Founded by the Cistercians in 1142, the famous vineyard known as Clos de Perrière was purchased in 1853 by the Joliet family, who own it to this day (5 hectares of vines and the imposing Manoir de la Perrière in the appellation Fixin, located at the northerly end of the Cote de Nuits). There has been a building there since before the famous monks of the area arrived – the Dukes of Burgundy originally used it as a hunting rendevouz, but in time it was given to a monk at the Abbey of Cîteaux. The current owners have done what their predecessors before them have always done – preserve the traditions and values that the monks instilled in this precious land: of rigour, independence, and a constant search for quality.
The Joliet family farms 4.5 hectares with red grapes (Pinot Noir, naturally) and the remaining 0.5 hectare with white grapes (Chardonnay, of course). Elsewhere in Fixin, some Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc may be used, but only in tiny proportions. Domaine Joliet have their own particular tricks of the trade which enable them to produce consistently superb wines – for example, they limit their yields to around 35 hl/ha, and they have a relatively long vinification period (20 days). The two-year ageing process in oak barrels also imparts further wonderful qualities on the wines.
Bénigne Joliet’s wine is Premier Cru – that’s right, not a Grand Cru. It deserves the higher status, no question. But there are certain advantages as things stand; when he bought out relatives to keep control of the whole vineyard, he could only do so because the land was not taxed at the higher Grand Cru rate. And of course, for consumers, it keeps the prices down too.
The exceptional white wines they make here can rival their famous counterparts to the south in the Cote de Beaune, the Grand Crus of Corton-Charlemagne and the Montrachets, and the best of the Meursault Premier Crus. The red wines of Fixin could easily be from Gevrey-Chambertin, excelling both in fullness of flavor and also structure.
From BurgundyWine.com by Elden Selections, why not try the 1er Cru 'Clos de la Perriere' Blanc? Great depth of maturity, with tinges of lemongrass and nuts, round but with a floral vivacity that marks it as a great white Burgundy. A unique earthy minerality carries the whole package to a lovely long finish.
And for a red wine, go for the Fixin 1er Cru 'Clos de la Perriere' Rouge: Pale ruby red, this Fixin at 13% alcohol is anything but your stereotypic Fixin rustic. Very elegant, sweet fresh raspberry fruit, then cherry. There’s richness and intensity, ripeness and purity, a tension that tells you it will age well. Complex and seductive, long and exciting.
Many have raved about the wines made here. Dr. Lavalle, in his authoritative work on wine, notes:
"The Wines of Clos de la Perrière are very colourful, very spirituous, and they have the virtue of keeping longer than any other species of wine from our Côte-D'Or.”
More recently, however, you may have seen a New York Times article about Domaine Joliet entitled “A Vineyard’s Comeback – 200 Years in the Making”, charting the rise of this undervalued appellation and extolling the virtues of the wines made here.
Those lucky enough to discover the gems of Fixin now will find world-class wines at everyday prices. Elden has been banging the drum for Fixin wines for years; now the rest of the wine drinking world has caught up, why not buy a bottle and toast an undimmed greatness that goes back nearly 900 years?
Why not check out the rest of our blog, including this article where we ask Domaine or Chateau? We also have a fantastic new monthly newsletter which gives you all the latest news and comment from your favorite wine region. And don’t forget you can visit us at home in our Burgundian manor house – Domaine de Cromey - visit this link to find out more!