What I'm Drinking...

1990 Domaine Pierre Gelin Fixin Les Hervelets 1er Cru

Publish Date: 30 Jun 2015

Authored by: James Halliday

I have had several bottles of this wine sitting in the cellar for close on 20 years, and can't recollect how I came by them. Fixin is arguably the least known commune of the Cote d'Or, situated well to the north of Gevrey Chambertin, with only Marsannay falling between it and the city of Dijon. However, the indefatigable Clive Coates covers the commune, which has no grand crus, and only eight small premier crus encompassing a mere 22.38ha. 

The best two premier crus are Les Arvelets of 6.36ha and Les Hervelets of 4.32ha. In turn, Pierre Gelin is singled out for specific mention by Coates as the recommended producer of Les Hervelets. I opened the bottle on a whim, and as I was proceeding to decant it, received the first major surprise.

It has one of the thickest deposits along the entire length of the bottom side of the bottle that I have seen in a long time. Normally this much deposit means there will be little colour or flavour left in the wine, but then came the second surprise - it was delicious, and far surpassed my expectations before I opened the bottle, let alone after I had seen the deposit. Indeed, in retrospect I should have taken immediate comfort from the depth and brightness of the colour, and from the great 1990 vintage. 

Regardless, it was (and is) filled with sweet cherry fruit, more to black cherry (indeed, with a little plum) than red cherry, and stunningly rich in the mouth. Despite the volume of flavour, it doesn't strike me as a wine that will go on developing from this point, simply because there's not quite enough tannin undergrowth. So I have every excuse to finish off the other bottles sooner than later. A succulent spatchcock, wrapped in bacon, and served on a bed of mushrooms was a fine match.

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