From A to Z

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Abbey of Cîteaux

Clos des Lambrays appears in history, named as “Cloux des Lambrey” in February 1365 in a property certificate by Cîteaux Abbey. It is the very first reference to the Clos in the archives’ fund. The role of the Abbey is designing the Bourgogne terroirs is key. The Abbey used to own wide vineyards around the villages of Gilly and Vougeot as well as in the rest of the “Côtes”. It used to be the heart of Bourgogne’s influence and radiance. Along the Middle-Age, the Clos was under the alliegance of Cîteaux. The Domaine des Lambrays owns the most ancient sign of oldness among all LVMH Maisons.

Bouchots, Larrey (aka Larrets) and other Meix-Rentiers

These names are given to three lieux-dits or places composing the whole Clos des Lambrays Climat. The word “Larrey” is the easiest to find out. On old maps and land registers of the XIXth century, we find this name on some plots of vines within the Clos. Larrey means slope, flank, the side of the hill on which the vine rows are planted. The Bouchots are located at the North and at the border of the Clos and the Meix-Rentier at the foothill. Those three “lieux-dits” testify from the topographical diversity of the Clos, giving birth to one and single wine.

Cellar

After the vine, the cellar is the most important place of the estate. There is a little and a big cellar, also know as the young and the old ones. A stairway leads first the “big” cellar where and wines sleep in a handful of barrels. This one is more recent than the small cellar as it dates back to the XVIIth century. In the background, beyond the gate, lies the estate’s memory, its wine library. A century of vintages is stored here. A narrow porch gives way to the oldest cellar from the XVIth century. During World War II, it was bricked up to protect the wines from the occupying forces and re-opened much later. Wines are aged in those underground vaulted/arched cellars. Sometime you may be invited within to taste new wines by the barrel… Some happy few can be offered an old bottle, without any label.

Côte de Nuits

Bourgogne is worldwide famous for its succession of slopes. They build and shape the landscape from Dijon to Mâcon. People from Nuits-Saint-Georges cherish their slope, a narrow piece of land bordered by the national road #74. It is planted with vines on 20 km in length and is 500 to 600 m wide. This slope is a pilgrimage destination for Bourgogne wine lovers who wander from village to village among plots of vines called Climats and bearing poetic and famous names. In Morey the slope is nicknamed the “mountain” because it culminates at 472 m. Indeed, it is more a series of hills topped by thin woods and split by a protecting valley. In cold days, this valley protects the vines from frost attacks. Clos des Lambrays, de Tart, de la Roche, Saint-Denis… Morey-St-Denis is definitely a land of clos.

Etymology

We must confess we don’t know much about the origins and the meaning of the name Lambrays. Some say that archivists have found evidence of the existence of a family named Lambreys as early as the XIIIth century. Above all, Lambrays is the name of the eponymous plot of vine, located at the heart of the current Clos. The unique name of Lambrays is early used for the whole of the property. On a 1879 map, the plot is mentioned as the “Pièce des Lambrays”. The very first labels with the name Lambrays dates back to the end of the XIXth century. Since 1938 at least, the expression “Clos des Lambrays” was used permanently. On specific label glorifies the name: a drawing by artist Hansi, inspired by the heraldic style he cherished.

Spirit

Three old barrel, that have acquired a patina of time, are located in the rear of the XVIIIth century cellar. Within ages for a few years the spirit of the Domaine, the so-called fine. During this period, the eau-de-vie takes its colour from the oak, its aromas become more refined and complex. The special guests of the Domaine are invited to taste it by the end of a meal where the Lambrays wines were drunk one after the other. We are proud to perpetuate a typical almost vanished Bourgogne tradition.

Grand Cru

For a long time, there was no use giving an official status to Clos des Lambrays to refer to its quality and greatness. Its name was self-sufficient. Nevertheless are its past and current fame proclaimed when Clos des Lambrays becomes the last but not least of the 33 Grands Crus of Bourgogne. It definitely part of the elite. During the last two centuries, many mentions to Clos des Lambrays as de facto, if not de jure, grand cru have been accumulated. For example in the list by Dr Lavalle as early as 1855. In the book by Camille Rodier, the Clos received the qualification of tête de cuvée in line with its neighbours Clos de Tart and Bonnes Mares. Of course Rodier was the owner of the Clos at that time, but his legitimacy is undeniable. In a more prosaïc way, the Treasury gives equivalent status to “all the other growths from the K category, among which Clos de Tart and Richebourg.”

Garden (classified)

Yes the garden is classified as terroir not as heritage… this peaceful, gorgeous 5,000m2 wide garden, hidden by a heavy gate, may have become a premier cru. It could have become a vineyard producing a few more barrels of wine.

The wolves of Morey

The wolves that haunt the Côte-de-Nuits are the inhabitants of Morey-Saint-Denis, also named the Morétains. You will find them of the village’s as well as on the Estate’s blazon. It is also the name of our premier cru. Morey-Saint-Denis gives red wines from Pinot noir, with very few exceptions. In this Village-appellation there are five grands crus and four clos. From North to South, Clos de la Roche, bordering the village of Gevrey-Chambertin, then Clos Saint-Denis; in the heart of the village are Clos des Lambrays and Clos de Tart, side-by-side and a small part of Bonnes Mares, shared with the village of Chambolle-Musigny.

Morcellement et remembrement

De l’unité médiévale au remembrement progressif, le Clos des Lambrays a connu des périodes de morcellement et de remembrement. L’idéal de reconstitution de l’unité est partagé par les propriétaires successifs au point de faire des Lambrays un exemple unique dans l’histoire de la Bourgogne.

A la révolution, la propriété du Clos des Lambrays, telle que nous la connaissons, commence à être divisée. Au milieu du XIXe siècle on compte plus de 70 propriétaires ! Fragmenté à l’extrême, le Clos connaît une situation emblématique de l’histoire viticole de la Bourgogne mais qui nuit à l’identité et à la renommée des vins. Au Domaine, plusieurs plans cadastraux permettent de suivre l’évolution de l’assiette foncière du Clos. En 1879 un premier regroupement important de parcelles a lieu. Le nouvel acquéreur, Albert Rodier, possède alors 8ha 15a 81ca d’un seul tenant. Cette propriété ne constituait cependant pas la même entité que l’actuel Clos des Lambrays, puisqu’elle s’étendait sur les deux lieux-dits « Les Larrets » et « Les Bouchots » mais excluait « Le Meix Rentier ».

World Heritage

The narrow piece of land that extends from Dijon to Beaune is a wine country since the Dukes of Bourgogne. In July 2015, it joined the list of World Heritage UNESCO classified sites, as a recognition of its exceptional and universal value. Indeed you are in an estate that belong to this World Heritage.

Propriétaires successifs

“Objet d’un amour exclusif, passionné, excessif, cette vigne fut longtemps hors du temps.” Voilà comment est présenté le Clos des Lambrays par Charles Quittanson dans un opus historique des années 1980. Les propriétaires qui se sont succédé ont en effet témoigné d’un profond attachement pour le Domaine.

On retrouve en 1836 la trace d’un négociant nuiton (entendez de Nuits-Saint-Georges), Louis Joly, qui l’acquiert, admiratif de l’excellence des vins. C’est le tour de Camille et Albert Rodier, également négociants, d’acquérir le joyau en 1866. Les Rodier sont une famille influente en Bourgogne au début du XXeme siècle. Fondateur de la Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin, Camille est aussi l’auteur d’ouvrages de référence sur les vins de Bourgogne. Albert Rodier transmet le Clos à Renée Cosson et à son fils.

En 1979 les frères Fabien et Louis Saier, rachètent les Lambrays en association avec les capitaux de Roland Pelletier de Chambure d’origine bourguignonne, grand-bourgeois éleveur de chevaux de race. Tous trois partagent la même fascination pour le terroir et les vins des Lambrays auxquels ils redonnent leur lustre. Leur oeuvre consiste à remplacer les pieds de vigne manquants, tout en respectant la part des vieilles vignes, à redresser les murs de pierres qui enclosent les vignes, tout en restaurant et le parc et la maison. L’échec des affaires des Saier entraîne le Clos des Lambrays qui frôle la faillite en 1992. Mais la détermination de son gérant, Thierry Brouin, et la loyauté de ses clients et fournisseurs, évitent le pire.

Un couple d’entrepreneurs allemands, les Freund, touchés par la beauté des lieux autant que des vins, acquiert alors le Domaine. Ils s’établissent plusieurs mois par an dans la maison pour prendre part aux moments forts de la vie de la vigne. A la mort de Günter Freund, le groupe LVMH, qui cultive l’excellence viticole en France et dans le monde, s’intéresse aux Lambrays. En devenant le propriétaire du Domaine des Lambrays en 2014, LVMH s’installe pour la première fois en Bourgogne.

Rose of the Clos

A Bourgogne rosé cuvée made by the Domaine when the vintage allows it. This wine bears the poetic name of the rose of the Clos and is produced in small quantities.