Region: Nuits-St-Georges, Burgundy
Domaine Henri Gouges is arguably the most famous domaine in Nuits Saint Georges. The Gouges family have been vineyard proprietors in Nuits for generations. Currently run by cousins Pierre and Christian Gouges, the domaine consists of 14.5 hectares of vineyards and includes holdings in six Nuits Saint Georges premier crus. A Burgundy maverick, in the sense that this domaine was one of the first estates to reject the monopoly of the négociants by selling his wine directly, using domaine-bottling. This was in 1933.
Today Pierre and Christian Gouges again provide powerful, structured wines, yet surprisingly approachable.
The harvest is entirely de-stemmed and vinification takes place in lined cement vats for fifteen days, depending on the vintage. After cuvaison, the wine is transferred to small oak barrels (barriques), fined with egg whites and given a light filtration before bottling. Gouges only uses about 20% new oak across all his wine, sourcing other barrels from domaines which prefer to renew their barrels annually. Racking takes place at six and twelve months, before finally leaving the barriques at 18 months.
Production is small, with demand invariably outstripping supply and consequently wines from this domaine are becoming increasingly difficult to find. Their use of old, low yielding vines create a wine that has a deep colour, with mineral flavours and great length that develop in complexity as the years go by.
“Gouges noted that in 2015 the blend for this wine contains 40% from the 1er Chênes Carteaux so that there could be sufficient volume for their various markets. A background application of wood frames a similar if more complex and elegant array of ripe aromas. The sleek, round and delicious medium-bodied flavors possess lovely definition before terminating in a saline-inflected finish that is notably finer than it usually is. This offers simply terrific quality for its level and is highly recommended.” – Allen Meadows, Burghound