The why, the what and the how of...
Domaine Henri Gouges
The Gouges family have been vineyard proprietors in Nuits-Saint-Georges for generations. Currently run by Gregory and Antoine Gouges, great-grandsons of Henri Gouges, the domaine consists of 14.5 hectares of vineyards and includes holdings in six Nuits-Saint-Georges premiers crus.
This domaine is a Burgundy maverick in the sense that it was one of the first estates, in 1933, to reject the monopoly of the négociants by selling domaine-bottled wine directly.
The wines made in the 1940s and 1950s were immensely dense and long-lived, though a substantial replanting programme may have been responsible for a lightening in style in the 1970s and 1980s. Today Gregory and Antoine Gouges again provide powerful, structured wines that remain pure and very approachable. There has definitely been a noticeable change in style towards more lightness and finesse since Gregory took over in 2007.
The harvest is entirely de-stemmed and vinification takes place in lined cement vats for fifteen days, depending on the vintage. Gouges only uses about 20% new oak across all the wines, sourcing other barrels from domaines which prefer to renew their barrels annually. Racking takes place just before being bottled 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 creates wines that develop in complexity as the years go by.