Pommard officially applies for Grand Cru Status...

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Pommard officially applies for Grand Cru Status...

#1 Post by Andrew Nielsen » August 19th, 2011, 6:44 am

For Les Rugiens and Les Epenots. From http://www.bienpublic.com/actualite/201 ... rands-crus (in french).

I had heard talk about this before and about Volnay too but I thought they would not pursue that route as they would lose the ability to have Pommard on the label.

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Re: Pommard officially applies for Grand Cru Status...

#2 Post by dcornutt » August 19th, 2011, 7:07 am

I am not the most knowledgable here but I would vote against this if I was part of the AOC regulating body. So many more deserve this. Both are very nice terroirs but not Grand Cru. I am sure they will make a historical argument here which might gain acceptance. FWIW. (BTW, you could make the same argument for Les St Georges in Nuits)
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Re: Pommard officially applies for Grand Cru Status...

#3 Post by Ian Dorin » August 19th, 2011, 7:27 am

dcornutt wrote:I am not the most knowledgable here but I would vote against this if I was part of the AOC regulating body. So many more deserve this. Both are very nice terroirs but not Grand Cru. I am sure they will make a historical argument here which might gain acceptance. FWIW. (BTW, you could make the same argument for Les St Georges in Nuits)
Says who? Sounded like a smart statement to me!

Would stand to reason that Clos Epeneaux is more worthy than these 2, although, amongst non-monopole, these are 2 of the best.
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Re: Pommard officially applies for Grand Cru Status...

#4 Post by Berry Crawford » August 19th, 2011, 7:51 am

dcornutt wrote:Both are very nice terroirs but not Grand Cru.
I can't speak generally because I don't drink alot of Pommard but a recent 2008 Voillot Les Rugiens was easily grand cru status. A wonderful and emotionally thrilling wine in the elegant and beautful style. Epenots can blow my mind too.

That said, from a selfish point of view, I hope it doesnt happen.

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Re: Pommard officially applies for Grand Cru Status...

#5 Post by Claude Kolm » August 19th, 2011, 8:07 am

Ian -- Clos des Epeneaux is an Epenots.

I've been to more than a few blind tastings of older grands crus and top premiers crus where Rugiens was the class of the field. And some of the best Rugiens today would fall about the middle of the grand cru hierarcy. I think it is definitely worthy of promotion. For Epenots, the case is not as strong, but still worth considering.

However, be careful what you ask for. When I questioned one owner of Gevrey-Chambertin Les Combottes about whether he thought it deserved promotion to grand cru, he said he'd rather have it as a top premier cru than a lower rung grand cru. I think he's right on that.

Andrew -- re losing the name Pommard, my friends in the trade tell me it is actually a drag as many customers refuse to consider anything from Pommard. That's not the case for Volnay and thus could provide a reason why Volnay will not follow.

Add on edit: Another reason why Volnay may not follow is that the wines already fetch high prices vis-a-vis their peers. That is not really the case for Pommard and Nuits-Saint-Georges, and so possibly the perception of the producers in both those latter towns that they need a grand cru locomotive to raise the profile and pull the rest of the wines along.
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Re: Pommard officially applies for Grand Cru Status...

#6 Post by JKim » August 19th, 2011, 8:42 am

I am against Pommard becoming a Grand Cru. Not because they are undeserving, but because the pricing will undoubtedly increase with the change in their status. I like buying Rugiens and Epenots for under a bill.
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Re: Pommard officially applies for Grand Cru Status...

#7 Post by Claude Kolm » August 19th, 2011, 8:57 am

JKim wrote:I am against Pommard becoming a Grand Cru. Not because they are undeserving, but because the pricing will undoubtedly increase with the change in their status.
That's clearly the thought, although there are some that are becoming quite expensive already and they may not be able to raise their prices all that much. Clos des Epeneaux is about $120 here and I received an offer for a Rugiens at $150 today; is anyone going to pay $225-250 for them just because they're grand cru? I don't think so.

At any rate, as with Les Saint-Georges, this is just the beginning of a long process and there will not be a decision for many years.
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Re: Pommard officially applies for Grand Cru Status...

#8 Post by Ian Dorin » August 19th, 2011, 9:12 am

Claude Kolm wrote:Ian -- Clos des Epeneaux is an Epenots.
So does that mean the name would change and they would lose their monopole status???
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Re: Pommard officially applies for Grand Cru Status...

#9 Post by paul clark » August 19th, 2011, 9:16 am

dcornutt wrote:I am not the most knowledgable here but I would vote against this if I was part of the AOC regulating body. So many more deserve this. Both are very nice terroirs but not Grand Cru. I am sure they will make a historical argument here which might gain acceptance. FWIW. (BTW, you could make the same argument for Les St Georges in Nuits)
Apparently Thibault Liger-Belair does make the same argument. But he is the biggest land holder in Les St Georges...

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Re: Pommard officially applies for Grand Cru Status...

#10 Post by Claude Kolm » August 19th, 2011, 9:17 am

Ian Dorin wrote:
Claude Kolm wrote:Ian -- Clos des Epeneaux is an Epenots.
So does that mean the name would change and they would lose their monopole status???
It is a climat in Epenots. So it is, and would remain, a monopole in the same sense that Rousseau's Clos des Ruchottes is a monopole that is part of Ruchottes-Chambertin.
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Re: Pommard officially applies for Grand Cru Status...

#11 Post by L e o F r o k i c » August 19th, 2011, 9:19 am

Rugiens was always my favorite Pommard but there's a big difference btw Bas and Hauts, Bas being the finer and deserving of a Grand Cru status.
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Re: Pommard officially applies for Grand Cru Status...

#12 Post by Claude Kolm » August 19th, 2011, 9:29 am

L e o F r o k i c wrote:Rugiens was always my favorite Pommard but there's a big difference btw Bas and Hauts, Bas being the finer and deserving of a Grand Cru status.
Leo -- Yours is the standard commentary, yet there is almost universal agreement that clearly the best Rugiens being produced today is from de Courcel, wich is from the upper part, on white soils. I asked Yves Confuron, who makes the wines at de Courcel, about this and his explanation is that because the upper part is steeper and more difficult to work, it was largely unplanted for a long time and so its potential was not really known. I don't know what historical evidence there is to support his explanation, but it sounds logical. Anyway, de Courcel's Rugiens disproves the old saw in my view, and indeed when one goes around and asks the other producers where their holdings are, I submit that you don't find any real pattern that allows the conclusion that the lower part is better.
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Re: Pommard officially applies for Grand Cru Status...

#13 Post by paul clark » August 19th, 2011, 9:37 am

L e o F r o k i c wrote:Rugiens was always my favorite Pommard but there's a big difference btw Bas and Hauts, Bas being the finer and deserving of a Grand Cru status.
Who's your favorite producer en Bas?

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Re: Pommard officially applies for Grand Cru Status...

#14 Post by Brent C l a y t o n » August 19th, 2011, 9:42 am

Interesting thread, thanks for the contributions all! Funny, Courcel Rugiens was always my favorite Pommard. I would think Les St. Georges or or Chambolle Amoureuses might come first but I wonder how much the dearth of Grand Cru wines in the Cotes de Beaune might make it easier from a marketing standpoint. I can see how it might help from a marketing standpoint for Pommard. The Cotes de Nuits Grand Cru group is a crowded field already, would GC status for LSG or Amoureuses really make as big of an impact for those wines from a marketing standpoint?
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Re: Pommard officially applies for Grand Cru Status...

#15 Post by Claude Kolm » August 19th, 2011, 9:47 am

Brent C l a y t o n wrote:The Cotes de Nuits Grand Cru group is a crowded field already, would GC status for LSG or Amoureuses really make as big of an impact for those wines from a marketing standpoint?
Brent -- I would think it would for Nuits, as it has no grands cru, and so suffers in the eyes of many compared to Gevrey, Morey, Chambolle, Vougeot, Flagey, and Vosne, all of which have grands crus. I don't think it makes a difference for Amoureuses as these days the wines are priced like grands crus and Chambolle already has Musigny and Bonnes-Mares.
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Re: Pommard officially applies for Grand Cru Status...

#16 Post by G. Greenbaum » August 19th, 2011, 11:11 am

With all this talk of upgrading to GC, has there been any discussion of "cleaning up" existing GCs like Vougeot?
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Re: Pommard officially applies for Grand Cru Status...

#17 Post by Keith Levenberg » August 19th, 2011, 11:15 am

Well, setting aside our selfish interests as consumers, I think Rugiens together with Les St. Georges are the strongest candidates for upgrades in the Cote d'Or. Epenots I'm not sold on, although I guess it satisfies the test of comparing well against weaker grand crus. Rugiens and LSG can compare well against the best grand crus.

For me it's hard to pick a favorite Rugiens among Courcel, Montille, and Jadot. But I stopped buying Courcel when the price more than doubled. The Jadot Rugiens might be the single greatest value in Burgundy at the moment; I paid $40 for the 2008.

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Re: Pommard officially applies for Grand Cru Status...

#18 Post by dcornutt » August 19th, 2011, 11:15 am

G. Greenbaum wrote:With all this talk of upgrading to GC, has there been any discussion of "cleaning up" existing GCs like Vougeot?
Never happen I would bet. Just a hunch.
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Re: Pommard officially applies for Grand Cru Status...

#19 Post by Claude Kolm » August 19th, 2011, 11:20 am

dcornutt wrote:
G. Greenbaum wrote:With all this talk of upgrading to GC, has there been any discussion of "cleaning up" existing GCs like Vougeot?
Never happen I would bet. Just a hunch.
I agree with Don -- Clos Vougeot has an iconic nature for Burgundy that precludes any change. For some others, there can be and have been changes. For example, Echézeaux's boundaries change from time to time, and so Sylvain Cathiard's premier cru Vosne-En Orveaux was at one time classified as Echézeaux.
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Re: Pommard officially applies for Grand Cru Status...

#20 Post by Robert Thornton » August 19th, 2011, 11:24 am

I'm with Claude on three things:

1) Rugiens is worthy, maybe not Epenots though, as great as it is. But Rugiens is IMO at least as worthy as (and I'd argue more wothy than) people's favorite CdN vineyards like CSJ or Amoureuses.

2) It's probably better to be a top 1er than a lower level grand cru.

3) Even if it changes, it probably wouldn't have affected pricing that much. The best Rugiens are already priced above some grand crus. The quality of the vineyard is already priced in. Same goes with Volnay.

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Re: Pommard officially applies for Grand Cru Status...

#21 Post by Keith Levenberg » August 19th, 2011, 11:30 am

dcornutt wrote:
G. Greenbaum wrote:With all this talk of upgrading to GC, has there been any discussion of "cleaning up" existing GCs like Vougeot?
Never happen I would bet. Just a hunch.
Here's the thing about Clos Vougeot, though. It's easy to say the plots on the bottom are inferior and not grand cru quality. But they weren't traditionally sold on their own. They were sold as part of a blend of the entire vineyard (notwithstanding reports of the monks saving some juice from the choice sections to bottle for themselves). And as part of that blend they made up what was the most esteemed vineyard in Burgundy by many measures, surely worthy of being called grand cru. Because the ownership is fractured, we don't consider the possibility any longer that they might not be grand cru-quality on their own but still vital ingredients of a grand cru whole. But as long as that's still the case they ought to retain the classification. And if a talented producer wants to buy some plots from all over and blend them together in the fashion of the Clos Vougeot of yore, it would be ridiculous to say they could not call the result Grand Cru Clos Vougeot when it would be, in every sense, truer to the historic Grand Cru Clos Vougeot than any of the other bottlings out there.

I also wonder if the fuss about position on the hill might not be overstated. I know there is the issue of flooding on the very bottom, but the most remarkable thing you notice when you are actually standing in front of the vineyard is that the grade is so subtle it looks almost flat. Calling it a hill at all is a rather grandiose overstatement...

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Re: Pommard officially applies for Grand Cru Status...

#22 Post by Keith Levenberg » August 19th, 2011, 11:32 am

Robert Thornton wrote:Rugiens is worthy, maybe not Epenots though, as great as it is. But Rugiens is IMO at least as worthy as (and I'd argue more wothy than) people's favorite CdN vineyards like CSJ or Amoureuses.
I agree completely.

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Re: Pommard officially applies for Grand Cru Status...

#23 Post by Howard Cooper » August 19th, 2011, 12:09 pm

Robert Thornton wrote:I'm with Claude on three things:

1) Rugiens is worthy, maybe not Epenots though, as great as it is. But Rugiens is IMO at least as worthy as (and I'd argue more wothy than) people's favorite CdN vineyards like CSJ or Amoureuses.
Is Rugiens more worthy of an upgrade than a top Volnay?
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Re: Pommard officially applies for Grand Cru Status...

#24 Post by Stuart BeauneHead Niemtzow » August 19th, 2011, 1:51 pm

Keith Levenberg wrote:
dcornutt wrote:
G. Greenbaum wrote:With all this talk of upgrading to GC, has there been any discussion of "cleaning up" existing GCs like Vougeot?
Never happen I would bet. Just a hunch.
Here's the thing about Clos Vougeot, though. It's easy to say the plots on the bottom are inferior and not grand cru quality. But they weren't traditionally sold on their own. They were sold as part of a blend of the entire vineyard (notwithstanding reports of the monks saving some juice from the choice sections to bottle for themselves). And as part of that blend they made up what was the most esteemed vineyard in Burgundy by many measures, surely worthy of being called grand cru. Because the ownership is fractured, we don't consider the possibility any longer that they might not be grand cru-quality on their own but still vital ingredients of a grand cru whole. But as long as that's still the case they ought to retain the classification. And if a talented producer wants to buy some plots from all over and blend them together in the fashion of the Clos Vougeot of yore, it would be ridiculous to say they could not call the result Grand Cru Clos Vougeot when it would be, in every sense, truer to the historic Grand Cru Clos Vougeot than any of the other bottlings out there.

I also wonder if the fuss about position on the hill might not be overstated. I know there is the issue of flooding on the very bottom, but the most remarkable thing you notice when you are actually standing in front of the vineyard is that the grade is so subtle it looks almost flat. Calling it a hill at all is a rather grandiose overstatement...
Keith, I second your thoughts here, FWIW. In that evaluating that vineyard, we have to keep in mind many things (more so than the other grand crus). It was once an entire, walled vineyard. The AOC rates vineyards, not wines. As far as I can tell, all the land within the Clos Vougeot was inside the walls when the walls were first put there. Yes, some plots are more capable of making great wine than others; and some winemakers making CV are more capable of making great wine than others. I think in the AOC, deference has always been paid to the traditional boundaries of a vineyard. And, where they were walled and the site at issue was within the walls/ traditional site when it was one owner, they should be included. In every vineyard that is fractured, since the Revolution and its consequences, some plots are inferior and others superior. The "problem" is that in some cases: Echezaux, Clos de la Roche come to mind, the traditional boundaries expanded to include those not traditionally included in that great vineyard. But, the walls generally have been honored as boundaries in the grand crus. (I'm sure some parts of the DRC monopoles are inferior, too.) And, I buy your argument. As is the case almost everywhere in Burgundy, producer can trump vineyard plot...and in evaluating that the two can become confused. So, it is the areas the Cistercians picked out to wall...or to honor that the AOC has and, IMO, should honor. If the site was historically a component of a blended grand cru...it should remain. Otherwise, it is gerrymandering..in the political sense.

I sense, FWIW, that the Rugiens' accession is a long way off, if it ever comes. It would be extremly ironic to me to see Pommard's best be grand cru and there remain none in Nuits, and I have to think the AOC folks would struggle with that..and that the result might be the status quo. But, it will be interesting.

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Re: Pommard officially applies for Grand Cru Status...

#25 Post by G. Greenbaum » August 19th, 2011, 2:03 pm

Keith Levenberg wrote:
dcornutt wrote:
G. Greenbaum wrote:With all this talk of upgrading to GC, has there been any discussion of "cleaning up" existing GCs like Vougeot?
Never happen I would bet. Just a hunch.
Here's the thing about Clos Vougeot, though. It's easy to say the plots on the bottom are inferior and not grand cru quality. But they weren't traditionally sold on their own. They were sold as part of a blend of the entire vineyard (notwithstanding reports of the monks saving some juice from the choice sections to bottle for themselves). And as part of that blend they made up what was the most esteemed vineyard in Burgundy by many measures, surely worthy of being called grand cru. Because the ownership is fractured, we don't consider the possibility any longer that they might not be grand cru-quality on their own but still vital ingredients of a grand cru whole. But as long as that's still the case they ought to retain the classification. And if a talented producer wants to buy some plots from all over and blend them together in the fashion of the Clos Vougeot of yore, it would be ridiculous to say they could not call the result Grand Cru Clos Vougeot when it would be, in every sense, truer to the historic Grand Cru Clos Vougeot than any of the other bottlings out there.

I also wonder if the fuss about position on the hill might not be overstated. I know there is the issue of flooding on the very bottom, but the most remarkable thing you notice when you are actually standing in front of the vineyard is that the grade is so subtle it looks almost flat. Calling it a hill at all is a rather grandiose overstatement...
Cool stuff. Is anyone making this historic tradional blend these days? I wonder because if this is not the case, due to the selling off and inheritence of plots, perhaps this this helps to explain why there's so much inferrior Vougeot product.
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Re: Pommard officially applies for Grand Cru Status...

#26 Post by nedhoey » August 19th, 2011, 2:31 pm

How does this occur without being commercially and/or politically motivated? The vineyard has been there a long time. It didn't suddenly improve, or was the consensus on it's potential wrong for all this time? If the cru ratings are based on the vineyard's potential, what has changed? Is the idea that this corrects an oversight that lasted for decades? Getting into that could easily become a slippery slope. How this gets done without smelling funny, I don't know.

Over the next century it seems entirely possible that the climate crisis underway could truly alter Burgundy. However it doesn't seem we are quite there yet, at least not to point of being able to make reliable reassessments based on a new and clearly different track record. A move of this kind does not exactly inspire confidence in the integrity of the original AOC process or that the people involved with this change really, truly believe in the immutability of terroir.

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Re: Pommard officially applies for Grand Cru Status...

#27 Post by Claude Kolm » August 19th, 2011, 2:42 pm

nedhoey wrote:How does this occur without being commercially and/or politically motivated? The vineyard has been there a long time. It didn't suddenly improve, or was the consensus on it's potential wrong for all this time? If the cru ratings are based on the vineyard's potential, what has changed?
Ned -- People have talked of their promotion for decades and decades, it's not as though the quality has suddenly been perceived as higher than before. The application is indeed commercially and/or politically motivated, as in fact was the original decision not to apply.* Ditto for Clos des Lambrays, La Grande Rue, and the pending application for Les Saint-Georges, and the lack of applications for Amoureuses and Clos St-Jacques, for that matter.

Indeed, the whole concept of AOCs is commercially/politically motivated.
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* Back in the 1980s, I asked Virgile Pothier, who had plots in both Rugiens and Epenots, if he favored an application for grand cru status, and he replied that he did not because he could produce 40 hl/ha if it was premier cru and only 35 hl/ha if it was grand cru. That mentality may seem strange to you, but it still exists in some quarters of Burgundy today and was more prevalent in past times (in part because the price differential between premier cru and grand cru is much wider today than it was back then).

Henri Gouges's rationale for not seeking grand cru status for Les Saint-Georges is well known: he didn't want to seem to be elevating himself above those neighbors who didn't own any LSG.

The Comte de Moucheron, who at the time of the AOC's creation was the monopole owner of Clos St-Jacques, didn't seek grand cru status because he was opposed to the concept of AOCs.

Etc., etc.
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Re: Pommard officially applies for Grand Cru Status...

#28 Post by nedhoey » August 19th, 2011, 3:38 pm

Claude Kolm wrote:
nedhoey wrote:How does this occur without being commercially and/or politically motivated? The vineyard has been there a long time. It didn't suddenly improve, or was the consensus on it's potential wrong for all this time? If the cru ratings are based on the vineyard's potential, what has changed?
Ned -- People have talked of their promotion for decades and decades, it's not as though the quality has suddenly been perceived as higher than before. The application is indeed commercially and/or politically motivated, as in fact was the original decision not to apply.* Ditto for Clos des Lambrays, La Grande Rue, and the pending application for Les Saint-Georges, and the lack of applications for Amoureuses and Clos St-Jacques, for that matter.

Indeed, the whole concept of AOCs is commercially/politically motivated.
__________________
* Back in the 1980s, I asked Virgile Pothier, who had plots in both Rugiens and Epenots, if he favored an application for grand cru status, and he replied that he did not because he could produce 40 hl/ha if it was premier cru and only 35 hl/ha if it was grand cru. That mentality may seem strange to you, but it still exists in some quarters of Burgundy today and was more prevalent in past times (in part because the price differential between premier cru and grand cru is much wider today than it was back then).

Henri Gouges's rationale for not seeking grand cru status for Les Saint-Georges is well known: he didn't want to seem to be elevating himself above those neighbors who didn't own any LSG.

The Comte de Moucheron, who at the time of the AOC's creation was the monopole owner of Clos St-Jacques, didn't seek grand cru status because he was opposed to the concept of AOCs.

Etc., etc.
Claude,
I have been aware of "backroom" discussions regarding cru designations going on over the years but not the details so much. My point is to highlight the glaring inconsistency of what the AOC purports to be (location, location, location, terroir, terroir, terroir) for both actual wine "quality" and also marketing purposes, and these totally unrelated commercial and political considerations. Naturally, those contradictions have always existed to various degrees, but in the past, when transparency and media communication were much less and far slower, this kind of "inside baseball" stuff barely emerged from region. I guess I just get uncomfortable with the rather blatant nature of the "sausage making" going on with this when we're constantly told that in Burgundy, terroir is sacrosanct.

What did the Comte de Moucheron prefer or what exactly did he object to? The AOCs were instituted in the 30s right? How was it before? Weren't vineyards ranked before? The AOC set down numerous rules designed to insure integrity and consistency right?

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Re: Pommard officially applies for Grand Cru Status...

#29 Post by Howard Cooper » August 19th, 2011, 3:53 pm

I wonder if there hasn't been as much of a push for properties like Amoureuses and Clos St-Jacques because they like putting words like Musigny (as in Chambolle-Musigny) and Chambertin (Gevrey-Chambertin) on the label.
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Re: Pommard officially applies for Grand Cru Status...

#30 Post by Claude Kolm » August 19th, 2011, 4:13 pm

nedhoey wrote: What did the Comte de Moucheron prefer or what exactly did he object to? The AOCs were instituted in the 30s right? How was it before? Weren't vineyards ranked before? The AOC set down numerous rules designed to insure integrity and consistency right?
Ned -- If I've known in the past what the Comte de Moucheron's reasoning was, I've forgotten it. He wasn't the only one to object to the new system. I believe the head of Bouchard Aîné et Fils went to jail for disregarding the new system.

The AOCs began in 1936, following many years of lobbying, led by the likes of the Marquis d'Angerville in Volnay and Baron Le Roy of Château Fortia in Châteauneuf-du-Pape who were concerned that fraudulent wines were being sold under labels such as Volnay and Châteauneuf.

Prior to then, vineyards were ranked by writers such as Rodier and Lavalle, but they had no official standing. As far as I know, anyone could put "grand cru" on a bottle of Burgundy. After that, you only were supposed to be able to do it if your wine came from a designated grand cru vineyard and met other requirements, such as minimum natural alcohol. Curiously, though, although Clos des Lambrays was not recognized as a grand cru until 1981, "grand cru" always appeared on the labels before then and the INAO took no action to stop it.

There's a lot of interesting stuff that I might research starting next year when I have more time.
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Re: Pommard officially applies for Grand Cru Status...

#31 Post by Keith Levenberg » August 19th, 2011, 4:17 pm

G. Greenbaum wrote:Cool stuff. Is anyone making this historic tradional blend these days? I wonder because if this is not the case, due to the selling off and inheritence of plots, perhaps this this helps to explain why there's so much inferrior Vougeot product.
There are definitely some producers who have holdings in different parts of the vineyard (as you can see from the map in Matt Kramer's book and one of the more recent ones as well - Jasper Morris's?), but it certainly doesn't appear that any of them cover nearly enough ground for their wines to approximate what you'd get from the vineyard as originally constituted.

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Re: Pommard officially applies for Grand Cru Status...

#32 Post by Robert Thornton » August 19th, 2011, 8:22 pm

Howard Cooper wrote:
Is Rugiens more worthy of an upgrade than a top Volnay?
I'm a Volnay guy through and through, and I can certainly see someone arguing for Caillerets or maybe Clos des Ducs, but yes, I think Rugiens is more worthy. Given my tastes, I'd often rather drink the Volnay, but a great Rugiens is pretty serious stuff.

The thing is, while Burgundy certainly isn't about weight, in a grand cru I expect a certain amount of midpalate density, depth of fruit, and the like. As beautiful as a great Clos St. Jacques can be, you can see how it's lacking compared with a great Chambertin, it just doesn't have as much depth. Volnay Caillerets is one of my favorite vineyards, but as much as I love the unique combination of elegance and minerality, I'm not sure it has grand cru depth. I don't think of that as a fault, I love 1ers, and absolutely love that vineyard. But a serious Rugiens is a very deep wine. Even a Volnay guy like me is usually impressed.

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Re: Pommard officially applies for Grand Cru Status...

#33 Post by Berry Crawford » August 19th, 2011, 8:39 pm

Robert Thornton wrote:while Burgundy certainly isn't about weight, in a grand cru I expect a certain amount of midpalate density, depth of fruit, and the like....As beautiful as a great Clos St. Jacques can be, you can see how it's lacking compared with a great Chambertin, it just doesn't have as much depth.
What do you mean by 'lacking'? Do you mean lacking in terms of quality or simply lacking in terms of weight with no value judgement attached?

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Re: Pommard officially applies for Grand Cru Status...

#34 Post by Fred Daniels » August 19th, 2011, 8:43 pm

Howard Cooper wrote:I wonder if there hasn't been as much of a push for properties like Amoureuses and Clos St-Jacques because they like putting words like Musigny (as in Chambolle-Musigny) and Chambertin (Gevrey-Chambertin) on the label.
Mr. Cooper is on to something. So if Rugiens becomes a Grand Cru, it will be called "Rugiens" and if the village appends the grand cru name, village wines will be known as "Pommard-Rugiens", right? [popcorn.gif]
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Re: Pommard officially applies for Grand Cru Status...

#35 Post by Stuart BeauneHead Niemtzow » August 20th, 2011, 6:27 am

Berry Crawford wrote:
Robert Thornton wrote:while Burgundy certainly isn't about weight, in a grand cru I expect a certain amount of midpalate density, depth of fruit, and the like....As beautiful as a great Clos St. Jacques can be, you can see how it's lacking compared with a great Chambertin, it just doesn't have as much depth.
I've never been convinced...even temporarily...that CSJ is not as Robert describes. In most cases, I don't think it has as much depth and class as a good Mazis, in fact.

It is important to keep the distinction between the vineyard/land/terroir and the producer. Because Rousseau makes a CSJ that many feel is "grand cru" level: I don't; I think it is mainly because of all the new oak (and that their Mazy is inherently a more complete wine) and the way Charles Rousseau extolled it...it is important not to extrapolate.

That's why the traditional views...when the vineyards were all owned by one entity...and,t herefore, the producer was not as big of a variable, hold great sway...and should.

I'm also not sure that most people are saying much of anything when they call a particular wine "of grand cru quality"...other than that they're impressed with that wine. When I read that, it tells me almost nothing more. And, I try not to use it, as I don't know that I am saying anything meaningful about the vineyard...or the wine. Again, sounding like a skeptic, I doubt anyone posting here... or doing a tasting journal "professionally"....really have enough information to be able to offer credible opinions on vineyard upgrades/downgrades. There's a lot more than tasting bottles from more recent vintages, from selected producers. I know I certainly have no such qualification....and, other than from reading Jasper Morris' book, maybe...have no faith in any other writer's opinions on that subject: for the most part their information/focus is too restricted...of necessity or choice.

Of course, there are politics involved in classification....even in those cases where some vineyard deserved higher status, but the owner thwarted it...for real...or apocryphal....reasons. Politics is what such choices are about, by definition.
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Re: Pommard officially applies for Grand Cru Status...

#36 Post by L e o F r o k i c » August 20th, 2011, 6:36 am

Claude Kolm wrote:
L e o F r o k i c wrote:Rugiens was always my favorite Pommard but there's a big difference btw Bas and Hauts, Bas being the finer and deserving of a Grand Cru status.
Leo -- Yours is the standard commentary, yet there is almost universal agreement that clearly the best Rugiens being produced today is from de Courcel, wich is from the upper part, on white soils. I asked Yves Confuron, who makes the wines at de Courcel, about this and his explanation is that because the upper part is steeper and more difficult to work, it was largely unplanted for a long time and so its potential was not really known. I don't know what historical evidence there is to support his explanation, but it sounds logical. Anyway, de Courcel's Rugiens disproves the old saw in my view, and indeed when one goes around and asks the other producers where their holdings are, I submit that you don't find any real pattern that allows the conclusion that the lower part is better.
Aren't some parts on Hauts classified as Village Pommard?
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Re: Pommard officially applies for Grand Cru Status...

#37 Post by Claude Kolm » August 20th, 2011, 11:16 am

L e o F r o k i c wrote:
Claude Kolm wrote:
L e o F r o k i c wrote:Rugiens was always my favorite Pommard but there's a big difference btw Bas and Hauts, Bas being the finer and deserving of a Grand Cru status.
Leo -- Yours is the standard commentary, yet there is almost universal agreement that clearly the best Rugiens being produced today is from de Courcel, wich is from the upper part, on white soils. I asked Yves Confuron, who makes the wines at de Courcel, about this and his explanation is that because the upper part is steeper and more difficult to work, it was largely unplanted for a long time and so its potential was not really known. I don't know what historical evidence there is to support his explanation, but it sounds logical. Anyway, de Courcel's Rugiens disproves the old saw in my view, and indeed when one goes around and asks the other producers where their holdings are, I submit that you don't find any real pattern that allows the conclusion that the lower part is better.
Aren't some parts on Hauts classified as Village Pommard?
A small part. So how's that relevant? What about Monts Luisants, part of which is Clos de la Roche, part of which is Morey village? Or Combe d'Orveaux, part of which is Chambolle village, part of which is Musigny? Do you think Musigny and Clos de la Roche that come from Combe d' Orveaux or Monts Luisants, respectively, are tainted because another part of the climat is village? Or is it possible that people knew what they were doing when they drew the boundaries?
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Re: Pommard officially applies for Grand Cru Status...

#38 Post by Mark Golodetz » August 21st, 2011, 8:33 am

Robert Thornton wrote:I'm with Claude on three things:

Rugiens is worthy, maybe not Epenots though, as great as it is. But Rugiens is IMO at least as worthy as (and I'd argue more wothy than) people's favorite CdN vineyards like CSJ or Amoureuses.


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Robert, I really find it hard to believe that you really think Rugiens is better than Amoureuses and CSJ. Decent wine, top premier cru, but nowhere near the quality of Amoureuses, which would be in my top half of Grand Crus, and CSJ which would probably be in the middle. That is not to say Rugiens is not capable of making an excellent wine, but something really as profound as the other two, never had, and doubt whether I ever will.
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Re: Pommard officially applies for Grand Cru Status...

#39 Post by Berry Crawford » August 21st, 2011, 8:38 am

Mark Golodetz wrote:
Robert Thornton wrote:I'm with Claude on three things:

Rugiens is worthy, maybe not Epenots though, as great as it is. But Rugiens is IMO at least as worthy as (and I'd argue more wothy than) people's favorite CdN vineyards like CSJ or Amoureuses.


Cheers,
-Robert

Robert, I really find it hard to believe that you really think Rugiens is better than Amoureuses and CSJ. Decent wine, top premier cru, but nowhere near the quality of Amoureuses, which would be in my top half of Grand Crus, and CSJ which would probably be in the middle. That is not to say Rugiens is not capable of making an excellent wine, but something really as profound as the other two, never had, and doubt whether I ever will.
I havnt had nearly as much Rugiens and Amoureues as I have had CSJ but I think I'd agree with him (that they are about equal, not that Rugiens is better). Of course we all have our subconcious biases so it would interesting to test this with blind tasting.

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Re: Pommard officially applies for Grand Cru Status...

#40 Post by Steve Nordhoff » August 21st, 2011, 10:45 am

According to Jasper Morris' book, the Comte de Moucheron, who owned all of CSJ at the time, was not too interested in the AOC concept, had lots of other business interests and was a flamboyant spender, but not very popular with his fellow vineyard owners. When the meeting came to vote on the PC v. GC designatons, he was outside smoking. Since he was not present, no one nominated CSJ for GC status, despite the fact many apparently thought it deserved such. Several years thereafter the Comte was forced to sell and the five families who own it now (Rousseau, Jadot, Fourrier, Esmonin and Clair) got together quietly and bought equal sized blocks that run from top to bottom, in theory making the quality of each parcel equal.
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Re: Pommard officially applies for Grand Cru Status...

#41 Post by dcornutt » August 21st, 2011, 11:01 am

Re: Clos St Jacques

Actually there were only 4 who bought it originally in the 1950's Steve from the Comte. Rousseau(2.2ha), Fourrier(1 ha), Esmonin (1.6ha) and the Clair-Dau family(2ha).
Later the Clair-Dau segment was split 1ha each by Jadot and Bruno Clair. I have been in the parking lot of the house which I assume must have belonged to the Comte.
The front of the home faces the vineyard across a wall. (The owner of the home now is a friend of Monsieur Gagey.) It is a wonderful place to see the vineyard. A truly wonderful plot of land.

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Re: Pommard officially applies for Grand Cru Status...

#42 Post by Keith Levenberg » August 21st, 2011, 11:10 am

The reason I heard (I think from Brooklynguy's interview of Jean-Marie Fourrier) for why all the CSJ parcels run the whole length from top-to-bottom is that parcels were typically sold by the ouvrees, and it just so happened that each row of CSJ is almost exactly one ouvre (ouvree?), so they just sold them by the row. I've never before heard that it had anything to do with collusion amongst the purchasers.

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Re: Pommard officially applies for Grand Cru Status...

#43 Post by Steve Nordhoff » August 21st, 2011, 11:23 am

Don and Keith,

You both know much more than I do, I was just passing along Morris' thoughts. Thanks for the addtional info Don as I was under the impression the parcels not only ran from top to bottom, but were also of equal size, which is not so.
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Re: Pommard officially applies for Grand Cru Status...

#44 Post by Berry Crawford » August 21st, 2011, 11:26 am

dcornutt wrote:Re: Clos St Jacques

Actually there were only 4 who bought it originally in the 1950's Steve from the Comte. Rousseau(2.2ha), Fourrier(1 ha), Esmonin (1.6ha) and the Clair-Dau family(2ha).
Later the Clair-Dau segment was split 1ha each by Jadot and Bruno Clair. I have been in the parking lot of the house which I assume must have belonged to the Comte.
The front of the home faces the vineyard across a wall. (The owner of the home now is a friend of Monsieur Gagey.) It is a wonderful place to see the vineyard. A truly wonderful plot of land.

Cheers.
Hey Don,

What is your source for this info? (not that I don't beleive it, Im just constantly on the prowl for good Burgundy history sources)

Thanks

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Re: Pommard officially applies for Grand Cru Status...

#45 Post by Frank Murray III » August 21st, 2011, 12:31 pm

Since we are talking CSJ, the Jadot seems to be more fairly priced as compared to the other producers. Does Jadot do a good job with this climat?
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Re: Pommard officially applies for Grand Cru Status...

#46 Post by Berry Crawford » August 21st, 2011, 12:35 pm

Frank Murray III wrote:Since we are talking CSJ, the Jadot seems to be more fairly priced as compared to the other producers. Does Jadot do a good job with this climat?
Yes.

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Re: Pommard officially applies for Grand Cru Status...

#47 Post by dcornutt » August 21st, 2011, 12:41 pm

Berry,

This actually was pulled from the wiki which is pretty accurate I think. That is pretty amazing to tell you the truth. Their information is a distillation of Clive's two books and Jasper's new book. I knew that Clair-Dau had a huge part of the original split with Esmonin(who bought the 1.6ha that had been in metayage with the Comte for some time) and Rousseau. Fourrier got 1ha which was the smallest parcel. Anyway, I don't think there was any collusion here. More of a grand bargain. The parcels were all different sizes.

The row length in Clos St Jacques is pretty uniform however. It does run top to bottom. They have little bows and markers on some of the vines. Not sure all of the rows owned by different folks are contiguous too. That is information that you might find difficult to obtain.
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Re: Pommard officially applies for Grand Cru Status...

#48 Post by Berry Crawford » August 21st, 2011, 12:44 pm

Thanks Don.

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Re: Pommard officially applies for Grand Cru Status...

#49 Post by dcornutt » August 21st, 2011, 12:55 pm

Berry,
You are welcome.
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Re: Pommard officially applies for Grand Cru Status...

#50 Post by Stuart BeauneHead Niemtzow » August 21st, 2011, 2:28 pm

Though I read the same think in Morris, I am a little skeptical of some of the apocryphal stuff floating around in Burgundy lore...particularly as to the vineyards that didn't get knighted "grand cru" in the original AOC in the thirties. They usually evolve around famous personalities....like d'Angerville or Gouges or Moucheron. At least in the case of the first two..and others....I sort of can't believe that grand cru status was thwarted by the noblesse of a few owners....at the expense of many others...if the vineyards were really otherwise heading for grand cru ranking. It, again, reminds me of the need to keep the issue of winemakers/producers and vineyard sites as separate concepts...which is what I think the AOC tries its best to do, valuing the historical esteem more than the exitsting status of the particular vineyards. (Which is why I think Cros Parantoux will never make it...because of the chicken and egg issues and its history.)

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