Article - RareWine Academy

Vougeot - A Unique Burgundy Commune Dominated By One Single Grand Cru Vineyard

Vougeot is among the most interesting winemaking communes in Burgundy, and this is particularly due to the famous Clos de Vougeot. Find out why in this article.

The Big Five In Burgundy

Burgundy is home to some of the world's very best wine producers. Burgundy is magical. And Burgundy is complex. To get a better overview of Burgundy and the very best red wines from here, you need to zoom in. The entire Burgundy region measures 230 kilometres from Chablis in the north to Macon in the south. Focusing on the Côte d'Or – the golden slope – the size is reduced to 65 kilometres.

On the golden slope, the northern Côte de Nuits occupies 25 kilometres of the 230 kilometres, and these can be further reduced to a stretch of just 10 kilometres, where the best appellations are situated. Their location is perfect, even if the area is extremely minimal. Wines from here therefore come in very high quality and extremely limited quantities.

This series of articles focuses on the five main appellations: Gevrey-Chambertin, Morey-Saint-Denis, Chambolle-Musigny, Vougeot and Vosne-Romanée. Soil and exposure are highlighted, and the main Grand Cru and Premier Cru vineyards are highlighted.


Vougeot is a very unique commune, which is almost entirely covered by one single Grand Cru vineyard; Clos de Vougeot of approximately 50 hectares. In addition, there are 12 hectares of Premier Cru vineyards and a small part of Village. The Vougeot appellation differs significantly from the other communes in Burgundy by being dominated by only a single Grand Cru, and with smaller proportions of Premier Cru and Village. The size of this Grand Cru also means that there is a perpetual debate as to whether all 50 hectares should be entitled to their classification.

The commune is located between Chambolle-Musigny to the north and Flagey-Echezeaux to the south. The great Grand Cru Clos de Vougeot is at the bottom of the slope with a tip of the Grand Cru Musigny and Echezeaux vineyards above.

From the road at Musigny, there is a beautiful view down to the few Premier Cru vineyards. The Premier Cru vineyard Les Petits Vougeot is just behind the Château du Clos de Vougeot and directly below the Grand Cru vineyard Musigny. The few Village Appellation vineyards are on the border of the village of Vougeot, which is at the bottom of the slope towards the main road. On the other side of the village, there are no more vineyards.

The Great Grand Cru Clos De Vougeot

Diversity is probably the best word for the iconic Clos de Vougeot. It is framed by stone walls, which in Burgundy is called "clos". The vineyard itself is home to two iconic châteaux, both Château du Clos de Vougeot and Château de la Tour, the last of which is also a major producer with a whopping 5.48 hectares of the best-placed parcels centrally located in the vineyard.

Château du Clos de Vougeot is used for many celebrations, and the annual dinner before the Hospice de Beaune auction is particularly legendary. This auction is a favourite in Burgundy, as the price level at this auction gives an indication of how much the vintage wines will cost. The proceeds from the sale of the wines at the Hospice de Beaune auction go to a new charity each year.

The Clos de Vougeot extends from the top of the slope at the border of Grands Echezeaux and the tip of Musigny down to the main road. The soil of Clos de Vougeot is very diverse, and the main difference is the ability of the vineyard to drain water. This creates a relatively large difference depending on whether the vintage is dry or wet. In dry years, the lower part of the vineyard has an advantage and vice versa.

Therefore, all 50 hectares of the vineyard are classified as Grand Cru, although the validity of this classification is often questioned. Some would argue that only the upper part deserves Grand Cru, while the lower part should be nothing more than Village. This is regularly disproved when one of the producers on the lower part delivers a Clos de Vougeot of top quality.

A Wide Range Of Landowners

More than anywhere else, the producer is the deciding factor when it comes to the wines of Burgundy, and this is particularly evident at Clos de Vougeot. Looking at the ownership of the various parcels, famous names like Roumier, Coquard Loison-Fleurot and not least Leroy can be seen on the lower part of the vineyard.

At Clos de Vougeot, Château de la Tour is the largest landowner with 5.48 hectares, followed by Méo-Camuzet with 3.03 hectares. Château de la Tour makes classic Clos de Vougeot wine, and they have an advantage with their large ownership of the central good part of the vineyard. In addition, they own smaller parcels elsewhere in the vineyard, which add complexity to their wine.

With up to 80 owners of Clos de Vougeot, many different producers can put a Clos de Vougeot on the market. Over the years, the vineyard has been vilified and undervalued, due to less solid releases from individual producers.

In recent years, however, Clos de Vougeot has regained its recognition, as the best producers have great releases from here. These include producers such as Mugneret-Gibourg, Arnoux-Lachaux, Anne Gros, Vougeraie and not least Domaine Leroy.


Premier Cru In Vougeot

Vougeot is a commune that has both Premier Cru for white wine and red wine at a very high level. In total, four vineyards have this classification spread over 12 hectares, of which Les Petits Vougeot and Le Clos Blanc are the most famous and both are unfolded below.

Les Petits Vougeot

Les Petit Vougeot is located just below Musigny Grand Cru and neighbouring Les Amoureuses in the commune of Chambolle-Musigny. For the same reason, the style can easily be more similar to Chambolle-Musigny than Vougeot. Les Petits Vougeot measures 3.49 hectares in total. It is a small gem, which with its limestone soil can produce really nice wines. The largest owner is Domaine Bertagna with 1.25 hectares, which also has some green grapes on the lower part of the vineyard, so they can produce smaller quantities of white wine. The two nicest versions come from Domaine Fourrier and Hudelot-Noëllat.

Le Clos Blanc

Le Clos Blanc is a white wine vineyard in the middle of the sacred Côte de Nuits, where almost only great red wines are mentioned. This vineyard has historically always produced white wine - in the old days for the monks who lived at Château de Clos de Vougeot across the road - today, thankfully, for everyone. All 2.29 hectares are owned by Domaine de la Vougeraie, which produces a rare white wine from this part of Burgundy.

The Future Looks Good In Vougeot

In many ways, it seems that a commune like Vougeot will benefit from the increasing demand for the best wines of Burgundy. A large Grand Cru vineyard like Clos des Vougeot has been an easy source of cheap Grand Cru on the market, and it is now changing its image. Willingness to pay for great wines from great terroirs is steadily increasing. This means that more producers are turning up their ambitions from Clos de Vougeot, creating Grand Cru that will probably live up to its classification even better in the long run, and thus increase in both reputation and price.

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