Michel Naddef at Domaine Philippe Naddef in Fixin.

ichel Naddef at Domaine Philippe Naddef in Fixin is on a mission. He is reshaping the vinification process at the domaine. He wants to add white Fixin to the portfolio. And he wants to go organic, or even biodynamic, in a not too distant future.

– When you have 13 appellations spread out over six hectares, a total of 50 different parcels, it’s difficult to work organically, he says. If you have neighbours who do not work organically then your life becomes very complicated. Also, working organically requires a lot of new equipment. But we are definitely heading in that direction.

By Burgundian standards Domaine Philippe Naddef is a young domaine. Michel’s father Philippe created it in 1983 when he inherited two hectares of vines in Gevrey-Chambertin from his grandfather, Denis Bizot. The remaining vineyards of that domaine ended up with Domaine Bizot in Vosne-Romanée and Domaine Coudray-Bizot in Beaune.

Gevrey-Chambertin, Burgundy.– The Gevrey-Chambertin vineyards are ours, says Michel Naddef. The remaining two thirds of the domaine, like the Fixin and Marsannay vineyards, are rented. I arrived here in 2008. Initially my plan had been to get an education and work in IT, but I didn’t like the school. I changed my mind and went to La Viti in Beaune instead. After that I worked in various places. Like my father I worked at Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé and then at Domaine Bertagna.

In 2008 they began modernising the domaine. A new press arrived and they changed how the harvested grapes were handled when they arrived at the winery.

Les Cazetiers, Gevrey-Chambertin.– I brought many ideas for the vinification, says Michel Naddef. I changed my father’s traditional methods a bit. How we receive the grapes at the domaine has changed completely. We had beautiful grapes out in the vineyards and I wanted them to stay that way, so a lot of sorting is done out there. Since 2015 I have been experimenting with whole bunches a bit. I don’t necessarily want to take risks, but I want to move away a little from my father has been doing.

His father is still active. While Michel Naddef assumed responsibility for the reds in 2014, Philippe Naddef still oversees the two whites – the Bourgogne Blanc and the old vines Marsannay. In terms of surface area these two represent about 15 per cent of the domaine.

Champs Perdrix, Marsannay.– That’s his thing, the whites. The alcoholic fermentation takes place in barrels. Both wines are generous and buttery. This is because of the terroir and the vinification. We have one hectare of chardonnay and most of it is located below the village, where you have the kind of soil which adds almost no minerality.

The most recent addition at Domaine Philippe Naddef is the red Marsannay, Champs Perdrix, one of the lieux-dits that might benefit from an upgrade to premier cru status in a few years time.

– The vines are still very young, not even ten years, explains Michel Naddef. The first vintage was 2013. It’s up on the slope behind Couchey. It’s very steep and with our old tractor it’s definitely a challenge to work there. It’s not much soil, you are very close to the rock.

Michel Naddef at Domaine Philippe Naddef in Fixin.There is also a straight Marsannay, which is a blend of several parcels, as well as a Marsannay, Les Genelières.

– Les Genelières is mid-slope above Château de Marsannay. We have two parcels there. One at the top, where there is almost no soil at all, and one at the bottom, where there is more soil. The vines are at least 60 years old.

The use of new oak varies depending on the appellation. The regionals see no new oak at all, whereas the village appellations – Marsannay, Fixin and Gevrey-Chambertin – get 20 per cent. The two premier crus – Gevrey-Chambertin, Les Cazetiers and Gevrey-Chambertin, Les Champeaux – and the grand cru – Mazis-Chambertin – get 100 per cent new oak.

Les Crais de Chêne, Fixin.The red Fixin is a large cuvée. In good years Les Clos is singled out and turned in to a separate bottling, but for the most part it is blended with Les Herbues, Le Rozier, Les Petits Crais, Les Crais de Chêne and Champ des Arès.

– It is Le Rozier that I’m thinking about to replant, says Michel Naddef. Replace the pinot noir with chardonnay. The choice of rotstocks there is not very good. The grapes are large and a lot of work is required to keep yields down. White Fixin would be a nice addition.

There are two village appellation Gevrey-Chambertin cuvées. One single vineyard cuvée from En Songe, just next to the cemetery, and one old vines cuvée from 55-year-old vines in Les Murots and En Jouise.

Route des Grands Crus, Fixin, Burgundy.– In 2015, when I began experimenting with whole bunches in vinification, I used between ten and 20 per cent for all appellations. For the 2016s I used a bit more and for the 2017s there was 30 per cent for Mazis-Chambertin, Cazetiers, Champeaux and Champs Perdrix and between ten and 15 per cent for the rest. For the Fixin, Les Clos it was 100 per cent. Whole bunches bring out the fruit, but also add freshness.

Both Champeaux and Cazetiers are north of the village. Champeaux is bordering on Brochon and Cazetiers is slightly more to the south, closer to the Combe de Lavaux.

– The vines in Champeaux and Mazis-Chambertin are the oldest of the domaine. 80 years old, with Cordon du Royat training. Tiny millerande berries. Cazettiers is on a south-facing slope. Champeaux is on a terrace, carved out of the rock. Cazetiers is warmer, with deeper soil. Planting in Champeaux is tough, because the rock is right below the surface.

The whole of Mazis-Chambertin covers 9.1 hectares. Domaine Philippe Naddef has two parcels, a total of 0.42 hectare.

– One parcel is in Mazis Haut, the upper part, and one in Mazis Bas, the lower part. The two are not very different, but the exposure is not quite the same. The upper parcel is next to Faiveley’s parcel. It’s like a terrace with quite deep soil. In the lower part you are closer to the rock.

© 2018 Ola Bergman