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What is the Clos de Vougeot appellation?
The Clos de Vougeot is one of the most famous "grand cru" vineyards of Burgundy. It is the largest site in grand cru of the Côte de Nuits region, covering an area of 50 hectares. It is second only to Corton in the entire Côte d'Or region. The Clos de Vougeot is renowned for its fragmentation: it is divided into 100 parcels belonging to more than 80 different producers and the wines made here vary considerably in character and quality.
The site dominates the Vougeot appellation in the centre of the Côte de Nuits. The Musigny and d'Échezeaux vineyards are located on the slopes above Clos de Vougeot, while the lower edge of the vineyard extends to the bottom of the slope, where there is little separation between the vines of the grand cru and the Climats at the village across the road. Like most vineyards on the Côte de Nuits, Clos de Vougeot is entirely planted with pinot noir.
History of the Clos de Vougeot
It was first created by Cistercian monks in the 11th century, with the clos (or wall) and the château added later. It is divided into 18 localities, reflecting the fact that the ownership of the land was historically divided between the Cistercian monks who planted the original vines, the Roman Catholic Church and the French crown. These divisions lost their meaning after the French Revolution, when the land was confiscated by the state and quickly sold to a wealthy banker. Subsequent changes in ownership divided the land considerably.
The modern era of the Clos de Vougeot
Today, the Clos de Vougeot has more than 80 owners. The most important of them is the Château de la Tour, with about 5 ha, but the Domaine Méo-Camuzet, Louis Jadot and Gros Frère et Soeur also have significant holdings in the vineyard.
The Clos de Vougeot has been officially classified grand cru in 1937 and was delimited according to the location of the wall, rather than the actual quality of the terroir. Many in the modern wine world openly question whether this decision was in compliance with the high standards imposed on other grands crus of Burgundy and suggest that only certain parts of this former vineyard really deserve to be classified.
The Climat is indeed varied, with a range of different soils and aspects, depending largely on the slope. The highest part of the vineyard has the best terroir, with vineyard soils consisting of stony limestone with free drainage. Lower down the slope, the proportions of clay increase - the mid-slope is always well drained, while the lowest part of the vineyard, close to the road, is more alluvial and retains much more water in the soil. The higher slopes also benefit from a slight eastern aspect, giving them better access to the morning sun.
Other Burgundy appellations : Aloxe Corton, Chassagne Montrachet, Beaune, Chablis, Chambertin et ses Grands Crus, Chambolle-musigny, Corton et ses Grands Crus, Corton-charlemagne, Échezeaux et Grands-Echezeaux, Fixin, Gevrey-Chambertin, Givry, Meursault, Montrachet et ses Grands Crus, Morey saint denis, Nuits St Georges, Pommard, Pouilly-fuissé, Puligny-montrachet, Richebourg, Saint Aubin, Volnay, Vosne-romanée.
Tasting a Clos de Vougeot
Colour : The robe can vary from clear raspberry red to intense garnet.
Nose : We find the different aromas of spring. Notably notes of roses, violets and resedas. Combined with floral notes, we also find fruity notes such as blackberry, raspberry, blueberry, bigarreau cherry, liquorice, wild mint and finally truffle.
Palate : One will notice sap and softness, with finesse and a sovereign taste. It is fleshy and can sometimes explode in the mouth. Namely, it has an important aptitude for keeping, but also its resistance in the mouth.
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