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The commune of Vougeot is, in many wine-lover's minds, really just a single vineyard - the behemoth that is Clos Vougeot (or Clos de Vougeot - the names are interchangable).  Yet there are both premiers crus and villages wines made in Vougeot too - albeit from a paltry 15 hectares compared to more than 50 hectares of the grand cru Clos Vougeot itself.  clos-vougeot-chateau.jpg

So, after noting the four premiers crus and the fact that tiny amounts of white are produced (by Domaine de la Vougeraie and Domaine Bertagna), let's focus on what everyone else does - the Clos Vougeot itself.

The walled vineyard is indeed the largest grand cru in the Cote de Nuits, although Corton and Corton-Charlemagne are both larger.  There are roughly 80 producers growing vines in the vineyard, from more than 100 separate plots.  Whilst most Burgundy lovers tend to analyse the worth of the wines as depending on where they come from - the top, middle or bottom of the vineyard - like most things, it isn't really quiet so simple.

The lowest section of the vineyard - running alongside the RN 74 - is certainly not really prime vineyard land, at least superficially.  Water tends to pool at the bottom after prolonged rainfall, and the soils are richer and heavier, thanks to the gradual erosion of topsoil from the upper levels.  Yet famed producers such as Leroy, Hudelot-Noellat, Faiveley, Grivot and Meo-Camuzet own vines in this lower section.  Granted, they also have other holdings higher up in the vineyard, but it illustrates there's more to making great Burgundy than 'location, location, location'.

The vineyard at the top lies next to Grands Echezeaux in the south and Musigny in the north, and also touches Echezeaux (En Orveaux).  The soils tends to have little clay here, composed mostly of limestone and pebbles.  Further down, marl becomes predominant (a mixture of clay and limestone).

clos-vougeot-vines.jpgClos Vougeot is certainly an intriguing vineyard, and its wines can provide great joy, and often much perplexity too.  With such a myriad of producer/vineyard location/vine age combinations, it is no wonder that there is little homogeneity amongst its wines.  As such, it is dangerous to generalise when describing their style.  Yet few would argue that the wines are usually firmly tannic, structured wines.  At their best (when ripe) they can be powerful, dark-fruited wines yet lack the spice and fragrance of many other great Burgundies.  They can age exceptionally well, and for longer than many.  

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