Nuits-St-Georges is a wine appellation that includes some of the finest and best-known French Burgundy wine. Wine so labeled must come from vines planted in the commune of Nuits-St-Georges (or the adjoining commune of Prémeaux-Prissey with which it is viticulturally joined) situated in the Côte de Nuits region of the Côte-d’Or department of Burgundy in eastern France.
In From the Earth to the Moon, author Jules Verne envisioned in 1867 that the first lunar explorers would celebrate their moon landing with “a fine bottle of Nuits.” In 1971, to commemorate Verne’s sci-fi forecast, Apollo 15 astronauts named one of the moon’s craters “St. George Crater”. Completing the circle, the town council in Nuits-St-Georges rechristened the main square in the village Place de la Cratère. The vineyards of Nuits-St-Georges, celebrated by Verne and Apollo 15, have been successfully producing wine of the first rank for at least one thousand years.
Leaving Beaune and heading north toward Dijon, Nuits-Saint-Georges marks the gateway of the Côte-de-Nuits, the Oz of Pinot Noir. The commune has been inhabited since antiquity and the vestiges of a substantial Gallo-Roman villa have recently been excavated. The name “Nuits” is derived from the Latin “nutium,” signaling the fine walnuts that were once prolific in the area.
Nuits St Georges, together with Prémeaux-Prissey, comprises 322.59 hectares. While there are no Grands Crus, there are 37 Premiers Crus aggregating about 147 hectares, and about 175 hectares of village-level vineyards. The overwhelming majority of vines, some 97%, are planted in Pinot Noir, from which prized red Burgundy is made, but there are a few vines planted in Chardonnay from which a small group of domaines, notably Domaine J-F. Mugnier and Domaine de l’Arlot, produce excellent Nuits-Saint-Georges blanc.
The soil types fall into three sections. The town and the vineyards are bisected by the Meuzin River, which flows east from the hills above the town. North of the river, toward Vosne, lies the first section. There, the soil is a continuation of Vosne: colluvium comprised of limestone with a small amount of clay over a Bathonian limestone base, and covered with pebbles and scree. Most prominent among these vineyards are Aux Boudots, Les Thorey and Les Damodes.
To the south of the Meuzin River, toward Beaune, lies the second section. Here the soil is somewhat richer and deeper, certainly with a higher clay content, but also with sand and gravel. The base here is comprised mostly of hard Comblanchien limestone. Most prominent here is the commune’s signature vineyard, Les Saints Georges. Further south, and within Prémeaux-Prissey, is found the third section, in a higher elevation, reaching 320m. Here the soil is quite thin and fine, particularly in the Clos de l’Arlot. Further downslope can be found Clos de Forêts and Clos de la Marechale.
Leading producers in the appellation include Domaine de l’Arlot for its Clos de l’Arlot and Clos des Forêts, Domaine J-F. Mugnier for its Clos de la Marechale, Domaine de la Vougeraie for its Les Damodes, and Domaine Gérard Mugneret for its Les Boudots. Other well-known Domaines include Domaine des Perdrix and Henri Gouges.