Clos de Vougeot: Three Decades of Grand Cru Burgundy

One of Burgundy's Grand Cru vineyards, Clos de Vougeot is a little over 50 hectares of Pinot Noir shared by 70 to 80 owners. You'd think all of these different personalities working within the confines of a (five-centuries-old) walled space would make for some chaos, no? I haven't seen a soap opera called As Clos de Vougeot Turns, but when it comes to personality in the bottle, you'll find a wide range of expressive results from this vineyard.

Maybe toiling in close proximity to an impressive château acts as a calming, reverential salve? "Serenity now."

chateau clos vougeot

Continuing my sponsored media trip to attend Les Grands Jours de Bourgogne, I descended (lightly) upon the Château du Clos de Vougeot to taste Pinot Noir from the 2000s, 1990s, and 1980s. What was surprising and instructive was trying diffferent producers' Clos de Vougeot from identical vintages. Though all pulling fruit from the same vineyard, the wines were all quite different in the glass. This is where style of the winemaker and location of vines within Clos de Vougeot comes into play.

clos vougeot chateau sign

I'll admit to sometimes assuming a wine is going to register as old on the palate because of its vintage, but tasting always belies preconceived notions—like discovering a 1999 Clos de Vougeot that had the tannins of a youthful wine, or a bottle from 1987 that displayed remarkable freshness for closing-in on its 30th birthday.

Nothing like equal parts surprise and history poured into a glass. It's an allure captivatingly expressed in wine, and one that has very few equals to Pinot Noir in Burgundy.

chateau clos vougeot statue

Clos de Vougeot Wines Tasted:

2003 Domaine Anne Gros

2003 Domaine Daniel Rion et Fils

2003 Domaine Arnoux-Lachaux

2002 Domaine Gérard Raphet

2002 Domaine Armelle et Bernard Rion

2002 Domaine Jacques Prieur

2001 Domaine J. Grivot

2000 Michel Gros

2000 Domaine Mugneret-Gibourg

clos vougeot bottles

1999 Maison Albert Bichot (mentioned)

1999 Château de la Tour

1999 Domaine Bourchard Pére et Fils

1999 Domaine R. Dubois et Fils

1999 Maison Joseph Drouhin

1998 Domaine Faiveley

1996 Domain Méo-Camuzet

1993 Domaine Confuron-Cotetidot

1987 Domaine Gros Frére et Sour (mentioned)

Note: Visitng Clos de Vougeot means never having to be far from more Grand Cru vineyards.

grand cru sign burgundy