It’s a little sad that this anniversary comes with some significant hail losses for thei 2023 anniversary vintage (see previous 2023 vintage update) but it’s an important anniversary all the same.
Some of first Burgundy vineyards to receive AOCs were Pouilly-Fuissé in December 1922 and Mercurey in May 1923 – most villages received their AOCs in the period 1935-1945. Also special was that Mercurey was one of only three (the others were Pouilly-Fuissé in 1922 and Pouilly-Loché in 1936) to have their AOCs confirmed by decree of the courts. By the normal route Mercurey also had its AOC confirmed in 1936. But why the courts? The BIVB explains it thus:
100 years ago, Edouard de Suremain, a winemaker in Mercurey and also President of the Bar, with Antoine Rousseau from Saint-Martin-sous-Montaigu (before becoming the mayor) and their winemaker colleagues from the 3 villages: Bourgneuf-Val d’Or, Mercurey et Saint-Martin-sous-Montaigu, went to court to plead against the fact that winemakers in the neighbouring villages of Rully and Givry were using the Mercurey name on their labels to improve the chances of selling their wines.
It was a time when the concept of the appellation contrôlée (AOC) with its customs and traditions, was still in its infancy.
The Mercurey appellation in short:
- On 29th May 1923, by legal decree in Chalon, the renowned red wine, famous since the 9th century, and the white wine so appreciated by wine experts, became officially recognised under the new Mercurey appellation.
- The vineyards of the appellation are based in the 2 Côte Chalonnaise villages of Mercurey and Saint-Martin-sous-Montaigu.
- 650 hectares of vines, with 550 hectares of Pinot Noir (85%) and 100 hectares of Chardonnay (15%).
- The union of producers representing 70 vineyard owners and 40 winemakers
- Mercurey is the largest appellation of Pinot Noir in Bourgogne and the largest in area on the Côte Chalonnaise.
- Vinification is a centuries-old art in Bourgogne and added to that is the know-how and personality of each of the Mercurey & Saint-Martin-sous-Montaigu winemakers.