Between the dried-stones walls
Even if the Clos des Lambrays is strictly delimited and enclosed by dried-stones walls, you never really achieve to make the tour… The Clos des Lambrays is one of the 33 Great Growths from Bourgogne, one of its most precious so-called “Climats”.
We invite you to discover and tour in the heart of Morey-Saint-Denis village. This will link you to its history and legacy. Take the time to walk on the the limestone paths along the walls. Down the slopes, close to the village well, a milestone recalls the foundation in 1365. Up the slopes, you reach the emblematic stonegate that leads way to the 202 “ouvrées” or pieces of land (8.66 hectares) owned by the Domaine. In the background, the line of the Alps mountains is sometimes sketched.
Let’s have a look at the ups and downs, the ripples of the slopes. The vine grows in a thin/ skinny limestone and clay soil. Year after year, it gives, according to the nuances of the vintage, an elegant Pinot noir that can age for decades.
Côte de Nuits high-place
Between Gevrey-Chambertin at the North and Chambolle-Musigny at the South, Morey-Saint-Denis is a discrete village and the heart of many Grands Crus. Clos des Lambrays, Bonnes-Mares, Clos Saint-Denis, Clos de la Roche, Clos de Tart. Among the Côte de Nuits, Morey-Saint-Denis is the village with the widest proportion of vines ranked as Grands Crus. Among them, the Clos des Lambrays benefits from a special location.
This growth is a high-place within Côte de Nuits. It is made of smooth slopes, with different sun exposures, where vines has been rooted and grown for 30, 50, 60 years, even more. The size, width and amplitude and the topographical diversity of these slopes give to Pinot noir an optimal and varied terroir to adapt to.
The Lambrays “Climat”
In Bourgogne “climat” and “lieux-dits” are not the same thing. With the Clos des Lambrays, we reach the essence of Bourgogne vine philosophy. Be ready to dive into that special and attaching culture with its own language and own code. This is the way to better taste it. Within the Clos, the “Climat” -this traditional terroir entity linked to a wine- melts three “lieux-dits” called Les Larrets, Les Bouchots & Le Meix-Rentier.
With its steep slope and poor soil, Les Larrets bring elegance and finesse to the Clos des Lambrays. Le Meix-Rentier is made of the down of the hill. Its soil is deeper. It is the backbone of the wine. Les Bouchots at the North, at the exit of the Morey Combe, are usually picked at the end of harvest. They enrich the final wine with new facets. Whoever the winemaker, whatever the style of winemaking, the character of the growth takes over.
The very first reference to « Clos des Lambrays » traces back to XIVth century. Some archives of Cîteaux Abbey testifies for its existence since 1365. An engraved milestone still witnesses of this foundation. Sold as “national good” by the end of the French Revolution, the Clos is extremely atomised at that time. Reading the archives and maps of the vines owned by the Domaine, we realise that the Clos des Lambrays story is due to the strong vision of the different owners during to the XIX and XXth centuries to recompose its integrity. As if, it were an ideal to achieve.
In 1936, when the first appellations d’origine are issued, the Clos des Lambrays is listed as a First Growth. Nevertheless, when experts refer to its wine, they rank among the Great Growths.
The modern consecration
The Rodiers’ resoluteness, followed by their descendants’, from the 1930s to the 1980s helped the Clos des Lambrays recover its legitimate Grand Cru status. History already recognised this status de facto to it. And wine lovers always credited it to it. In 1981 official and unofficial status finally converge and meet. It took almost half a century to the French National Institute in charge of Appellations d’Origine to hallow the Clos des Lambrays as the 33rd Grands Crus of Bourgogne.
Since 1979 the Clos des Lambrays is has been the object of deep passion as well as the subject of stroke of luck. The property has been enriched and magnified between the hands of Mr Louis and Fabien Saier along with Mr Rolland Pelletier de Chambure, then of the Freunds since 1996, to be finally acquired by LVMH Group in 2014.
Anthology -First half of the XXth Century
Lovely weather in Spring and Summer have built a solid basis to this vintage. Due to the mediocre Autumn/ Fall, 1918 does not become a hot vintage benefiting from a starting firework ! But great terroirs need time to reveal themselves. The Clos des Lambrays proves itself to be a true singular and vibrant wine. It has been ranked among the elite of Côte-de-Nuits. Such a vintage is naturally the most ancient one that we still keep in our cellar.
A great vintage by definition ! A sunny weather since Spring until harvest time, only tempered and moderated by some scattered rainfalls. 1937 belongs to that years when man disappear and leave the magic of the wine talk by itself. Eighty years later, this wine is a testimony of the golden age of Clos des Lambrays under the ownership of the emblematic Camille Rodier. Bourgogne wines from this period properly kept by estates are extremely rare.
The “Bourgogne miracle” is not a new concept. A late and major frost combined with Summer drought have given birth to a limited but delicious harvest. From its very beginning Clos des Lambrays 1945 is rare. Again, History and our climats destiny converge, as if men and vines were in communion. This long term ageing vintage has been part of the selection of wines presented to obtain the recognition as Grand Cru in 1981.
Anthology - 1960-1980 Today
“And why would’nt we be lucky sometime ?” This is the question asked by Roland Pelletier de Chambure to Thierry Brouin, half-enthusiastic, half-embarrassed in front of his wine. A few years after they took over the estate, quality and quantity/ volume are combined. The surface under production within the Clos is only three quarters of what it is today. Harvest takes only two days around the equinox. A new era has begun.
The tempered Clos
It is obvious that the Clos should be mastered with delicacy, that the fragile elegance of its terroir should be respected or the wine would loose its balance. In 2003 violence came from… nature. The extraordinary Summer heat and drought is still in all memories, forcing us to harvest as early as August 24th - a record. Submitted to these extreme conditions, the Clos, thanks to its old vines and diversity of sun exposures, proved to be resilient. Wine reveals finesse and classicism.
A glorious future
By the end of March, the burgeoning is promising. Bourgogne vintners allow themselves to believe in a better crop that the past years. But April 28th, a frost tragically damages the vineyards. The Clos des Lambrays survived this episode. A hot and dry summer extends in September, leading to happy harvest. 2016 is a surviving vintage, promised to a glorious future. After being picked and put into barrels, this wine is already a great news.