Generational change from one of Burgundy's biggest: Faiveley
It's always stressful to take over the family business, as seventh generation Erwan Faiveley did at the age of just 25, but particularly challenging for him as Domaine Faiveley is one of Burgundy's largest producers, with 120 ha of land alongside a smaller négociant business.
A holding of this size was only achievable because Pierre Faiveley started buying land in 1825, when available land was significantly more abundant than it is today. Pierre's son Joseph introduced Faiveley to northern Europe through the canals and rivers, which Burgundian wine merchants travelled on to trade their wine for textiles.
Erwan describes his first years as extremely difficult, especially given his age — many in the team had been working at the domaine for longer than he'd been alive — and encountered significant resistance to his attempts to change old habits. The workload of producing over 50 cuvées from the domaine plots, however, and managing separate teams in the Côte d'Or and Côte Chalonnaise, soon left him with very little time to be stressed.
He has made big changes since taking over from his father in 2004. Most noticeably, extraction has become significantly gentler in the last 15 years, moving away from François' style of huge tannic structure, sometimes achieved at the expense of fruit, and towards greater elegance and freshness. Erwan partially attributes the change in style to their new barrel maker, who came on board in 2006: they'd concluded that their old cooper had been making barrels from wood that hadn't been fully dried, which was giving tough, green tannins to an already powerful style. Erwan's new style shows from the 2007 vintage onwards.
• One of Burgundy's largest domaines, with plots all over the Côte d'Or and Côte Chalonnaise. • Significant changes in style under seventh generation Erwan Faiveley: more fruit, more elegance, gentler extraction. • Over 50 cuvées in the domaine portfolio.