Cave of Domaine Hubert Garrey et Fils

Cave of Domaine Hubert Garrey et Fils

Our friends who have been making wines for more than 25 years in various countries who live  in the village of Saint-Martin-sous-Montaigu (adjacent to Mercurey), introduced us to the little-known wines of Domaine Hubert Garrey et Fils (Not to be confused with the neighboring Domaine Pierre Garrey or Domaine Phillipe Garrey…) and arranged a visit to their operations for us in Saint-Martin-sous-Montaigu (the only village outside Mercurey itself to be allowed for inclusion in Appellation Mercurey). Thierry and Hubert Garrey run an artisinal winemaking operation concentrating on carefully triaged, hand-separated grapes (no mechanical destemming), non-violent pump transfers (“respect the wine” Thierry says) with minimal oak barrel interference producing cremants, whites and reds (including premier crus)  from the native Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes of the Côte Chalonnaise.

Thierry Garrey happy to have people taste his wines

Thierry Garrey happy to have people taste his wines

While they do not have a current Internet presence, the archives at Archive.Org recorded language from their previously active website mentioning:

“…We carry out the wine making with old out of opened tanks, with four ” pigeages ” per day and regular controls of the temperature.” Our wine exploitation of 17 hectares produces approximately 50 000 bottles per annum of name Mercurey and Bourgogne. It is planted old vines from 25 to 60 years out of noble type of vines: . 80% Pinot Noir     . 15% Chardonnay     . 5% Aligote”

Their Mercurey 1er Cru is produced as follows:
“Crushing: 100% in open vats . Pumping up the juice 1 to 3 times a day, “pigeage” (pushing the skins back down in the vat) 1 to 3 times a day. Maceration between 12 and 16 days in total. In barrels during 14 months including 10 percent of new barrels. First decanting after malolactic fermentation then every 6 months. No fining. Filtration before bottling if necessary.”

Generally, I found the wines of Domaine Hubert Garrey et Fils to be deeply colored, rich and very flavorful with robust mouthfeel and lingering finishes. These characteristics are often missing in many of the lesser modern wines of Bourgogne.  There is an artisinal quality about these wines and a definite individual personality to each wine and the lineup as a whole.  Very nicely made wines at very reasonable prices.  I only tasted the reds on this trip. I tasted the following relatively young wines in this order from Thierry’s current offerings:

Bourgogne Pinot 2005 Rouge (€7):
Richly colored, deeply violet color and aroma unusual for an inexpensive Pinot. Vibrant mouthfeel with rich, ripe, fruity flavor with long-lasting finish. The taste immediately made me think of its color. Remarkably rich, but not concetrated or over-done. Impressive expression of the grapes without excessive tannins. Delicious.

Mercurey Rouge 2006 Rouge (€11):
Rich, deep color and flavors again, but with more depth and sophistication than the Bourgogne Pinot tasted first. The first impression was of layers of flavors lurking underneath, waiting to come out. Slightly more mineral flavor coming through, and less emphasis on violet flavors in exchange for detailed forest fruit flavors (if that makes sense to you). I felt like I had moved from the flavors of the open fields to the edges of the forest.  If the €7 Pinot was a premium flavor for pizza, picnics and freinds, this Mercurey Rouge was for sitting around the fireplace on an autumn afternoon in to evening when it was foggy and chill outside. Sophistication was definitely at work with this wine. Remarkably rich compared to so many limp and lifeless Pinots widely available at the same price in Burgundy.

Mercurey 1er Cru 2006 Rouge (€12.50)
Stepping into the Premier Cru from 2006 immediately revealed Thierry’s wines are Pinots capable of aging very well with some time in the cellar.  Tightly wound core of sophisticated flavors wrapped in a structured tannin framework (yes, it sounds odd and “wine-wonkish”, but that description is pretty accurate).  This wine was immediately delicious as a 2006 vintage and presented more dark fruit flavors than its previously tasted brethren, and “strained at the reigns” to be allowed to age a few years to develop more complexity.  This was a demonstration of a great expression of the Pinot grapes of Mercurey lost by so many other wineries.  Impressive at the price and immediately went on my “to buy” list.  Great artisinal effort.

Mercurey 1er Cru 2005 Rouge (€12.50)
This 1er Cru showed how important the weather can be for Pinot producers.  Compared to the 2006 tasted previously, this 2005 was nearly chewy, but never felt concentrated. Richly expansive with a definite emphasis on black fruit flavors more than the 2006 version. A sophisticated layer of flavors and structure underneath gave lasting rewards of taste you don’t find in many, many similarly priced wines in Bourgogne.  This one also went immediately on my “to buy” list because of its difference compared to the 2006 version.  Delicious and rewarding and will definitely age well for several years to come.

Domaine Hubert Garrey et Fils 2003 Pinot

Domaine Hubert Garrey et Fils 2003 Mercurey Rouge

Mercurey Rouge 2003 (€10)
2003 was a tough year in Burgundy because of intensely high summer temperatures, drought conditions and very high temperatures at harvest time. Thierry explained how his grapes for the Mercurey Rouge came into the separating tables extremely hot and had to be cooled before being handled.  While many winemakers produced poor quality or very low yields of acceptable quality wine in 2003, Thierry managed to produce a strikingly good wine with immediately intensive strawberry flavors and bouquet wrapped around the other red fruit flavors.  If you let this wine open up for a hour or more, you get a fun collection of rewarding flavors in layers similar to a more tannic wine, but without intensively tannic after-effects.  We came up with words like “velvet” or “velour” to describe the mouthfeel of this wine. The more you let it relax, the more flavors you get.  Very interesting and rewarding.  It shows how even in tough times, a good winemaker can create a wine of character and personality.

Domaine Hubert Garrey et Fils (Thierry)
Le Bourg
Saint-Martin-sous-Montaigu 71640

tel: +33 03 85 45 23 22
fax: +33 03 85 45 16 75