At the end of February, I took a walk around the impressive work done by the Boisset group in Gevrey’s Les Evocelles; new walls and a big area of vines enclosed by it, right at the top of the hill below the trees.
I know that some members of the Gevrey Syndicat were unhappy with aspects of this work – complaining out-loud that Boisset (it is actually Domaine de la Vougeraie) were modifiying the terrior. I have to say that I’ve a different opinion about this. Man (and woman!) have always shaped and supported the vineyards with paths, roads and walls – and they always will. When people wanted stone, they quarried into the vineyards to take exactly what they needed; vines were restored to the gaps that remained. Gevrey 1er Goulots is just such an example. To my mind, the most important aspect of what Boisset have done, is their investment in the source of their income – the vineyards. Boisset (and Girardin too) have done a lot of this. Given the amount of wealth generated by Burgundy wine in the last generation, I find the general state of vineyards, or rather, their boundaries, rather saddening. I almost feel that their should be some ‘Unesco Climats Levy’ to rebuild and repair what generates not just wine income, but also tourist income. Bertagne are doing some vineyard ‘remediation work’ too at the end of their Clos des Perrieres, introducing some terraces into the ‘en friche’ (unplanted) hillside – interestingly this will become Chambolle Les Amoureuses, a wine that Bertagna didn’t have before. Eva Reh tells me that they hope to plant the vines in the next few months.
So, anyway, I say well-done Boisset, Girardin and Bertagna!
I posed a bunch of questions about this work to Nathalie Berges-Boisset, and Pierre Vincent, here’s their view with a small gallery of the referenced work.
How big is the area you now enclose in the walls?
3 hectares, but the walls don’t surround the entire plot.
How long did you need from beginning the work to finally planting, and when exactly did you plant?
- 2009: uprooting of the old vines
- 2010: ground work
- 2011,2012,2013: plantations
Did you break up the rock below the soil before planting?
No. We have worked with classical techniques: light ploughing of the soil, deep ploughing to aerate the soil, scraping, design of a regular slope to facilitate the ground work and the rooting of the rootstocks.
Are you finished, or will you do some more work at the top of the vineyard? I see that there is currently no wall or other structure to keep the forest or wild boars at bay…
We are finished with the wall at the top, the walls are actually made to prevent the earth from eroding and slipping down and not against the sangliers, in fact!
I expect the work will have cost some hundreds of thousands of Euros – do you want to publicly share what you invested in the future of this plot?
Sorry, we don’t reveal that kind of information.
Did you plant at ‘normal’ density, or did you extend your program of Evocelles High Density?
We planted at a 13,600 ‘feet’ per hectare, which is a little higher than a normal density (our maximum is 36,000). We chose this density as it was the highest that could still be mechanized. We won’t further extend our High Density work as it can only be worked by hand. This would be impossible for such a big surface.
And what did you plant with – a massale selection (for instance) from…?
We used 4 selections by plot: 3 massale selections + 1 clonal selection. Complicated, but as we are looking for the best possible quality its seems to us very important to develop a genetic biodiversity.
Which do you anticipate will be the first vintage that you will vinify from this new plot?
- 1.5 ha has always been in production
- 2013: first ‘microscopic’ production
- 2016: several cuvées
Any more interesting things to know about this?
We have done a deep quality of work on this very special ‘family vineyard’ because it was the first one of our father, Jean-Claude, acquired when he was 21, the one our grandfather helped to work. So it’s the most symbolic one and also the most emotional one us! So it’s important to us that every choice was made seriously and in the very precise consciousness that we did this work for the next generations… So is the vine!