Today’s Story: Domaine Faiveley
Domaine Faiveley was founded in 1825 as Maison Joseph Faiveley by Pierre Faiveley, a cobbler by trade who was also passionate about wine. Pierre worked his cobbler and wine merchant businesses side-by-side until the end of the 1840s when he decided to put all of his energy into the wine trade. In 1860, Joseph Faiveley began his wine merchant business with vine parcels he inherited from his uncle and his entrepreneurial spirit led him to export wines to Northern Europe to expand his brand. A plasterer, painter, and glazier by trade, Joseph exported his wines most notably to Belgium and the Netherlands and often exchanged his wines for textiles. In 1873, Joseph expanded his holdings by acquiring Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru Les Porêts-Saint-Georges, Les Lavières, and the monopole of Corton Clos des Cortons Grand Cru.
François Faiveley, a doctor by trade, moved to Nuits-Saint-Georges in 1889 and spent the remainder of his life fighting to save the domaine’s vines from phylloxera, the worst crisis in Burgundy’s history at the end of the 19th century. In 1893 the domaine acquired vines in the Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru Les Saint-Georges climat and in 1911 the famed Clos-de-Vougeot Grand Cru parcel.
In 1919, Georges Faiveley took over the domaine and shortly thereafter faced the economic crisis of the early 1930s that nearly destroyed his holdings. During the crisis, the domaine’s cellars were filled with inventory (even Grand Cru wines whose barrels were worth more than the wines inside them) and Georges decided to start the Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin, a rebirth of an ancient wine brotherhood from the Middle Ages. With nobody buying the wines, Georges invited this brotherhood to the domaine and they drank wines together and helped provide rebirth to the popularity of Burgundy wines.
As the economic crisis subsided and Burgundian wines grew in popularity, the domaine acquired more vineyards and remained a family endeavor. In 1947, Guy Faiveley followed in his father’s footsteps and joined the domaine. He also became the Grand Master of the Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin in 1969 and worked tirelessly to share his wines with the brotherhood and the world. In 1976, François Faiveley joined his family domaine at the age of 25 and continued acquiring vineyards. François produced wines known for their rich and concentrated character as well as long aging ability.
Today, Domaine Faiveley is under the guiding hands of its seventh generation in Erwan and Eve Faiveley. Erwan was always passionate for Burgundy wines and his family’s estate, so he took over from his father in 2005 and quickly set about investing in new facilities to modernize the winery and improve on the already exceptional quality in the wines. In 2014, his sister Eve joined the domaine after working in the cosmetics industry. She is the first daughter in seven generations of the family.
For more including their portfolio of wines, farming and winemaking methods, as well as pictures of the domaine, check out there website here. There are a lot of cool rabbit holes to go down!
Today’s Wine: 1996 Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru Aux Chaignots
100% Pinot Noir; 13% ABV
The 1996 Aux Chaignots is medium garnet in color and moderately transparent. I simply let this breathe for a bit in the glass and there was some funk that needed to blow off, though I decided not to decant the wine in case it became oxidized too quickly. On the nose, I get aromas of dried raspberry and strawberry, cherry, rose, tobacco, forest floor, truffle, wet gravel, thyme, underbrush, and a touch of oak. Once in the mouth, this wine showcases notes of cherry, cranberry, black raspberry, sous bois, dried green herbs, earthy mushroom, slate, and peppery spice. This nicely aged Burgundy is medium-bodied with medium (+) acidity, medium (-) dusty tannins, and a long finish.
Price: $130. Not a bad price for aged red Burgundy from one of the best producers in Nuits-Saint-Georges. This wine has the structure to go a little further, though I would drink up now. Pair this with roasted chicken, roasted pork, feathered game, or mild cheeses.