The Train Has Left the Station: 2015 Domaine Harmand-Geoffroy

Posted on: 10/23/18 12:00 PM

Harmand Geoffroy

It’s official. Harmand-Geoffroy is “in the club.” Burghound and other reviewers are starting to realize the talent on full display here. 2015 is nothing short of a coming out party for this remarkable Domaine.

Harmand-Geoffroy, alongside a small group of other growers – Coffinet-Duvernay, Pinson and one or two more – represents the best of what the Burgundy List is: a source for the best of Burgundy, and not just the names everyone knows. I’m proud to represent “under the radar” growers like Philippe Harmand and his father Gérard. The wines are flat out exceptional and destined to enjoy a wider audience, which will make the almost exclusivity we currently enjoy on the wines a thing of the past. Already, Allen Meadows is changing his tune. Just a few years ago, Harmand was a source of “easy, fruit forward wines” similar to Heresztyn. Now, after the 2014s and 2015s, Meadows has changed his tune, and several of the wines now regularly receive his coveted rating ♥ :

“The Harmand style is one of elegance and refinement and in a vintage like 2015 that naturally provided good concentration, the two marry very well. Indeed these are perhaps the most structured wines that I have seen from the domaine since 2005. I also quite liked several of their now in-bottle 2014s so be sure to take a look at those reviews as well.” Allen “Burghound” Meadows

This is just the beginning; the Domaine has been on the rise for the better part of a decade and Philippe is just now hitting his stride. These factors and the following make me believe that this address is poised for some more serious critical attention, which, with it, will mean more consumer demand, which, ultimately, mean we will have less wine to sell. Consider the following:

First, the wines are confined to a single village – Gevrey-Chambertin – and, as such, appeal to those of us looking for the opportunity to find what Burgundy excels at: the variety of expressions across a limited and finite geographical area, i.e. terroir.

Second, Gevrey is a generous appellation, in all its manifold expressions, and the wines carry the village’s generosity of fruit and sultry earthy undertones well, producing wines that are immediately likeable, with a density and purity of fruit that is hard to resist. Lastly, despite price increases, the wines remain values compared to other sources for Gevrey and top-flight Burgundy generally.

We have been following the Domaine here at the store now since the 2005 vintage and there hasn’t even been a hiccough. Moving from strength to strength, this Domaine offers a master class in Gevrey with its 9 hA of vines spread out over some of the most important and engaging sites in the appellation. The story here is not that different from other fine Domaines – organic viticulture carried out by hand; simple, traditional and natural yeast fermentations; élevage in judicious and minimal new oak – but it is one that grows ever more compelling with each successive vintage. Philippe, Gérard’s son, has taken full control as of 2007, and with this transition, he has driven the Domaine to new heights.

I tasted the 2014s from barrel and it was a great joy to revisit the 2014s from bottle. All the elegance and finesse of the vintage has found its way into the bottle. Long, intense and mineral – with crystaline fruit and plenty of Gevrey earth. While there is certainly room for debate, I am confident that 2014s will become one of the great “unheralded” red Burgundy vintages, destined to drink gorgeously in 10-20 years, with balance, freshness and character-a-plenty.

Simply put, these are among Burgundy’s best wines and yet remain among Burgundy’s greatest secrets.

2015 Domaine Harmand-Geoffroy

2015 Gevrey-Chambertin

I described the 2009 example of this wine as “a gateway drug” for Burgundy. Classic Gevrey: richly fruited, with a mossy, earthy, sauvgae characteristic that is deeply alluring.

Neal Rosenthal’s Description: “A classic Gevrey sourced from multiple small parcels (covering more than four hectares) throughout the village which enables the wine to capture the true nature of this grand appellation; the youngest vines for this cuvée are 25 years of age with the oldest being 80 years old. Rich, yet graceful, this Gevrey shows the wild berry fruit and charming rusticity that are the hallmarks of true Gevrey Chambertin.”

2015 Gevrey-Chambertin “Clos Prieur”  (♥ – BH)

This is the Domaine’s best value – a cru just below Mazis-Chambertin, with extremely old vines AND 1/3 of the cuvee is 1er cru juice! This is a remarkable wine for the price, with exceptional ability to age.

Neal Rosenthal’s Description: “This wine is from a contiguous parcel that sits astride the Clos Prieur du Haut (classified 1er Cru) and the Clos Prieur du Bas (classified as a village wine); rather than create two tiny cuvées, the domaine prefers to blend the two to make an extra-fine village wine from the lieu-dit “Clos Prieur”. Harmand-Geoffroy owns a bit less than a half-hectare of vineyards in Clos Prieur and the vines therein were planted between 50 and 80 years ago. In our opinion, this is one of the finest village wines available from Gevrey; it is elegant yet powerful with a compelling density and ripe, sweet tannins. We consider ourselves fortunate to have access to at least a single barrel (300 bottles) per annum (and we occasionally press our luck and bottle some magnums to extend our holdings of this outstanding wine).”

2015 Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Perrière

Perrière sits at the northern end of the run of Grand Cru vineyards below Mazis. The site of an old quarry, the subsoil is dense, chalk limestone.

Neal Rosenthal’s Description: “This premier cru is located just beneath Mazis Chambertin in the southern tier of Gevrey, a zone which typically provides wines of finesse that are graced by silky tannins. Here, we have a wine frequently marked by red fruits, rather than black; a seductive wine of excellent balance. Production is very limited as the Domaine owns a mere 3/10 of a hectare; the vines are 45 years of age.”

2015 Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Champeaux (♥ – BH)

Arguably, the finest 1er cru available at the Domaine and among the most underappreciated in Gevrey. Situated on the northern end of the Combe de Lavaux (sometimes called the Côte St-Jacques), at perfect mid-slope exposition, with exceptionally complicated soils of red and brown earth and the mother rock right near the surface, it yields wines of profound structure, depth of fruit and intense minerality.

Neal Rosenthal’s Description: “Situated on a rocky face high on the Combe de Lavaux in the northwestern sector of Gevrey Chambertin, the Champeaux produces a wine of great nobility and complexity. The Harmand-Geoffroy domaine exploits a mere 2/10 of a hectare of vines in Champeaux, some of which were planted 80 years ago. We consider this lieu-dit to be amongst the very finest sites in this renowned appellation. We import a mere 300 bottles of this wine annually for the US market.”

2015 Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Lavaux-St.-Jacques (♥ – BH)

Abutting Clos-St.-Jacques, in the middle of the Combe de Lavaux, this site shares the same perfect exposition and much of the same soil content as the Clos. Similarly with the Clos, the wines always have a high-altitude Pinot quality, that exudes finesse and minerality. These are elegant and finesse driven wines from Lavaux, even if they need time to shed their typically deep structure.

Neal Rosenthal’s Description: “This fabled vineyard site, sitting in the heart of the Combe de Lavaux, produces a wine of great breadth and depth with wild berry notes (both red and black), ample body and formidable age-ability. The domaine works almost 7/10 of a hectare, making this 1er Cru one of the most important holdings for Harmand-Geoffroy. The vines were planted between 40 and 90 years ago so yields are small and the juice quite concentrated.

2015 Mazis-Chambertin

Mazis shares the same mother rock formation as Clos de Beze, and, like Beze, the subsoil is composed of fissured slabs of stone that the vines can penetrate very deeply into. The wines are very powerful and have deep structure, as well as an intense, even atypically intense, sauvage Gevrey complex to the aromatics and flavor profiles, including leather, game, pepper, mushroom and plenty more Gevrey funk.

Neal Rosenthal’s Description: “The Harmand-Geoffroy domaine works a substantial section of this fine Grand Cru … over three-quarters of a hectare. The vines are between 40 and 70 years of age; they face east and sit on well-drained, marne-infused soil. As is often the case with the Grand Crus in this southern tier of Gevrey, this wine, although powerful, is distinguished and fine with notes of raspberry and red cherry fruit in its youth supplemented with the aromas of violet, rose and clove; a more wild side emerges as the wine ages and pepper, licorice and leather add nuance to this beautiful beast.”

Posted in Burgundy List By Ian Halbert