Clos Vougeot topography/quality question

My understanding is that the best of CdV, from the top of the slope, is equal to the best Grand Crus (or at least up there). Yet I hear that the whole vinyard is essentially flat. What gives? Thanks.

I’ll check the map in Hugh Johnson’s “Wine Atlas of the World”, which is topographic and has contour lines, and will get back to you…

While not necessarily directly answering your question, I would only comment that I generally ignore the notion that the top portion of the Clos produces the best wines. Domaine Jean Grivot’s vines are right up against the route nationale and they consistently produce a top-notch Clos de Vougeot rivaling the best.

According to Google Earth, the bottom to top rise is between 40 feet and 80 feet depending on where on the bottom and top you’re measuring from. The highest point in CV (again, according to google earth) is the section adjacent to Grands Echezeaux near the Chateau (at the top of Drouhin-Laroze’s parcel). I expected the highest point to be adjacent to Musigny. What kind of soil matters much more than steepness tho.

John Gilman wrote an excellent article on Clos Vougeot and why it’s misunderstood. If you subscribe to Gilman and have it linked to cellartracker, you can read it here (otherwise, this link is useless):

If I can include one small quote from Gilman’s article:

‘At its best, Clos Vougeot to my palate belongs in the second group of the best grand crus, alongside Clos de la Roche, Clos St. Denis, Grands Echézeaux and Echézeaux.’

It’s not flat at all . In addition , while general consensus is that the top part is the best , others claim a combination of top , middle and bottom offers the best wine .

As some other have stated, the Clos is by no means flat. In fact there are parts where you can stand and not see the Chateau due to the change in elevation.

Sorry for the small map, but this is a map that recently was released that shows where people/owners plots are located.

Indeed, the Clos is holding some diverse pieces of land. There are many rises and falls, which actually provide situations where you have some West facing sections (East, above the Chateau). The issue with Clos de Vougeot aren’t the lower sections. The issue is that the vineyards making up the Clos, while falling under the same Grand Cru name are really just a collection of vineyards. Imagine it more like a small village (the Clos) in and of itself. When you are Blending grapes from different terroirs, the wine will have a much less distinctive voice. To be sure, there is more to the reputation of the clos than the size and history of it. There is something there that is being being silenced by too many voices speaking at the same time

beat me to it [cheers.gif]

especially when many voices are trying to say different things, non? [wink.gif]
nice new avatar, Ray

Thanks, Scott! Exactly. These are the words that echoed to me when reading André Jullien and Cyrus Redding, both submitting this idea that wines of the top quality tier (presumably those with distinctive voices) when mixed together cannot hope to rival wines of the third quality.

I have seen evidence of this personally and believe it to be one of the most singular ideas in Burgundy wines.

John Gilman wrote an excellent piece on CV a number of years ago and updated it in 2008. Since the discussion about CV tops and bottoms shows up with regularity, I will see if John will give to OK to make it available as a public service (and demonstrate a solid reason to subscribe.)


Michael -
Where did you get that great map?

I’ve seen them around Burgundy and assume you can get them at the clos…

Here ( ) is a website where I found it also…but it (price) seems extremely high…

Thought I’d mention that the article I linked (above) is the same article that John Gilman updated in 2008. You need to subscribe tho.

Also, the following has a couple of great maps of Clos de Vougeot, including a detailed plot ownership map:


In your opinion who has the bet plots in CV ?

Can’t say, Nick.
I will say that there is a great wealth of diversity in the Clos. And each can provide voice.

From walking the vineyard, I have a hunch of which I’d personally like to have the most. I was actually offered fruit from them in 2011 and passed it up as I was worried about being yet another négoce with a Clos wine.

Not sure if I regret passing or not.

Anyhow, it is much more exciting a vineyard than is suggested commonly. That said, competing voices are fatal to a wine’s distinction.

Sorry. I should have acknowledged you posted that. I am still trying to see if I can get permission to post it here.



That said, competing voices are fatal to a wine’s distinction.

Ray…I might misunderstood your above statement.

I understand there is only one voice speaking for La Tache as there is only one producer.

Are you saying that there should be one voice ( = one producer ) of AOC Musigny so that it will not be fatal to the distinction of a wine which is Musigny ?

Please clarify !

It is that each vineyard is different, and within these vineyards there are differences.

The different voices speaking over each other relates to the blending that occurs

Thanks for the quick clarification - much appreciated.

the blending that occurs

Very interesting comment.

But are there many blendings occur in AOC village Appellations ( which include 1er cru classification ) and/or AOC G-cru Applleations ?

I think the issue is soil. In most Grand Cru vineyards, the soil is uniform (or mostly uniform)…except for Clos de Vougeot, which has several different soil types. And I think the assumption here is that soil = voice (except UC Davis and others disagree with this and research that indicates it’s more climate than soil driven:<em>Terroir<%2Fem>&).

Obviously blending occurs within village and 1er cru wines and is disallowed between Grand Cru vineyards (and still call it Grand Cru)…but the different soils within Vougeot is, I think, what Ray is talking about.

This would be true for some producers, such as Meo, that have multiple plots across Vougeot. But most producers have a single plot, which means most don’t suffer from the ‘blending’ issue.

I’m curious if anyone knows if the different soil types in Vougeot follow the different climats (correct term here?)…i.e. Musigni, Garenne, Montiotes (haut et bas), Chioure, Journaux, Quartier des Marei (haut et bas), Grand/Petit Maugertui, Plante Labbe/Homor, and Baudes (haut et bas)?