n recent years Marsannay has raised its profile. With a dynamic group of growers who share experiences with each other and work together the appellation has become one to watch closely, with the possibility of having part of it upgraded to premier cru in a not too distant future.
– Each of us has a style of our own, says Philippe Huguenot of Domaine Huguenot. We don’t try to copy our neighbour, but I think we all have progressed in terms of quality thanks to sharing experiences between us. Also, it is much nicer to work in a village where you share and help.
Two generations ago Domaine Huguenot was quite modest in size. Philippe Huguenot’s grandparents ran a domaine of just two-three hectares. It was Philippe’s father, Jean-Louis Huguenot, who began buying more land. During his years at the helm of the domaine – from 1968 to 1993 – it grew to 17 hectares.
– We have vineyards in Marsannay, Fixin and Gevrey-Chambertin, says Philippe Huguenot. Since I arrived at the domaine in 1993 it has grown to 23 hectares. Marsannay and Fixin are still relatively affordable appellations when it comes to buying land. But Gevrey-Chambertin, no… Right now Marsannay and Fixin are probably the two most profitable appellations if you look at the price per bottle and the price of land.
Philippe Huguenot decided to go organic in 2008. He began with a small part of the domaine, but quickly realised that working both organically and traditionally at the same time was too complicated. So already the year after he turned the whole domaine organic and in 2013 he received his certification by Ecocert.
At Domaine Huguenot there are seven different Marsannay cuvées – one rosé, one white and five red.
– Our white Marsannay is a blend from three lieux-dits – Champ-Salomon, Echezots and Grand Bois, explains Philippe Huguenot. About one third from each. At the moment the parcels are too small to be bottled separately. Together they cover 1.3 hectare and the vines are between 30 and 40 years old.
– Like Laurent Fournier (at Domaine Jean Fournier) I work a lot with 500 litre barrels for the whites. It gives the wine a nice freshness.
There is a straight red Marsannay as well, a blend of several lieux-dits. In addition to that there are separate bottlings of Champs Perdrix, Montagne, Echezots and La Charme aux Prêtres. The last one is a recent acquisition, a 0.30 ha parcel bought in 2014.
– The parcel in Champs Perdrix is big, 2.5 hectares, so it makes a very big cuvée, says Philippe Huguenot. Echezots is always a bit more austere. Montage is all about sun, producing a rounder wine. Champs Perdrix is at the very southern end of the appellation, bordering on Fixin. We have three parcels there, all on the same altitude. Champs Perdrix is about complexity, freshness and minerality. One could almost say a bit salty. Champs Perdrix has a bit of the tension from Echezots and the fat and the sweetness from Montagne.
– La Charme aux Prêtres is a small parcel, but it is still worth doing a separate cuvée. The vines are 70–80 years old. It is the same type of soil as in Champs Perdrix. The wine is ripe, but with similar freshness to Champs Perdrix. But the fruit is not the same and it is much less spicy.
Domaine Huguenot produces two wines from Fixin. One red from Petits Crais and one white from Champs de Vosger.
– Fixin is a very small appellation, says Philippe Huguenot. Just 80 hectares of vines and only four or five per cent is white. Practically all white Fixin come from the same part of the appellation. The reds from the this part tend to be a bit austere, but the whites are interesting.
Petits Crais is just below the Route des Grands Crus that cuts through the village. Further up the slope is Clos de la Perrière and Clos du Chapitre.
– It is at the end of the alluvial fan in Fixin. You have similar places all along the Côte d’Or, where the soil consists of small stones, sand and clay. The tannins in Fixin are much more solid than in Marsannay. Four-square, sometimes even a little rustic. You don’t have the elegance of Marsannay. Instead you have power. In general it is slightly cooler in Fixin. The soil is deeper and there is more water.
In Gevrey-Chambertin there are two village appellation cuvées. One from Les Crais, a 2.5 ha parcel just below the route nationale, and one small old vines cuvée from Les Champs north of the village.
– The old vines are at least 80 years old, says Philippe Huguenot. It is a vineyard which comes from my grandparents on my mother’s side. They were winegrowers in Fixin and they are the reason we have vines in both Fixin and Gevrey-Chambertin.
On the other side of the village, south of Gevrey-Chambertin, are the only premier and grand cru of Domaine Huguenot. Les Fontenys is a premier cru to the immediate north of the grand crus of Gevrey-Chambertin. The grand cru of the domaine is a small chunk of Charmes-Chambertin, from which Philippe Huguenot produces about 1000 bottles every year.
– Les Fontenys is always different from the other premier crus like Lavaut Saint-Jacques or Les Cazetiers. Both Les Fontenys and Champonnet, which is just next to Les Fontenys, are a bit more like Mazis-Chambertin. More power and structure.
– Our parcel in Charmes-Chambertin is at the top of the appellation. It is very stony there. Practically no soil. You get very elegant and soft tannins there. You have the finesse, like you do in Clos de Bèze and Griotte-Chambertin. Chapelle-Chamberlin has a bit more power. When you move in the opposite direction, towards Morey-Saint-Denis, you gain more in body and power in Latricières-Chambertin and Clos de la Roche. Like our vines in Les Fontenys the ones we have in Charmes-Chambertin are about 40 years old. It was my grandfather who bought the parcel.
© 2016 Ola Bergman