Philippe Harmand at Domaine Harmand-Geoffroy in Gevrey-Chambertin.

a Bossière in Gevrey-Chambertin, this premier cru has spent a large part of its life in the shadow of the other premier crus of the village. It wasn’t until the late 1980s that Domaine Harmand-Geoffroy, the owner of this monopole, began bottling it separately. Up until then it had been blended with Les Champeaux and Lavaux St-Jacques.

– La Bossière is right in the forest, says Philippe Harmand. It’s the last premier cru up behind the village in the Combe Lavaux. It’s a cool part of Gevrey-Chambertin, a bit more rustic. La Bossière is a bit like the Chambolle of Gevrey, not a particularly powerful wine.

Gevrey-Chambertin premier cru, La Bossière.Philippe Harmand has been vinifying at Domaine Harmand-Geoffroy since 2007. At the time of his maternal grandfather the domaine was quite small. Since then it has been growing steadily. In 1986 Philippe’s father, Gérard Harmand, took on the three hectares of vineyards of Domaine Vachet-Rousseau, bringing Domaine Harmand-Geoffroy up to a total of nine hectares.

– My father was an electrician. He used to work with the Mirage aircrafts. He had some vineyards on the side. Then he met my mother, and changed profession. That is also when it became Domaine Harmand-Geoffroy. The Geoffroy part of the comes from my mother’s side of the family.

Mazis-Chambertin.– The fact that he comes from the south of France didn’t exactly make that transition easier, smiles Philippe Harmand. The other growers would tease him every now and then for being an outsider. It was not easy becoming integrated in a village like Gevrey-Chambertin.

The nine hectares of Domaine Harmand-Geoffroy are all in Gevrey-Chambertin, whether
it is the regional appellation Bourgogne or the grand cru Mazis-Chambertin. The average age of the vines is 50 years, with the youngest being 30 years old and the oldest 90.

– La Bossière has been in the family for a long time, but it was badly hit by the frost in 1985, says Philippe Harmand. So the whole thing was replanted, which means the vines are still relatively young. They are slowly getting there, beginning to show some power.

Combe de Lavaux, Gevrey-Chambertin.The vineyard is facing almost straight south. But with the forest on two sides and a cool wind coming from the valley leading down from the Hautes Côtes this is a place where temperatures are kept slightly lower.

– We always harvest La Bossière last, says Philippe Harmand. Some years there is some rot. The forest brings humidity, so it can be difficult at times.

– I only use 30 per cent new oak for this wine because the soil is very stony and quite mineral.

The regional appellation wine of Domaine Harmand-Geoffroy, the Bourgogne rouge, comes from a parcel in La Nouroy, close to the tennis court. The soil is deeper, but still with quite a lot of stones. The vines are well over 50 years.

Gevrey-Chambertin premier cru, La Bossière.– What I’m doing here at the domaine is not very different from what my father did. It’s more a matter of style. He was more about power, whereas I’m focusing on the fruit. Vinification is very traditional. Cold pre-fermentation maceration for four to six days. Then two weeks of fermentation and twelve to 16 months of élevage. What has changed since my father’s time is the equipment.

Gevrey-Chambertin, Burgundy.There are four different village appellation Gevrey-Chambertin cuvées. The straight Gevrey-Chambertin is a blend of ten different parcels, mainly from below the grand crus. The vieilles vignes cuvée, the old vines cuvée, is not only put together with respect to the age of the vines, which is between 50 and 80 years. The parcels are also chosen with their character in mind. All three – En Songe, Les Champs Perrières and Le Carré Rougeaud – are located north of the village in places producing more powerful wines.

The other two are single vineyard cuvées – En Jouise and Clos Prieur, both located south of the village, below the grand crus.

– The vines in En Jouise are 65 years old, says Philippe Harmand. The wine has lots of red fruit, with a nice minerality. In Clos Prieur I have one parcel in the premier cru part and two parcels in the village appellation part. Since the premier cru parcel is too small to make a separate cuvée I blend all three in to a single cuvée. The village appellation vines are 85 years old, the premier cru ones more than 40 years old. The village appellation soil is fatter, less stony. The premier cru part is much stonier. The limestone there is of a different type, calcaire à entroques.

Philippe Harmand at Domaine Harmand-Geoffroy in Gevrey-Chambertin.Just next to Clos Prieur you’ll find La Perrière, one of the four premier crus of Domaine Harmand-Geoffroy. Philippe Harmand owns the part which is actually bordering on Clos Prieur. He describes this as a wine which has slightly less acidity than La Bossière, but more volume and power, and which is more approachable when young.

On the other side of the village, close to the top of the slope, is Champeaux. The soil is almost non-existent there. The rock is very close to the surface, leaving the vines’ roots to seek their way down in the faults.

– Champeaux is a bit like Mazis-Chambertins little brother, says Philippe Harmand. Then, in Lavaux St-Jacques, I have six parcels, ranging from 40 to 80 years old. It is an appellation which is not very homogenous. The further into the valley you move the cooler it becomes. Also, the soil is fatter in the lower parts. As you move up the slope it gets more stony. So depending on where in Lavaux St-Jacques you have your vines conditions will be different.

Also in Mazis-Chambertin, the grand cru of the domaine, Philippe Harmand has six parcels. Three in the upper part, Mazis-Hauts, and three in the lower part, Mazis-Bas.

– The parts of Mazis-Chambertin can be different, but it depends on where you are. In fact, parts of Mazis-Bas is actually higher up than Mazis-Hauts. There is a road that separates the two. La Perrière is just below and you can really taste the difference. In Mazis-Chambertin the berries are always small. The soil is poor and yields lower. Mazis-Chambertin is all Prémeaux limestone. It is the most powerful grand cru of the village. Powerful and elegant at the same time.

© 2020 Ola Bergman