I’m having a hard time making sense of this wine: It comes from Harmand-Geoffroy, one of the acknowledged masters of Gevrey-Chambertin; it is sourced from their monopole (solely owned) Premier Cru vineyard, “La Bossiere,” from which they produce very little wine; and only about 300 bottles of it make it to the US each vintage. And it costs…what now?
Well, if you are a Burgundy lover, and a longtime SommSelect subscriber, you know this is par for the course for Harmand-Geoffroy—unquestionably one of the most undervalued blue-chip producers in all of Burgundy. This is our first-ever crack at this ephemeral Gevrey-Chambertin beauty, and if all the above weren’t already enough, here are two more noteworthy items to add to the laundry list: (1) it’s got some nice bottle age and (2) it hails from 2014, one of my favorite red Burgundy vintages of the last decade. Considering all this, today’s offer feels almost too good to be true: This regal, classically structured red is starting to really hit its stride, but it’s also a reminder that the best Burgundy is a marathon, not a sprint. We have very little to share today, but can offer up to six bottles per customer of the savviest Burgundy investment I’ve come across in…who knows how long!
Those of you who are already Harmand-Geoffroy and/or Gevrey-Chambertin aficionados likely know of the Premier Cru “Lavaux-St. Jacques,” a 9.5-hectare site with more than 30 different owners farming its south-facing slopes. Just a few parcels over from Lavaux is Harmand-Geoffroy’s minuscule, half-hectare monopole, “La Bossiere,” which, like Lavaux, sits at the mouth of the Combe de Lavaux—the narrow, snaking valley that runs west out of Gevrey-Chambertin and up into the forests above. It’s an especially cool microclimate in Gevrey because of the wind-tunnel effect of the combe, lending the “La Bossiere” bottling a lot of high-toned aromatics and a certain austerity in its youth. Having enjoyed some time in bottle, the 2014 is beginning to soften and broaden, with lots more evolution still ahead of it!
This, of course, is what I expect from Harmand-Geoffroy—wines that epitomize the firm structure and woodsy, darker-fruited personality classically associated with Gevrey-Chambertin. In recent years, the Harmand family has focused intently on improving consistency. In 1998, the family built a more modern winery facility, which coincided with a shift toward cleaner, less rustic wines. The property is organically farmed without chemical fertilizers, insecticides, or herbicides, which the family feels interrupt the natural life cycles of the vineyard. La Bossiere, which contains some of the “youngest” vines of the estate at about 30 years of age, is part of one of the most enviable collections of prime vineyard parcels in Gevrey-Chambertin. When I think of this iconic village, Harmand-Geoffroy is always one of the first names to come to mind—not least because I can actually afford to drink their wines!
Grapes for this 2014 were hand-harvested and de-stemmed before undergoing a five-day ‘cold soak’ (maceration on skins). Fermentation lasted 2-3 weeks before the wine was racked into a mix of mostly neutral small barrels along with a few new barrels. The wine aged for a year and a half until bottling by gravity without fining or filtration. The 2014 vintage is often described as a “classic” (i.e. structured rather than ultra-ripe), so some extra time in bottle has really enhanced this edition of “La Bossiere.” In the glass, it’s a deep garnet-red extending to a pink (and ever-so-slightly orange) rim, with perfumed aromas of red and black cherry, woodland berries, damp violets, black tea, trumpet mushrooms, warm spice, and lots of underbrush. Medium-bodied and full of delicious tension, it has begun to knit together nicely but still has a long life ahead of it. If you open a bottle soon (and you absolutely should), decant it about an hour before service in Burgundy stems at 60-65 degrees. Remaining bottles, if not greedily consumed soon thereafter, should be cellared and revisited over the next 10-15 years. This is a benchmark wine in every respect—its price doesn’t come close to reflecting its quality. I always lean toward something game-y when Harmand-Geoffroy is on the table, so try it with the attached recipe for the ultimate “Gevrey” experience. Cheers!