Domaine Faiveley Perfects the Fine Art of Winemaking


Domaine Faiveley Perfects the Fine Art of Winemaking

Wine Team New York |

In the spring of 2023, I was greeted with a kiss, in true French fashion, by a Rodin at the center of Domaine Faiveley, a historic and premier winery in the quaint village of Nuits-Saint-Georges, Burgundy. Surrounded by contrasting oxidized-blue roofs, Auguste Rodin’s sculpture depicts two lovers in a mortal embrace inspired by Dante’s Inferno. Silhouetted by the sun, with a backdrop of grand cru vineyards, it imparts a poignant and passionate note that echoes the complexity of Faiveley’s wines. The family was one of Rodin’s earliest patrons, and this original bronze edition was a gift to the Domaine from le Musée Rodin in Paris.

The halls of Faiveley’s winemaking facility, under supervision of Saint Vincent, patron and protector of vineyards, resemble a Nordic Viking Hall, a French train station and a Burgundian hospice, all at once. Light floods through the thin strip of windows at the roof line and the exposed brick wall stacked 15 meters high is held together with railway-like arches. In true Burgundian fashion, the passage into the barrel room is narrow and leads to a cavernous space where- the scents of wet stone and earth complement toasted oak, ripe fruits and wild yeasts. Wall to wall, the cave is packed with barrels of the 2021 and 2022 vintage maturing in their French oak vessels.

Domaine Faiveley currently sources wines from a little more than 120 hectares (almost 300 acres) of vines, representing 12 grand crus; and 25 premiers crus scattered throughout the Côte de Nuits, Côte de Beaune, and Côte Chalonnaise in Burgundy. Faiveley owns holdings of some of Burgundies most prized and celebrated vineyards such as Chambertin, Musigny, and Bâtard-Montrachet and performance of these wines at auction tend to be quite strong, with top vintages consistently fetching high prices.

Les Ouvrées Rodin (“The Works of Rodin”) uses a selection of vines from the Clos de Bèze grand crus vineyard, which displays refined splendor and expert artisanship. The collection’s namesake reflects the wines’ ability to age and mature gracefully, with recent vintages hinting at decades of youthful vitality. Intricate and complex, this vineyard’s wines offer notes of black fruits, fresh violets, and gentle hints of spice with sophisticated minerality. With just a handful of barrels made from Ouvrées Rodin, it’s easy to see why this is such a treasured and profound plot.

The Musigny from Faiveley is unctuous and resplendent. A markedly velvet texture wraps the punctual minerality, with freshness peeking through the rich, ripe fruits. Domaine Faiveley owns just 0.17 hectares (0.42 acres) of vines from the Musigny grand crus vineyard. This represents just 1.5% of the total area of Musigny – and of which they produce only around 400 bottles each year. By every standard, it shows signs of a truly collectible wine.

The Domaine’s grapes are mainly destemmed, however, some cuvées include stems to add a layer of complexity and to balance out the lush fruit. The berries are then sorted and fermented in wooden vats of varying size. Depending on the cuvee, some are fermented in stainless steel. The fermenting wines are punched down daily to assist with extraction.

Since 2007, Domaine Faiveley has started favoring early picking dates, aiming to retain greater acidity and ensure age-ability.

In the halls of Domaine Faiveley, artistry and winemaking intertwine into something beautiful. The kiss of the terroir graces each bottle and meticulous craftsmanship is evident in every sip. The artist Rodin calculated his each and every movement with the intention of exhibiting the elegance and grace of nature and humanity. So too does Domaine Faiveley make their wines.

- R. Walt Oggero | Specialist in Sotheby’s Wine Department.

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