Chassagne nose, herby and interesting. Less rich than the Puilgny, more mineral too. Very good extension of flavour in the mid-palate, though I might like a little more precision.

2010 Pierre Naigeon, Corton Blanc (Les Grands Lolières)
An impressive, demonstrative, deeply-fruited nose that tends towards pears and pineapples. Silky and actually quite mineral – finely balanced. Nothing at all heavy about this – a super wine!

Domaine Pierre Naigeon
4, rue du Chambertin
«Vieil Hotel Jobert de Chambertin»
21220, Gevrey-Chambertin
France
Tél: +33 (0)3 80 34 14 87
Fax: +33 (0)3 80 58 51 18
Mail : pierre.naigeon@wanadoo.fr
Web: www.domainepierrenaigeon.com

4 responses to “Profile: Domaine Pierre Naigeon (Gevrey)”

  1. Robert Sweeney

    Pyrazine, as in C4H4N2, a feebly basic solid made by distilling piperazine with zinc dust. Or in the metaphoric sense of an aromatic substance!

  2. Robert Sweeney

    🙂

  3. shek

    I’ve been extremely underwhelmed by all of his wines that are currently available in Australia ATM both Burgundian and Victorian. Very poor.

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