On the Trail

Final Stops in Burgundy

Trey Beffa

The French villages of Fixin and Marsannay were the last two stops of our Burgundy trip this past May.  The town of Dijon is located only about ten minutes away from Marsannay so it makes turning the rental car in at the station and hopping on a train to Paris very easy when we can start our journey home. Fixin is located about thirty-five minutes north of the town of Beaune. Neither Fixin nor Marsannay have the “big name” properties you'll often find in communes like Vosne Romanee or Gervey Chambertain.  I get the sense that the proprietors here are therefore excited to see us; almost like they're impressed we even drove past Gevrey Chambertain to make the visit. 

Our first stop of the morning was a visit with Pierre-Emmanuel Gelin of Domaine Pierre Gelin; a funny stop as the property sits right in the middle of the Burgundy “burbs”. The estate was created in 1925 by Pierre Gelin and Stéphen Gelin took over its management in 1969. He was succeeded by Pierre. The winery is new, having been completed in 2011; not at all fancy, but it is sparkling clean. It looks like a standard home with a rather large garage from the outside. We tasted mostly 2015's out of barrel but also mixed in a few 2014’s, which will be bottled in August. He, like most everyone else in Burgundy, is very excited about his 15’s. We loved his 2012’s and we were able to grab one last drop of them from our distributor just recently. These wines include the 2012 Domaine Pierre Gelin Fixin ($39.99), 2012 Pierre Gelin Fixin 1er Cru "Clos Napoléon" ($59.99) and the 2012 Pierre Gelin Fixin 1er Cru "Les Hervelets" ($61.99)

Our second stop of the day was at Domaine Bart, a perennial K&L staff favorite. Domaine Bart is located in Marsannay, just up the road from Fixin, and here we meet with current wineamker Pierre Bart—the sixth generation at the estate. He has been running the property since 2009 along with his uncle Martin—a portfolio with twenty-two hectares of vines mostly in Marsannay, along with a few others in Fixin, Gevrey-Chambertin, Chambolle-Musigny and Santenay. Only a modest amount of oak is used at Domaine Bart; zero for the Bourgogne rouge and entry level Marsannays and the others only use about 25% with the Grand Cru’s using 50%. Like the Gelin visit, it feels a bit like the suburbs again but with a much more classically French vibe. The cellars at Domaine Bart are more of what you would expect cellars in Burgundy to be. Cool, damp and dark, they lie underneath the winemaking facility. Here we also had a chance to taste 2015’s out of barrel and we were most impressed with the line-up. We look forward to getting these wines in stock in about a year.  We also tasted a few of the 2014’s out of bottle. 2014’s are showing very well and seem to be a bit more consistent the 2013’s overall. The 2014’s just arrived so look for them in stock. Domaine Bart’s wines are classic red burgundies with lots of earthy components mixed with a wonderful purity of fruit. They are great food wines and can be enjoyed young. 

-Trey Beffa