Nuits St Georges from Henri Gouges

Domaine Henri Gouges is one of the foremost estates in the Côte de Nuits. Established in 1919, it has an enviable reputation for deep coloured, age worthy wines from each of 6 premier Cru vineyards around Nuits St Georges.  

Domaine Henri Gouges wine label

Domaine Henri Gouges

Henri Gouges came from a long line of vignerons in Burgundy, he established his own domaine in 1919 buying his father’s vineyards,  later snapping up a few more premier cru sites in the 1920s in the aftermath of the Great Crash he created a domaine of 9 hectares.  Henri’s grandsons and great grandsons now manage the estate which has grown to 14.5 heactares, they maintain his traditional approach, producing firm classic wines that demand several years in the cellar.

A champion of the authenticity of Burgundian wine, Henri introduced estate bottling in the 1920s, a rare move at a time when Burgundy was dominated by negociants, and wines were frequently mixed with stronger wines from the Rhone or even Algeria. Henri also one of the founding fathers of the appellation system of vineyards in Burgundy in the early 20th century, he was heavily involved in the initial classification of the vineyards and sat on the regional regulatory committee too.

Given Henri’s involvement in the classification of vineyards it is surprising there are no Grand Crus in Nuits St Georges, but there is one site that is acknowledged to be the best and worthy of promotion. The quality of the ‘Les Saint-Georges’vineyard was clearly recognised many years ago, and in common with many villages with famous vineyards this was added to the village name – Puligny and Chassagne have Le Montrachet , Gevrey has Chambertin and so Nuits has St Georges. 

Henri’s grandsons and great grandsons now manage the estate, and maintain his traditional approach, producing firm classic wines that demand several years in the cellar. The estate comprises 14.5 hectares of vignes, nearly all premier crus, each site is handled separately, the grapes are destemmed and crushed before fermentation in a closed cement vat. This unique approach was developed by Henri in 1947, it is effectively a carbonic maceration which extracts deep colour from the grapes skins quickly. The amount of time the wines spend in vat varies markedly with each site and year, sometimes it is as short as a week sometimes two weeks, after which the wines are transferred to used oak barrels for 18-20 months with minimal racking – all wines see very little new oak. The wines are bottled with little or no filtration, and so may throw a natural deposit after a few years in bottle.

Those looking for light pretty wines should look elsewhere, these are dark firm deep flavoured wines typical of the Nuits, showing a tightly structured palate of minerals, dark fruits, and leather. The wines are highly prized by Burgundy aficionados and critics alike for their depth of flavour and typicity.  

The 2004 Vintage

“Vintage 2004 is pinot noir without excess, the classic pinot of Burgundy” Christian Gouges.

A successful vintage chez Gouges, partly due to ongoing improvements in the vineyards but also to careful sorting of the grapes before they went into the fermentation vats. Sugar levels in the ripe grapes at harvest were typically 12.7%-12.8% potential alcohol before fermentation, consequently many of the premier cru wines were not chaptalized at all. Given the suppleness of the 2004 wines Christian Gouges made the decision to add some press wine to increase the aging potential.

 

Vintage

Price x 12

Bottle

Nuits Saint Georges 1er Cru Les Pruliers

2004

£398.05

£33.17

Nuits St Georges 1er Cru Les Vaucrains

2004

£637.06

£53.09

Nuits Saint Georges 1er Cru Les Saint-Georges

2004

£650.05

£54.17

 Prices are inclusive of VAT. Subject to change without notice. O&E excluded.

Les Pruliers, from 45-year-old vines is characterised by very mineral flavours – corsé, full, with sweet fruit and fine long beautifully balanced flavours – as with most of Gouges wines, long keepers in the best vintages.

Les Vaucrains, in the heart of the Premiers Crus just above Les St.-Georges, is almost the most typically Nuits of all Gouges wines – small yields from 50-year-old vines generally giving a deeply coloured wine, dense and limpid in the glass – a level up in concentration and nuance from Les Pruliers.

Les St.-Georges produces a wine of yet more completeness and complexity than the Vaucrains. Tannic, plenty of charpente and muscle to start with, developing ripe complexity as it ages in bottle. If Nuits were ever to have a Grand Crus, it would be Les St. Georges.

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About Coe Vintners Fine Wine

Coe Vintners Fine Wine is part of the Coe Group, one of the leading wine and spirit suppliers in the UK. An independent family business established in 1930, Coe Vintners will celebrate 85 years continuous trading in 2015.
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