Domaine Philippe Gavignet, Bourgogne Hautes-Côtes de Nuits “Clos de L’Hermitage”
Domaine Philippe Gavignet, Bourgogne Hautes-Côtes de Nuits “Clos de L’Hermitage”

Domaine Philippe Gavignet, Bourgogne Hautes-Côtes de Nuits “Clos de L’Hermitage”

Burgundy, France 2020 (750mL)
Regular price$55.00
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Domaine Philippe Gavignet, Bourgogne Hautes-Côtes de Nuits “Clos de L’Hermitage”

High above the villages of Nuits-Saint-Georges and Vosne-Romanée, where vineyards give way to forest, are the “Hautes-Côtes,” or “upper slopes” of Burgundy’s Côte de Nuits. The higher altitudes and resultant cooler temperatures produce wines famously described as “full of fire, uplifting and light”—a phrase I’ll co-opt here in the service of Philippe Gavignet’s “Clos de l’Hermitage.” The creep of climate change has Burgundy vignerons (and Burgundy drinkers) looking anew at the Hautes-Côtes, and wines like this 2019 are a direct result:

Gavignet, one of the great artisans of Nuits-Saint-Georges and the owner of some of the greatest old-vine parcels in the village, planted his Clos de l’Hermitage recently, and it’s starting to pay dividends. Measuring less than an acre and climbing to 400 meters in elevation, this little gem of a site has the same exposition and marl/limestone soils as the band of Premier Cru parcels downslope, but it’s a touch cooler and windier, producing a Pinot Noir full of invigorating tension and soaring perfume. Lovers of classically styled Burgundy should jump all over this one, because it not only blossoms with time open but is poised to be a fantastic short-term ager. “Uplifting” pretty much nails it, but I’ll add “transfixing” and “energizing” for good measure: I anxiously await my next bottle!

This is what we’ve all come to expect from Philippe Gavignet, one of the most reliable and resolutely classic Burgundy producers we work with at SommSelect. From Bourgogne Rouge all the way up the ladder, Gavignet’s wines a marked by palpable tension and earthy soul. Based in Nuits-Saint-Georges, the property dates to the 1930s and still boasts some vineyards planted way back then (and before). 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,” “Les Bousselots” and “Les Pruliers,” but he’s also got a strong presence in the Hautes-Côtes, including one site with vines approaching 50 years of age. His tiny Clos de l’Hermitage site contains younger vines in an east/southeast-facing parcel high above the village of Nuits-Saint-Georges.

Regardless of vineyard location, what you get from Gavignet is maximum transparency and purity—a wine of high-wire tension aged 12 months in 25% new oak barriques. What you don’t get is a lot of gloss and sheen, especially when it’s a Hautes-Côtes bottling: this 2019 is all about tangy red fruit, floral aromatics, and nerve. In the glass, it’s a medium garnet moving to a ruby-pink rim, with lifted aromas of wild strawberry, raspberry, red and black cherry, orange peel, rose petal, loose-leaf tea, pepper, and underbrush. It is medium-bodied and racy, even a touch austere in its youth, which I’ve got to say I welcome with open arms—our warming climate is making it ever more difficult to make Pinot Noir with this kind of bounce and snap. Decant it at least 30 minutes before serving if enjoying a bottle now, but do yourself a favor and forget about a bottle or two until 3-5 years from now—it promises to be a delicate, multi-dimensional beauty. Pinot Noir of such finesse and woodsy soul feels like a dying breed sometimes, so let’s celebrate it while we still can. Pair this with everything from grilled/roasted salmon all the way up to beef bourguignon. This is old-school red Burgundy defined! 

Domaine Philippe Gavignet, Bourgogne Hautes-Côtes de Nuits “Clos de L’Hermitage”




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 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, 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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