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.
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.