Philippe Gavignet, Nuits-Saint-Georges “La Charmotte”
Philippe Gavignet, Nuits-Saint-Georges “La Charmotte”

Philippe Gavignet, Nuits-Saint-Georges “La Charmotte”

Burgundy, France 2020 (750mL)
Regular price$79.00
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Philippe Gavignet, Nuits-Saint-Georges “La Charmotte”

Today we present another edition of “Cellar Gems Under $100,” starring one of our all-time Burgundy favorites, Philippe Gavignet. Every time I see one of his spare, classic labels my reaction is downright Pavlovian because his wines reliably deliver a combination of rusticity and refinement that some would describe as “old school.”


Gavignet’s reds are the kinds of Pinot Noirs you read about in books by Clive Coates or Jasper Morris: woodsy, structured, mineral beauties that evoke images of autumn leaves and the smoke from winter vine prunings. Gavignet’s home base is Nuits-Saint-Georges, but, like most of his long-held vineyard parcels, his wine leans toward the “Vosne side” of things—as in, Vosne-Romanée. This gorgeous 2020 “La Charmotte” doesn’t say Premier Cru on the label yet it sits right next to 1er Cru “Aux Bousselots” near the Nuits-Saint-Georges/Vosne-Romanée border, but how many times have we been here before? Hopefully, it’s been enough times with Gavignet alone to have earned your trust. It will be rewarded handsomely with this bottle, believe me.


The Gavignet domaine, based in Nuits-Saint-Georges, dates to the 1930s and still boasts some vineyards planted way back then (and before). Current proprietor Philippe (whose first vintage was 1979) farms roughly 10 hectares as sustainably as possible, eschewing chemical herbicides and pesticides and harvesting only by hand. His range of wines is focused almost exclusively on N-S-G bottlings, where his holdings include Premier Crus such as “Les Chaboeufs,” “Bousselots” and “Les Pruliers.” Gavignet’s vines in the La Charmotte lieu-dit average 50 years of age, rooted in relatively shallow clay over limestone bedrock.


This would be a great wine to wrap in foil or paper and sneak onto a table for people to taste blind. I’m certain they’d guess Premier Cru (or higher) coming in at a much higher price than this wine does. For the La Charmotte bottling, hand-harvested fruit is cold macerated for about 10 days before a fermentation on native yeasts, after which the wine is aged 15 months in French oak barrels (33% new). Bottled unfined and unfiltered, the 2020 shows excellent concentration and that rustic/refined character I noted above. These wines have a real visceral power to them, and yet they aren’t at all heavy—that’s the magic of Burgundian Pinot Noir!


Shining ruby-red in the glass moving to a pink rim, the 2020 delivers assertive aromas of dried plum, raspberry, pomegranate, and black cherry intertwined with savory aromatics of black mushroom, black tea, damp earth, grape stems, baking spices, and woodsy smoke. The palate is medium-plus in body with beautiful texture and freshness. Fruits confirm the nose and are enveloped in perfect structure, soft tannins, and an essence that is simultaneously reminiscent of Vosne-Romanée and Nuits-St-Georges at its best. It promises to age 10 years if you decide to cellar some, but if you’re uncorking one now, decant it 30-60 minutes before serving in Burgundy stems at 60-65 degrees. Gavignet’s style is über-classic, so stay in that lane with the pairing: beef bourguignon, coq au vin, etc. It’s the next-best thing to being in Burgundy!

Philippe Gavignet, Nuits-Saint-Georges “La Charmotte”
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France

Bourgogne

Beaujolais

Enjoying the greatest wines of Beaujolais starts, as it usually does, with the lay of the land. In Beaujolais, 10 localities have been given their own AOC (Appellation of Controlled Origin) designation. They are: Saint Amour; Juliénas; Chénas; Moulin-à Vent; Fleurie; Chiroubles; Morgon; Régnié; Côte de Brouilly; and Brouilly.

Southwestern France

Bordeaux

Bordeaux surrounds two rivers, the Dordogne and Garonne, which intersect north of the city of Bordeaux to form the Gironde Estuary, which empties into the Atlantic Ocean. The region is at the 45th parallel (California’s Napa Valley is at the38th), with a mild, Atlantic-influenced climate enabling the maturation of late-ripening varieties.

Central France

Loire Valley

The Loire is France’s longest river (634 miles), originating in the southerly Cévennes Mountains, flowing north towards Paris, then curving westward and emptying into the Atlantic Ocean near Nantes. The Loire and its tributaries cover a huge swath of central France, with most of the wine appellations on an east-west stretch at47 degrees north (the same latitude as Burgundy).

Northeastern France

Alsace

Alsace, in Northeastern France, is one of the most geologically diverse wine regions in the world, with vineyards running from the foothills of theVosges Mountains down to the Rhine River Valley below.

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