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.
Aux Argillas is 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 ensures 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.