Tuesday, January 12, 2016
Domaine Faiveley in Nuits-Saint-George: Cellar Tour and Wine Tasting with Mathilde Nicolas (Brand Ambassador) – Bourgogne Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015), France
Domaine Joseph Faiveley is one of the biggest domains in the Bourgogne and, many would argue, one of the best. This illustrious company has been based in Nuits St Georges since the days of Pierre Faiveley who founded the business in 1825. His son Joseph gave his name to the family business, to be followed by (1) the first François, (2) Georges who was instrumental in founding the Chevaliers du Tastevin, (3) Guy who developed the business in the Côte Chalonnaise, (4) François who recently retired and (5) now his son Erwan, born in 1979.
Guy Faiveley, a brilliant intellectual who had a collection of diplomas had the difficult job of succeeding his very colorful father. Yet, with his impetus, the domain doubled in size. François Faiveley took over the domain at the age of 25. He was able to give it a new boost – using a precursor of the sorting table and carrying out cold macerations for example. At the same age as his father, Erwan Faiveley took over the domain in 2007, becoming the seventh generation. On his arrival, he renewed and reinforced his team and invested in the winery and the vineyards. He brought new dynamics to the family business, while remaining faithful to his predecessors' values.
Initially, the company was a classic négociant, buying and selling wine. Bourgogne wines started to experience greater fame in Louis 14th's reign, when those high up in the King's court and foreign ambassadors in Paris started to take an interest. It was against this background that Pierre Faiveley founded the négociant business in 1825.
But from generation to generation, with a strong commitment to the quality of Burgundy’s patrimony, the Faiveley family has purchased vineyards and is today among the largest owners of classified vineyards in the Côte de Nuits, Côte de Beaune and Côte Chalonnaise.
The objective of the family today, led by Erwan Faiveley, is to increase the firm’s holdings of great vineyards so that there can be complete control from vine to bottle across the entire range of wines.
On October 15, 2013, in a surprise announcement, Domaine Faiveley reported it had acquired 20 hectares of vines previously owned by Domaine Dupont-Tisserandot, which is based in Gevrey-Chambertin. All together, the firm now presently owns 123 hectares of vineyards among which 12 hectares are grands crus and 27, premiers crus.
Along with this focus, Erwan Faiveley and General Manager Bernard Hervet have renovated the cellars, which now boast state-of-the-art barrel presses, custom-designed wooden vats and among the finest, air-cured oak casks available in the world. Unlike many wine growers, Domaine Faiveley has united the management of its vineyards and its cellar under the direction of one technical director, Jerome Flous.
The grapes are entirely destemmed and fermented in new custom-designed wooden vats for the finer wines, conical stainless steel tanks for the lesser cuvées. Fermentation is slow and at low temperatures.
Wines mature afterwards in oak barrels in 19th century vault cellars that offer ideal conditions for long ageing. These barrels coming from great coopers have been rigorously selected for their fine grain and light toast. Both premier and grand cru wines may receive two-thirds new wood.
Many of Faiveley's top wines are hand bottled with no filtration. This in turn results in clean, opulent wines that often show Pinot Noir at its best.
This write up is based on what I learnt from Mathilde Nicolas during the tour and tasting at Domaine Faiveley in Nuits-Saint-Georges and the Faiveley web site, supplemented by the excellent write-ups on the web site of Berry Bros. and Rudd as well as Frederic Wildmann.
2013 Domaine Faiveley Mercurey “La Framboisière”
This wine has a really fruity powerful nose, which mixes greedy red and black fruit aromas and woody notes. But it is on the palate that it shows its full potential, where it is powerful and fleshy with flavors of raspberry and other very ripe red fruits, almost as if we were biting into them.
2013 Domaine Faiveley Gevry-Chambertin
A brilliant dark ruby color. The expressive and complex nose has aromas of red fruits with woody notes. We find these same aromas on the palate which are well enveloped by delicately blended tannins.
2013 Domaine Faiveley Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru "Les Porêts St-Georges"
A deep ruby-red color. The nose has black fruit notes and woody, fiery aromas. After a round and full attack, this wine proves powerful and full-bodied. It is well-balanced and of high quality, with good cellaring potential.
2013 Faiveley Bourgogne Chardonnay
2013 Domaine Faiveley Rully “Les Villeranges”
A brilliant light yellow color. A blend of mineral flinty aromas and very ripe fruit aromas gives a nice fresh bouquet. This wine is very pleasant on the palate, sophisticated and round at first, with a slightly acid finish, which gives a beautiful freshness to the whole.
2013 Faiveley Meursault 1er Cru “Blagny”
A brilliant light yellow color. The very pleasant expressive and complex nose opens up with floral and slightly woody notes. The attack is bold and frank, then this wine is full and harmonious on the palate. It has a certain vivaciousness, which gives it good length on the palate and very long-lasting aromas.
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