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What is the Richebourg appellation?
Richebourg is one of six sites in grand cru of the sacred village of Vosne-Romanée, in the Côte de Nuits in Burgundy. It is one of the largest sites in the village and is renowned for its full-bodied and muscular style of pinot noir. They have an earthy character and dense fruit, and can be cellared for many years.
The climat is the northernmost grand cru of Vosne-Romanée, located in the middle of the Côte d'Or. It is located right next to the site of La Romanée-Conti, and the climat of La Romanée-Saint-Vivant is on the lower slopes. The famous Cros Parantoux vineyard Premier Crus, often considered worthy of the status of grand cru is located on the slopes above Richebourg.
The name Richebourg literally means "rich city". The 8-hectare (20-acre) site is the second largest grand cru of Vosne-Romanée, only slightly smaller than that of Romanée-Saint-Vivant. It is of average size compared to all the grands crus of Burgundy, but those of Vosne-Romanée are known for the fine definition of their limits and their terroir. In fact, the size of the Richebourg vineyard increased in the 1920s, as one producer managed to pressure the local government to have his land included within the boundaries.
Richebourg is on the same part of the slope as Romanée-Conti and the two share a similar terroir. The soils are composed of stony clay and sand covering a hard limestone base. This friable soil, as well as the gradient, means that the vineyard is well drained, which helps to reduce disease pressure and limit leaf vigour, resulting in concentrated and balanced grapes. The eastern aspect of Richebourg also contributes to the terroir, giving the vines access to the morning sun while protecting them from cold westerly winds.
In terms of ownership, Richebourg is a sort of springboard between the fragmented plots of Clos de Vougeot and Echézeaux to the north and the monopolies that characterise the rest of the grands crus of Vosne-Romanée. The Domaine de la Romanée-Conti owns a little less than half the land of Richebourg. The Leroy, Anne Gros and Gros Frère et Soeur estates also own plots in the vineyard. The legendary Henri Jayer made Richebourg wine until his retirement in 2001 - the remaining bottles are among the most expensive and sought-after wines in the world.
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