Winners & Losers on the Hill of Gold: The Domaines

So who’s profiting? Well obviously the growers I hear you say, especially those on the aptly named Côte d’Or. They have bumped up their prices, catapulting them into the stratosphere and are coining it in, thank you very much.

Well, yes and no – growers have upped their prices, a few much, much more than others. You can’t blame them for cashing in to a degree after years fiscal flat-lining. Admittedly there is a sense of prosperity on the Côte d’Or, which runs from Marsannay on the outskirts of Dijon to Saint Aubin in the South. There are German motors behind the swanked up, repointed houses; new and beautifully crafted stone walls around the vineyards and extravagant chest beating iron work in Meursault’s village square. Everything seems cleaner, brighter and glossier notably in the stellar villages of Gevrey-Chambertin, Vosne Romanée, Meursault and Puligny-Montrachet… villages which are now crawling with wine tourists bristling with i-phones and selfie sticks to capture themselves beside the celebrity vineyards.

Most producers take a modest approach stepping up their prices a few percent (5-8%) every three years or so, when costs dictate. Sensibly taking the long term view to retain loyal customers. Unfortunately this doesn’t always correspond with the best vintages, which can puzzle people. Most of us are prepared to pay a premium for quality, but may feel miffed when we pay more for a lesser vintage. However a small harvest can really tighten the screws. 2012 was a fair vintage to bump up prices somewhat more – very small quantities, but good quality. Jean-Marie Fourrier at Domaine Fourrier in Gevrey Chambertin is among the majority of growers whose wines leave the cellar at a fair price. See the film below.

Click here for the 2014 tasting notes for Domaine Fourrier.