Jérôme Galeyrand, Domaine Galeyrand, Gevrey-Chambertin.

t was not planned this way. Jérôme Galeyrand, a cheese wholesaler from the Mayenne in northwest France, arrived at Domaine Alain Burguet in Gevrey-Chambertin and soon after that decided to go for a career change. After wine school in Beaune he quickly established himself as a up and coming producer.

– In January 2002 I began looking for vines to take on. My first parcel was Les Retraits in Comblanchien, appellation Côte de Nuits-Villages. I would use the weekends to work there with my friends from wine school, says Jérôme Galeyrand.

Obviously one small parcel wasn't enough to make a living. Since then Domaine Jérôme Galeyrand has grown to cover 4.90 hectares. Today he has vines all over the Côte de Nuits, from Comblanchien up to Marsannay.

Gevrey-Chambertin, Burgundy.– I met Alain Burguet in 1997, explains Jérôme Galeyrand. It was an important thing to me. I did the harvest with him and then he wanted me to stay. He needed help in the cuverie to make the 1996's. So in the end I stayed longer than I had planned. After a couple of months he was impressed by me since I had learnt to spot the cuvées and vintages in blind tastings.

By this time he was convinced that winemaking was his career for the future. In 2000 he enrolled at wine school.

– In 2003 I took over a domaine in Brochon. The owner had a heart condition and wanted to retire. In 2005 I took on the vines in Fixin and Marsannay. In 2004 I also started my négociant business, but today that is of less importance.

Gevrey-Chambertin, Burgundy.– Today's 4.90 hectares is a prefect size for me. I have no wish to expand. It allows me to produce between 20 000 and 25 000 bottles annually. With the nègociant business included it is between 25 000 and 30 000 bottles.

The not much talked about Côte de Nuits-Villages has a special place in Jérôme Galeyrand's heart. This appellation, which dates back to 1964, covers land both in the northern end of the Côte de Nuits – Brochon and Fixin – and in the southern end – Prémeaux-Prissey, Comblanchien and Corgoloin. It is his biggest appellation and since it was where he got his first vineyard it is also the one he has the most experience from. But despite its lack of fame Jérôme Galeyrand finds it easy to sell.

Jérôme Galeyrand, Domaine Jérôme Galeyrand.– Côte de Nuits-Villages is very easy to sell, he says. I sell my 3600 to 3900 bottles very quickly. It is much easier to sell than for example the Fixin. I think it has to do with the quality/price ratio. My clients are very faithful to this appellation. I sell a lot to Belgium and to restaurants in France.

Most growers who produce Côte de Nuits-Villages usually make a wine from either the northern part of the appellation or the southern part, but in Jérôme Galeyrand's case it is actually a blend between the two. There is Les Retraits in Comblanchien and Vignois in Brochon. Les Retraits is at the northern end of Comblanchien, on the Prémeaux-Prissey border, just next to the Nuits-Saint-Georges premier cru Clos de la Maréchale. The vines are around 80 years old. Vignois is just north of the Brochon village. The vines are slightly younger here, planted in 1947. The two parcels are vinified separately and then blended – 55 per cent Les Retraits and 45 per cent Vignois.

Fixey, Burgundy.– The soil in Les Retraits is very thin. The wine from there is more about elegance than fruit.

The majority of the vines of Domaine Jérôme Galeyrand are in the northern half of the Côte de Nuits – Marsannay, Brochon, Fixin, Gevrey-Chambertin and Morey-Saint Denis.

– For the Fixin Champs des Charmes I have two parcels, says Jérôme Galeyrand. One planted in 1947, one in the 1960's. This is always a more rustic wine, plump and with good colour. The soil in Fixin is very deep, with a lot of clay. It is they clay that gives the wine its rustic character. But it is also the clay that brings the tannins and the colour.

Champs des Charmes is village appellation, located just below Fixin. Higher up on the slope Domaine Jérôme Galeyrand has some Fixin premier cru in Les Hervelets.

Gevrey-Chambertin, Burgundy.– It is a parcel at the top of the slope, says Jérôme Galeyrand. It is very sandy. Very light soil. It is the most subtle of the Fixin wines. Fixin wines can be heavy, but the soil at the top of the slope is light. Not all the premier crus are like this. Clos du Chapitre, Clos Napoléon and Clos de la Perrière all have more structure; they are more rustic. Les Hervelets is the most subtle of the Fixin premier crus.

Domaine Jérôme Galeyrand is located in Saint-Philibert, just east of Gevrey-Chambertin. The barrel cellar is located in the heart of Gevrey-Chambertin. Jérôme Galeyrand produces three village level cuvées from Gevrey-Chambertin.

–La Justice is at the bottom of the village, close to the police station and Les Crais. For a Gevrey-Chambertin La Justice is a bit subtle, slightly less powerful. I have been bottling this since 2009. Before that I sold it off négociants. It is a wine for restaurants; you don't have to keep it for ten years before you can drink it.

Fixin, Burgundy.A bit further up, closer to the centre of the village is En Billard. It is in the commune of Brochon, but still within the appellation of Gevrey-Chambertin. The vines are relatively young, planted in 1987.

– The soil in En Billard is similar to La Justice, a little more clay and a little deeper. In La Justice the soil has more sand, it's the soil of a quarry. The vines in La Justice were planted in 1946-1947.

Another step up the slope you'll find Les Croisettes, from which Jérôme Galeyrand makes an old vines cuvée.

– It is between the cemetery of Gevrey-Chambertin and the Chateau de Brochon. Below the premier crus and between En Vosne and Les Jeunes Rois.

– Ever since I tried the 2008's and the 2009's at Domaine Sylvain Pataille I have been experimenting with whole bunch vinification, explains Jérôme Galeyrand. I was very impressed by his results. It is the most traditional way to vinify. I don't think it changes the structure of the wine. Aromatically it is different. You gain length and minerality. You get a wine which is more dynamic, more alive.

© 2011 Ola Bergman