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Beaune: Village Profile

beaune - looking down the chemin de l'ecu
The town of Beaune itself is built on and from the stone of the surrounding hillsides, many ancient quarries are still visible as you walk through the Beaune hillsides. The name Beaune possibly comes from Belen, the Celtic god or Belena, the small river that traverses the city.

beauneLinking north to south and east with west Beaune has for centuries been one of the major crossroads of the ‘old world’ – the French autoroute system still gives nod to that. Beaune was also a safe place to stop, with its bastions and large moat, the traveller might have the chance to let their hair down a little. Whilst there is no ‘earliest date’ recorded, wine has supported the economy of the region for at least 1,400 years and it is quite likely that 2,000 is nearer the mark. That the liquid produce of its surroundings were so well-regarded must have brought some succor to those travellers, I expect it was a stopping-off point that many looked forward to. It was not by chance that for a vast majority of European consumers, the generic term of ‘Beaune’ stood for hundreds of years as the shorthand for the produce of the whole Burgundy region, whatever was actually in the bottle, it was called only ‘Beaune’.

Yet, as Jean-Robert Pitte notes; “There was a historical disregard of wines from Beaune” – and not just by the trade – at one stage the French beaurocrats were also not on their best form; having suggested that the autoroute to Paris should bisect Montrachet (perhaps they are related to the German planners who want their Autobahn to cut through the vines of the Mosel) they eventually went for the ‘least-bad’ route, losing ‘only’ a little Beaune and Savigny, and in the process separating the two communes for the casual walker. I suppose not too much vineyard was lost, and Beaune cemented it’s autoroute crossroads status. Coming back to ‘the trade’ i.e. the ascendant négociants of the 19th and early 20th century; none were interested to propose any vines from Beaune for AOC Grand Cru – at that time they were more interested in selling their ‘house brands’ – their house name was more important than ‘Grèves’ or ‘Bressandes’!

beaune chemin des teuronsDisregard can still be seen in the pricelists of many producers – just look at the positioning of Beaune 1ers versus those of near neighbours; Aloxe, Savigny, Pommard & Volnay – together with Savigny, the wines of Beaune are often the lowest priced. Does that make sense?

Of-course times change; today the Beaune merchants are the biggest owners in the appellation and perhaps they regret never trying for grand cru classifications – as Christophe Bouchard puts it “Beaune is not the easiest wine to sell, there are no divas like Musigny or Montrachet. In France there is a ‘small is beautiful’ mentality and the vines of Beaune make a large ‘whole’.”

Before I started this exercise I’d falsely assumed that the Hospices de Beaune would be the largest owners of Beaune 1ers, but despite owning almost 23.5 hectares they trail in third behind Bouchard Père and Chanson Père et Fils. Bouchard own vines in more than 20 1er crus, indeed their Beaune du Château red comes from 17 different 1ers, and the white from four, two (Tuvilains and Sur Les Grèves) in addition to the 17 in the reds, the other two being shared with red and white.

In terms of price versus quality, I think Beaune premier crus could be the greatest bargain in burgundy today; rounder and typically more succulent than the wines of Savigny (themselves perhaps number 2 in the red wine value stakes) but with a depth and distinction that pulls on the coat-tails of grand crus, indeed, occasionally surpassing them.
I have seen more than once when wines are tasted blind, people will pick a 1999 Beaune 1er to be a grand cru – perhaps it’s more a case that the blinkers have been removed than the tasting is blind!
In Beaune at least, those wines from the best producers normally cost you below €30 – from people you may not know so well, closer to €20 – and that’s for very high quality wines indeed.

The Premier Crus of Beaune

beaune premier crusNorth of the Route de Bouze, it’s not surprising that the growers see the best wine coming from a broad sweep of the mid-slope vines that run through (south to north) Les Teurons, Les Grèves, Les Bressandes and Les Fèves. These vines produce wines that are finer and show more elegance. To the south they tend to be more powerful. There is a far bigger difference between a northern Beaune 1er cru and a southern Beaune 1er cru than for instance the next-door vines of Beaune 1er Boucherottes and Pommard 1er Boucherottes.

Although there are always a few growers that believe their particular villages parcels should be upgraded to premier cru status, most hold that the premier cru / villages demarcations are good ones – though I’m unsure of some of those 1er crus on the lowest Teurons slopes. The BIVB currently list 38 separate premier cru locations in Beaune (right), though I consider it more of a summary as there are many famous premier cru wines that you won’t see in the list and that’s because they are named ‘sub-areas’ or delimitations within the mother 1er cru which is listed. I will try and tease a few of those out as we progress down the list. For some reason the tiny parts of premier cru Les Beaux Fougets and Les Longes are not in the BIVB table (perhaps because Beaux Fougets can take the name Epenottes and Les Longes can take the name Champs Pimont), so I would say the total might really be 40, add sub-climats and maybe we have 45 or so!

Clearly ‘age-abilty’ is variable, but Beaune reds can live to very ripe old ages, you only need the opportunity to taste an 80 year-old wine from Bouchard Père to see that. Whites are another thing. The top of the slope whites tend to have a little more minerality and acidity though even if avoiding premature oxidation, I still wouldn’t keep them much more than 10 years. Lower slope whites tend to be a little fatter and mature much faster – most would be ready in five years and probably past their best by 10 years. Of the 335 hectares of premier cu land in Beaune, only 22 are set aside for white wine production.

Before looking at individual 1ers, looking at the general configuration of Beaune’s vines it seems easy and helpful to subdivide the areas. The vines are spread across a hillside above and to the west of Beaune in a configuration that reminds me of a vast amphitheatre. Of-course it can’t really be as easy as this – why? – because this is Burgundy! The hillside is cut by three valleys (combes) each of which providing for a multitude of aspects to the sun and effectively 5 separate hills. You can easily split the vines into three areas though…

The Northern Area

chemin de l'ecu

Here Marconnets, Clos du Roi, Fèves, Cents Vignes and Bressandes are the major vineyards. It really depends where you are on the slope as to the make-up of the soil, everything is variable, even in the same vineyard – certainly not all Clos du Rois are created equal!
Clay contents and the quantity and depth of soils vary considerably. The more complete and age-worthy wines do all come from a broad sweep of vines from higher up the hill, that would include Fèves, the top of Cents Vignes and the top half of Bressandes.

  • Approaching Savigny is Marconnets which has a similar soil to Taillepiends, Clos des Chênes or Nuits Les Cailles providing a little more acidity and less tannin.
    The vineyard has reasonably deep soil though it is thinner higher-up where the soil colour lightens, here the wines have something in common with the Côte de Nuits, this is perhaps its best section. There is still plenty of clay in the Marconnets soil – as you will note on your boots when the weather is wet. Some of the higher rows have wood-chippings between the vines, others have grass to try and reduce erosion, the chosen grass variety keeps quite low so only needs cutting once per year. Bouchard Père’s vines were planted mainly in 82. Because the underlying stone here is mainly impermeable there are small water ‘sources’ that appear during wet weather. In wet years, lower down the slope can suffer from botrytis.
    Remoissenet have made a very fine Marconnets in the last few vintages (which you will see later is not just Marconnets!), and Chanson Père et Fils even claim a 1er cru Clos des Marconnets from here and I suppose they should know, Chanson own about 40% of Marconnets.
    Note: There is also the villages Clos du Dessus des Marconnets, Pierre Labet for instance makes both white and red from here, the white he thinks successfully mixes “the stony, mineral dryness of Pernand-Vergelesses with the richness of Meursault.” There has been some discussion about whether this section could be upgraded to premier cru, but if that happened, it would most likely be renamed simply as ‘Marconnets’.
  • Clos do Rois sits below Marconnets and is a relatively flat vineyard and despite its lower position on the hill there is not so much soil, rather lots of round stones brought down by the river from Savigny before the embankment for the autoroute was built. The water-table is always quite high in the winter so the roots can’t go so deep – not surprisingly in hot vintages this brings a drought problem – in 2003 the lower section lost most of its leaves and couldn’t ripen the grapes. The top half above the vigneron’s road is the prime spot in this vineyard. Clos du Roi is often the name reserved for the best vineyard in a given location – that’s not the case in Beaune. Nicolas Rossignol is one of the few to use the alternative Clos du Roy spelling.
  • Les Fèves – ‘Clos des Fèves’ was already known in the 14th century under the latin word Fae’. I’ve never seen a Fèves from anyone other than Chanson, though they ‘only’ own 3.8 of the possible 4.4 hectares, I understand Patriarche have some vines which end up in a Beaune cuvée from Château de Meursault. Chanson separate their monopole ‘Clos’ into 5 sections, making 5 separate fermentations before deciding how to blend. That which doesn’t go into the monopole ‘Clos’ bottling, together with a small section of 10-15 year-old young vines goes into their 1er cru blend ‘Bastion’. It is a wine I’ve not tasted many examples of, but consistently is round, mineral and complex – less structured than Teurons for instance.
  • beaune - cent vignes looking north towards cortonCent Vignes provides wines that are similar to the top of Clos du Rois; making a fine middleweight wine. At the bottom of the slope it’s a fine, quite sandy soil which helps with drainage and is one of the first areas to ripen – plenty of sweet, ripe fruit – sometimes too easy. Higher up it is much more serious wines that are produced so you need to know the producer.
  • Bressandes takes its name from a former owner – the XIIIth century Canon of Beaune, Jean Bressand. In many places it has a similar soil-type to the upper portion of Cents Vignes but with more altitude comes a quite thin, sandy, chalky soil that in places has only about 20 centimetres of depth, higher up there is less vigour in the vines. There are lots of small stones and below, the rock has lots of fissures and cracks which the roots penetrate, thus avoiding thirst during hot periods. Overall this seems to make for a much more muscular and concentrated wine, but one of the highest quality wines in Beaune I think.
  • Touissaints Although adjoining Cent Vignes, there is much more limestone content in the soil of this vineyard. Directly comparing to Cent Vignes this seems to confer more acidity, directness and tension to the wines of those that produce both. Albert Morot’s is a fine example.
  • Smaller vineyards in this area have very different properties; starting at the bottom (of the hill) with Les Blanches Fleurs which a split vineyard i.e. part Villages and part 1er cru. The soil changes as you move from the higher 1er Cru part into the villages section, becoming redder due to its higher clay content, it is also less stony here. In the 1er cru section there’s more chalky rocks, stones and even gravel near the top, which lighten and help to aerate the soil. Like the colour of the soil the wines are generally lighter colored, offering silk and finesse rather than power.
    Lying above Clos du Roi is En Genêt which is bordered below by a drainage ditch – average rain brings nothing into the ditch, but sometimes these drains will boil over such can be the intensity of a summer storm. Despite a respectable 5 hectares in size this is very hard to find, both Bouchard Père and the Hospices de Beaune have vines whose produce go into blended cuvées, I know of two producers who bottle (Arnoux Père and Charache Begeret) but I’ve tasted neither. Of-course finding examples is complicated by the fact that much of the vineyard can also take the Marconnets label – Remoissenet’s Genêt , for instance, is labelled this way.
    Above En Genêt is a bit of an enigma – En l’Orme – only 2.02 hectares but (I believe) it is owned by a charitable organisation (the commune of d’Allery), the reason you may never have seen a label is that they call it after the next-door commune of Perrières!
    Next up is Perrières, not surprisingly given both its elevation and name the ground here is stonier and chalky stones too – both Domaine de Bellene (Potel) and Domaine de Montille should be easy bottles to source. Perhaps less easy are the two bottlings of Clos des Perrières; Francois Gay and Lois Dufouleur.
    Lastly in this section is l’Ecu; split into two by the road, the higher vines form the Clos de l’Ecu which is a monopole of Domaine Faiveley, having acquired the vines from Jaboulet-Vercherre. I’ve not seen any other label (apart from old, not very good Jaboulet-Vecherre), though Bouchard Père have some vines which go into their blend.
The Central Area

beaune

Coucherias, Feguine, Cras, Grèves and Teurons; are easy to chose as the most complete, complex and interesting wines west of Beaune, wines with more body and power.
Higher up the hill there are many ‘sources’ or water springs but on the very top of the hill there is an almost impermeable layer of rock so there are no vines as the roots cannot penetrate it – if you go further west you are in the appellation Côte de Beaune, given its altitude this can often flower/ripen a full 2 weeks later than the rest of Beaune, delivering perhaps proportionately more interesting whites than reds. Further west still (only 10 minutes from Beaune) and you are in the Hautes Côtes de Beaune.
The larger vineyards of this central section have a massive height difference between the lower slopes and upper slopes and really shouldn’t have the same name – it’s questionable if some of these lowest slopes (e.g. Teurons) should even hold a 1er cru AOC. Before the vines fill with spring-time leaves it’s easy to see the change in colour of the soil; light brown, dark brown, red-brown, no stones, many stones though interestingly, there is no simple transition; high, low or middle-slope can be any colour, have any soil depth or quantity of stones, counter-intuitively you can often find a deeper soil higher up than below.

  • Les Greves, beaune - vigne l'enfant jesusthe name is derived from graviers, the small pebbles or gravel found in/on the soil of the vineyard. Can a vineyard that covers over 30 hectares be homogenous? No, like the others the soil depth and composition varies considerably depending on altitude. Higher up, there is plenty of growth so grass is grown between the rows, partly to reduce vigour, partly an organic/bio approach but also to reduce erosion. This vineyard has a thin soil with a low proportion of clay – it doesn’t stick to your boots like some other Beaune 1ers – there are lots of small stones too (the aforementioned graviers) which help in that respect. The stone below the soil allows the roots to work their way deep through fissures – even in hot dry years there is not problem for the vines to find water. Grèves is basically a red wine vineyard, but Latour have a very small parcel of chardonnay and Jadot (Héritiers) one called Le Clos Blanc.
    There is a small road starting at the eastern edge of the vineyard and finishing in the centre next to a cabotte. This cabotte (above) is the centre of Bouchard Père’s monopole clos, the Clos de la Vigne l’Enfant Jesus; the whole vineyard is enclosed by a low wall – vines on both the north and south borders sitting below those of the clos by a metre or two. Bouchard vinify 3 or 4 different cuvées each year depending on the ripeness of the fruit – and it changes each year. Not all is blended into the final cuvée each year, the balance going to the Beaune du Château. This is a wine from Beaune that often would be a candidate for a grand cru label, indeed it is always more expensive than Bouchard’s well-regarded Le Corton…
  • beaune port greffeSur les Grèves should really be called ‘Sur les Teurons’ as it’s more of a higher extension of Les Teurons than Les Grèves. Despite its position ‘Sur les Teurons’ is allowed to take the simple label of Grèves!
    Surprisingly for its height on the slope, this is a tier of flat land. Christophe Bouchard relates the story about their vines that, at one time Bouchard Père decided they had too much chardonnay in Beaune, so here they decidied to plant pinot. After around 15 years they decided to re-graft the vines back to chardonnay (1997) as the pinot was only interesting in one out of every five or six vintages. The soil here is a vein of white clay and flat stones, similar to Corton. Fat but mineral and quite floral, often spicy. Top of the hill here is cooler and much better for the whites.
    In the picture to the right you can see the left-hand dead spur from the pinot noir – to the right is the chardonnay.
    In this premier Louis Latour and Château de Chorey also have chardonnay planted. In addition there is a sub-label that you might find of the ‘Clos Sainte Anne‘ or it’s potential label of Beaune Premier Cru Sur Les Grèves Clos Sainte Anne des Theurons Monopole(!) which was with Mommessin until it changed to Jaffelin hands for the 2008 vintage. Despite the classic whiter soil, here there is pinot noir, also as indicated above, the label actually refers only to Grèves, not Sur les Grèves – apparently this is allowed!
  • Les Teurons, with over 20 hectares, like Grèves is probably too large. The best part is towards the top of the hill between Les Cras and Les Grèves.
    There is not so much clay at the top but the lower down you go, the soil becomes browner and browner.
    beaune - high trained vines chateau de choreyAt the bottom of the mid section, near the road you will find high-trained vines (left) owned by Benoit Germain (Château de Chorey) – officially it’s not allowed to prune/train like this but a blind eye is taken as this area can flood – Benoit remembers one harvest when he was young seeing cases of grapes floating!
    The soil is similar to Vignes Franches with plenty of brown/red iron colouring to the clay, but the stones are different, smaller and rounder. Teurons delivers one of the most masculine wines of Beaune with strong tannins, sometimes spiciness – a wine that can be rich and deep and long but is usually at its best with bottle age. The top slopes have almost always been chardonnay – at least as far as the archives of Bouchard indicate, lower down Teurons has the more classic deeper soil on the lower slopes. Also, some of the bottom of Teurons has a different, lighter soil which is planted to chardonnay – the soil here is the same as Ardhuy’s Petite Clos du Theurons which was a reclaimed walled garden planted at the foot of the slope about 20 years ago, and the Clos St.Landry (further to the south) because it’s exactly the same band of soil – yet the vineyards in-between (Clos de la Mousse, Les Avaux etc.) are planted to pinot because another layer of soil that has come down the mountain lies over the top.
    It’s informative to stand at the junction of Bouchard Père and Albert Morot’s plots of pinot noir, here you see a clone difference as the Morot vines are a lighter green colour but Bouchard’s ripen and are picked earlier every year. At the bottom of the hill, approaching the houses of Beaune, you will have difficulty believing that the vines can take the same label as they drop off 3-4 metre cliffs – the faces of old stone quarrying – the quality is certainly not to the same level down there…
  • Clos de la Féguine is beautifully placed, but given that the whole vineyard was re-worked and replanted in the last 5 years, the wines that Prieur produce (it’s both a red and white monopole) are remarkably good – for the moment I perhaps wouldn’t keep them too long given the young vines, but they drink well young, so no problem! The section planted to chardonnay is just over the road from Sur les Grèves, and shares an almost identical soil with that vineyard.
  • Les Cras is to my mind one of the top 2 or 3 crus in Beaune, but relatively small by Beaune standards with around 5.5 hectares. Only about 5 producers bottle Les Cras, two-thirds is owned by Germain and Drouhin and some roughly 90 year-old vines owned by Camille Giroud – the Champy version is also worth looking out for. Light soil with round stones and plenty of silicate which reflects the sun so gives more maturity, this is often one of the earlier parcels picked and provides complex, often large and fat but very mineral wines. Regardless of vintage conditions, it seems to me that the mineral flavours always stand out from this wine. It was previously classed as a tête de cuvée by Lavalle. It has about 40-50 cm of soil over layers of plaquettes – layers of stone that the roots can go through. Almost everyone here has quite low yields and I think they all make a very good version.
  • Coucherias is just above Teurons and Grèves, it is on the right-hand side as you go up the Route de Bouze, named after the setting sun which delivers its last rays here – couché. It is south and east facing, but as the hillside follows the small valley one part faces full south – just about the only place in Beaune – here the soil is lighter in colour and fits better the production of whites as there is less clay and plenty of stone debris from the ancient quarry which is clearly visible on one side. There is not much slope for this ‘white area’ whereas the rest of the vineyard is quite steep, more east-facing and stony, darker soil with more clay, here Jadot have a wine they sell as premier cru Clos-des-Couchereaux, but there’s no mention of Coucherias on the label. Also watch out for Clos des Coucherias from Guillemard Clerc.
    This is where stone for constructing the Hospices de Beaune was quarried. it offers a wonderful view of the vineyards and Beaune below. The recent efforts of Pierre Labet deliver a very good one, Jean-Claude Rateau produces from the ‘white’ section.
The Southern Constellation

beaune clos des avaux
Here is a much more complex mix of smaller vineyards than the areas I’ve suggested in the north and centre. Abutting the route de Bouze the vines produce interesting wines; Champimonts, Montée Rouge, Clos de la Mousse and Les Reversées, but then you reach a band of relatively flat land. These 1ers in the flats are considered less individual than their mid-slope counterparts in the north so large maisons de négoce like Bouchard Père prefer to use these in their blends (Château de Beaune). It is probably due to the deep soils that have eroded from higher up – the mother rock is often very deep below. It is only as you get half-way to Pommard that things become more individual and interesting, with Vignes-Franches, Boucherottes, Clos des Mouches and Montrevenots.

  • Montée Rouge is a split vineyard (premier and villages portions) at the top of the hill, so despite its name, the soil is not so red, rather it is quite sandy. The only wine I know is Potel’s Domaine de Bellene, but it’s a good one.
  • Les Champimonts has a couple of terraces facing south-east, the soil is relatively light brown with plenty of chalky stones and not much clay. It’s one of the earlier ripening areas. The wines are reasonably elegant here – I do like the consistent creamy dimension of the Ardhuy version. Yet the vineyard is split into two sections, bisected by the Clos des Avaux and La Mignotte – strange…
  • La Mignotte is majority owned by the Hospices de Beaune; 2.1 of the 2.4 hectares. I’ve never seen a bottle with this label.
  • Les Seurey alone isn’t seen, it’s in an Hospices de Beaune cuvée and the Bouchard Père Clos des Château.
  • Clos de la Mousse – which is a Bouchard Père monopole – looks very much like the vineyards around it, the real difference is below the (thin) soil where there is a layer of almost impermeable argilles and there is always water here so the roots can’t go too deep.
  • Reversées is in the middle of a ‘cone de dejection’ i.e. is a thicker layer of dark soil which has washed down from the hillside above.
  • Les Sceaux is a vineyard that I’ve never personally seen on a label; none of the the ‘top 3′ landowners have vines here. It’s relatively easy to find bottle on winesearcher, the most well known producer probably being Louis Max, and I’ve heard good things of the Rully domaine of Anne-Sophie Debavelaere and her version – but that’s it.
  • Belissand has much browner, greyer earth. Its mainly pinot here and much is pruned cordon de royat to restrict the vigour that this soil brings – it’s also dangerous to plant grass between the vines here because the grass causes a slightly lower temperature between the vines and can catch the frost apparently.
  • Les Aigrots has more sand at the top and more clay lower on the hill. In many respects it is a junior Clos des Mouches (which it touches) with its mix of sturdy red wines and quite fresh whites. I would look out for the white of Albert Morot (despite the young age of the vines) and the red of de Montille.
  • beaune les avauxLes Avaux has deep soil and quite red too – in places more than 3m deep without hitting rock – below is a hidden stream from a source higher up the hill, even in the driest weather there the vines look in great condition. There is Clos des Avaux which is its own 1er cru – but the wines can also be called ‘Les Avaux’, actually Clos des Avaux is made up of 1.83 ha Champs Pimont plus 1.87 ha of Avaux. The wines can generally be a little square, never with the precision (for instance) of Les Cras.
  • Les Sizies. De Montille have an excellently priced version, but due to a meeting location mix-up I wasn’t able to get more details from Etienne de Montille – I’ve tried one recently from Pascal Prunier-Bonheur, but it didn’t wow me. More to follow…
  • Clos St.Landry. As mentioned (in the Teurons text) this is a light soil which perfectly suits chardonnay. This small (almost) 2 hectare vineyard has been a monopoly of Bouchard Père since no less than 1791!
  • Les Pertuisots soil is a dark calcareous and clay, rich with sediments, it fits to pinot – but despite the BIVB saying there there is no chardonnay here, I know of a bottling – yet across the invisible border to Clos St.Landry, everything is chardonnay – this is where the sub-soil returns to the surface. There are two water sources in the soil which make it naturally resistant to the drought.
  • Les Tuvilains below the Clos St.Landry also has a lot of chardonnay – Bouchard Père did have pinot here but like they did in Sur les Grèves eventually grafted chardonnay onto the vines because they always had concern with botrytis, good pinot wines could be made in ripe years though. There was always so much water in this vineyard that Bouchard constructed their own drainage pipes under the vines.
  • Les Chouacheux sits on the slope just below Vignes Franches. There are slightly deeper soils in the lower part of the slope produce plump, well-fruited, charming wines that seem to fit very well with the cru’s name! Jadot (Héritiers) owns almost half this cru, Coste-Caumartin, Fanny Sabre and Antonin Rodet might be good alternatives too.
  • Les Vignes-Franches was exempt from all duties; hence the name “franches” or free of taxes. Les Vignes-Franches is perhaps better known under another name, that of Jadot’s Clos des Ursules which is a walled area within the cru. The Clos des Ursules has for a long time been a monopole of Jadot, being purchased by them in 1826.
  • Clos de Mouches is the second largest of the Beaune 1ers and abuts the border with Pommard 1er Les Saussilles. Drouhin are by a masive margin with 14 of the 25 hectares the largest of owners, Chanson are probably second largest holders with 4.3 hectares.
    There are three distinct terraces; high, mid-slope and lower slope, each one separated by a retaining stone wall. The soil in the top section of the vineyard is quite stony, while in the mid-section the limestone and marl bedrock is more prevalent; according to Drouhin there are ‘outcrops of the dalle nacrée’ or mother-of-pearl. At its lower level, particularly where it touches on Beaune 1er Les Boucherottes, the ground is quite red in places with plenty of large stones and a higher clay content. In many respects Clos des Mouches has very similar looking soil to Cras but has some extra redder iron-infused clay lower down and rockier soil in the upper part of the vineyard. At the center, the soil is limestone and marl and with a lighter composition.
  • Boucherottes is south of Beaune bordering Pommard. Yellow soil with brown, broken stones, slightly lower clay content. It is a very light and delicate, just under Vignes Franches – quite high. All of Boucherottes is well sited in the middle of the hill. The Germain Boucherottes/Cent Vignes vines are contiguous, part of a 2 hectare block. Jadot’s 2.5 hectares have deeper clay soils which they say ‘adds a lush quality to the wine’.
  • Epenotes directly connects to Pommard Les Epenots. There is plenty of red clay and small stones in the soil here and only a very gentle incline. Anne Parent (Domaine Parent) is perhaps the largest owner here; versus her Pommard Epenots she says “Our Beaune has some old (75 years) vines in very long (250 metre) rows. The similarity with the Pommard is the wine’s complexity, the difference is that the Beaune is a little rounder and more elegant.” Domaine du Pavillon and Domaine Parent have really good examples, and remember what I said at the start of this page about the relative pricing of Beaune wines(?); Anne Parent sells her wine for the same price as her villages Pommard, even though she says it’s a more ‘feminine’ version of her Pommard 1er Epenots!
  • Montrevenots is the highest and most westerly of the Beaune premiers and offers a beautiful view towards Pommard which it borders. The soil is rather stony and red from iron-infused clay. This soil gives the wines both intensity and structure, yet its position high on the hill seems to deliver a measure of elegance. Not seen so much; Jean-Marc Boillot and Dubreuil-Fontaine bottles make it onto the market. I think this a very underestimated / missed vineyard, Dubreuil offering the clear ‘value’ choice for me.

9 responses to “Beaune: Village Profile”

  1. Will

    Bill,

    Great summary, thanks for taking time to write this up. It’s certainly a village where I haven’t spent much time focusing on the wines even though I’ve spent more time in Beaune than any other burgundian village. Hopefully (from a consumers perspective) prices will remain reasonable enough to allow me to taste through a number of these various plots to see if I can tell the differences.

    To date, the only Beaunes that I recall trying are Drouhin/Chanson Clos Des Mouches (both rouge & blanc), Pavelot Bressandes and Jean Marc Bouleys Reversees. Generally I’ve been satisfied with the quality but never really blown away. Then again I’ve never really tried a Beaune with much age.

    Cheers,
    Will

  2. Will

    Nothing wrong with quiet contemplation… The issue comes when one gets ‘wow’ from basic bourgognes in some instances, then one expects something exciting when one delves into the world of 1er crus etc..

    I have the same issue with Aloxe and Ladoix 1er crus but that doesn’t mean that I will stop buying/trying new ones.

  3. brian robson

    Excellent work Bill, thank you.

  4. Mark in Pernand

    Bill,

    Montrevenots :- totally agree on the view / location, quite one of the most stunningly beautiful places I’ve been to. Went up there first thing, into quite a tight combe or small valley, one lovely morning in Sept 09 with my fellow D-F vendangeurs & it just really took my breath away, akin to Sous Fretille. Seemed just a million miles from the ‘real world’. Wonderful – must go back. The view was stunning and the place so quiet & peaceful.

    Have one bottle of D-F’s 2006 I can’t bring myself to open as a singleton.

  5. Mark in Pernand

    Grrrrr !!!

    Thanks (not), you are just ‘rubbing it in’ – totally jealous (of your being there and buying) !

    Did you see Christine ? How are the family and things at the domaine ? Any discussion on the 09’s – that certain folk slaved over ;-) ?

    Guess the others might have been some Volnay and …………think we should be told.

    Did you call at Alex G’s and acquire some more of that delish BB 08 ?

  6. Mark in Pernand

    Bill,

    Have you come across this on your travels. Can’t recall seeing mention of anywhere previously – had a quick look around B-R without seeing anything.

    http://www.thedrinksbusiness.com/2011/10/louis-jadot-celebrates-150-years/?utm_source=The+Drinks+Business+List&utm_campaign=dffeef4840-13_10_11_Fine_Wine_Latest10_13_2011&utm_medium=email

    As an avowed terroirist, and lover of Montrevenots in particular (finally got some D-F 2008 last month – wonderful stuff), am not sure I “approve” of the blending but would like to taste the sum of the parts – especialy in 2009.

  7. Phil Eaves

    Bill couple of questions, the Jadot Clos Blanc, do you know which part of Greves this is in I have been unable to pin point it on my walks?

    The En Genet that can take the Marconnets name do you have a surface area for this?

    thanks

    Phil

Agree? Disagree? Anything you'd like to add?