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Nuits-St-Georges


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When the Côte de Nuits was originally named, like the Côte de Beaune, it took the name of the town through which most business was conducted. Nuits-St-Georges was this town. At the time, and ever since, it has been very important for its role in the wine business, and for the amount of wine that passes through there. The wine grown in its vineyards is considered less important, but nonetheless this is a very underrated and interesting village for winemaking.

Nuits-St-Georges wine also uses the town of Premeaux-Prissey for its vineyards, which make up approximately 757 acres of prime Burgundian growing land. The two villages together make up about 11.5 square miles. Some of this terroir makes good white wine, but since the Nuits-St-Georges appellation is so much dominated by red wine, it is fairly rare to produce white wine under it. The red seems to add up to about 130,000 cases each year, with the whites coming in at only around 3,500.

Like Beaune on the south side of the Côte d'Or, Nuits-St-Georges is a regional center, meaning that many wineries have their headquarters there. One of them is Domaine Faiveley, which played an important part in the early development of the Nuits town and also makes some excellent wine within its borders.

Robust and woody, the darkly colored and flavored wines of Nuits-St-Georges can be some of the top reds for their pedigree--and even the village appellation almost always makes trustable wine. From most Premiers Crus it's hard to go wrong, which is why this village is considered more solid than even some of the more heralded, but less reliable, villages. Though there are no Grands Crus in Nuits, for buyers looking for solid, ageworthy red Burgundies at a price lower than any of the top villages, there's hardly a better place to look.

History

Nuits-St-Georges itself has a long history: from the very beginning, since its cultivation by nuns in the Middle Ages, it has played a part in Côte de Nuits wine development, and it was from this town that the escarpment took its name. The village was active for this as early as the 17th century, although at that point--and still now--Beaune was considered a bigger regional hub for Burgundy wine.

Domaine Faiveley was started in 1825 in Nuits-St-Georges, and still has its headquarters within the borders of that town. Nuits-St-Georges itself became an appellation in 1972, far later than many of the surrounding villages, and was allowed to call its wine Nuits as well as Nuits-St-Georges. No Grands Crus were designated. Whites were allowed, but the village quickly made a name for its red wine, so they have become extremely rare nowadays.

Climate and Viticulture

The villages of Nuits-St-Georges and Primeaux-Prissey lie to the south of the Côte de Nuits, especially Primeaux-Prissey, which is close to the southern end of the escarpment. As such, the climate is a tad warmer, which makes for wine of less precision and concentration--explaining why the Nuits appellation has no Grands Crus. However, its weather conditions are still very favorable for wine production, and make wines of exceptional richness rather than the precision realized in the northerly appellations.

The main differences between Nuits and the more prestigious villages are in the soil. Nuits has chalky, rocky soils underlaid by a base of limestone. From terroirs designated Premiers Crus, the soil will have more concentration and the wine a little more finesse--often these vineyards are on a slope.

Grape Varieties

Major Producers

There are so many producers in Nuits-St-Georges, and many of their wines have no expert ratings pedigree at all. Fortunately for the consumer, Nuits is a fairly reliable appellation, and most of the wines here can be counted on to provide good flavor and ageability, if they're not the final word on complexity. In fact, great but not world-class wines are the specialty of Nuits, and this village does this better than perhaps any other in Burgundy. Here are 14 good producers; all except Leroy are reasonably priced and widely available. These wines' Premier Cru offerings are discussed below.

Subregions

Nuits-St-Georges has no Grands Crus, although critics have compared many wines from the Premier Cru of Les St-Georges to Grand Cru cuvées. Lieux-dits rarely offer higher quality than Premiers Crus, although Les Lavières is a particularly important one. Generally, though, Nuits's 41 Premiers Crus make up most of the quality winegrowing, and are worthy of some exploration.