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Posts Tagged ‘Sylvain Cathiard’

En Orveaux, a tiny 1.79 hectare  Premier Cru climat of Vosne-Romanée, is one of the smallest vineyards of the appellation, producing a rare wine with a very intriguing story to boot.  The vineyard is situated in the northwest sector of the commune of Flagey-Echézeaux, adjacent to the border with Chambolle-Musigny.   

The entire En Orveaux lieu-dit actually comprises 6.83 hectares, but 5.04 hectares of En Orveaux was in 1937 incorporated into the Grand Cru Echézeaux. The remaining piece, which is about the same size as La Romanée-Conti, remains as Premier Cru Vosne-Romanée.  It is interesting to note that Lavalle’s prior classification ranked the entirety of En Orveaux as a  Première Cuvée, superior in quality even  to the two climats  of Echézeaux that are today judged to be the finest, Pouilaillères and Echézeaux du Dessus.

En Orveaux lies at an elevation of 280 meters with a northerly exposition, and the vines are planted in rows running north-south. The rocky soil is noticeably rich in clay but enjoys excellent drainage. Due to its altitude and northern exposure, the fruit is among the latest in Vosne to mature .

The finest example En Orveaux is produced by Sylvain Cathiard, who holds a .293 hectare parcel that was at one time classified as part of Echézeaux.

Wines from En Orveaux exhibit the unmistakable seductive allure of Premier Cru Vosne-Romanée, with perhaps less structure and power than Reignots or Malconsorts but with arguably greater refinement and elegance.

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          Aux Malconsorts is a 5.86-hectare Premier Cru climat that ranks among the very finest vineyards in Vosne-Romanée. Lying at the southern portion of the appellation, at the border with Nuits-St-Georges, Aux Malconsorts is superbly located just to the south of La Tâche and north of Les Boudots, the  remarkable Premier Cru  in Nuits.  The vineyard is divided by a north-south running vinicultual path, with disparate soil profiles in each half. Above the path the soil is lighter and sandier, whereas the soil below the path is richer, more ferruginous and  compact. The vineyard faces east from a elevation varying between 260 and 280 meters. Soil depth varies from as little as 10 centimeters to a generous one meter.

The etymology of  Aux Malconsorts derives not (alas) from an evil consort but rather from old French descriptors of the thorny brushwood that covered the plot before it was cleared in 1610 and converted into a vineyard.

Aux Malconsorts produces preeminent Premier Cru Vosne-Romanée of commanding presence, with firm, dense tannins, elegantly muscular and richly structured wines that can rival the best of this extraordinary appellation.

The reference-standard producer of Aux Malconsorts has for years been Domaine Sylvain Cathiard, whose .74-hectare parcel, with 35+ year old vines, consistently produces stellar wines. Since 2005, however, upon acquiring the vineyards of Thomas Moillard, Domaines Dujac (1.57 hectares) and de Montille (1.38 hectares) have joined Cathiard in setting the standard. In addition, Domaine de Montille’s holdings in Aux Malconsorts include a .48-hectare parcel (named Cuvée Christiane by Etienne de Montille in honor of his mother) that juts into La Tâche, where it seems geologically quite at home. Regardless of whether this parcel in fact once formed part of La Tâche, as many speculate, Cuvée Christiane exhibits distinctly different qualities from the remainder of  Aux Malconsorts.

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            Vosne-Romanée is a French wine appellation that produces some of the finest red Burgundy . Wine so labeled must come from vines planted in the commune of Vosne-Romanée (or the adjoining commune of Flagey-Echézeaux with which it is viticulturally joined) situated in the Côte de Nuits region of the Côte-d’Or department in Burgundy in eastern France.

Just as Burgundy supplies the benchmark against which all other Pinot Noir is judged, so does the commune of Vosne-Romanée manifest the apotheosis of Burgundy. While there are of course great vineyards found in other communes (one need only mention Musigny to make this point), Vosne-Romanée consistently provide the greatest proportion of the finest red Burgundy.

            According to tradition, local Gauls drafted by Caesar into the Roman army were later rewarded with the grant of vineyards in the area, known accordingly as “Romanée”. The village of Vosne, known as early as 639 A.D. as “Vaona,” was apparently derived from a latin word for forest. By the 9th century, much of Vosne belonged to a Cluniac priory named in honor of St. Vivant. By the 13th century, however, the vineyards came to be controlled by the Abbot of Cîteaux. In fact, the last Abbot of Cîteaux died in Vosne in 1797.

            The twinned communes of Vosne-Romanée and Flagey-Echézeaux are located east of the Route National (“RN”) 74, between Vougeot to the north and Nuits-Saint-Georges to the south. Out of a total 0f 230.06 hectares of vines in both communes, there are 74.68 hectares of Grands Crus: La Romanée-Conti (1.82 hectares), La Romanée (.85 hectare), La Tâche (6.10 hectares), Grands Echézeaux (9.14 hectares), La Grande Rue (1.65 hectares), Romanée St-Vivant (9.44 hectares) , Richebourg (8 hectares) , and Echézeaux (37.69 hectares).  There are also  56.61 of Premier Cru vineyards, including Les Beaux Monts (11.39 hectares), Aux Brûlées (4.53 hectares), Les Chaumes (6.46 hectares), Clos des Réas (2.12 hectares), La Croix Rameau (.60 hectare) Cros Parentoux (1.01 hectares), Au dessus des Malconsorts (1.08 hectares), Les Gaudichots (1.03 hectares),  Aux Malconsorts (5.86 hectares) , En Orveaux (1.79 hectares), Les Petits Monts (3.67 hectares),  Aux Reignots ((1.62 hectares), Les Rouges (2.62 hectares), and Les Suchots  (13.08 hectares).   There are also 98.77 hectares of village-level Vosne-Romanée

            The village-level vineyards are mainly found east of the town along the Route Nationale, although there are also a few uphill on the western boundary of the commune. The grands crus and premiers crus are situated in a central belt extending the length of the commune, west of the village. The soil is comprised mostly of clay-limestone mixture over a limestone base; the surface is covered with loose pebbles and decomposed limestone.  The exposition is east and southeast, at an elevation of between 220m and 340m.

            There are many fine producers in the appellation, but the most celebrated and expensive continues to be the historic Domaine de la Romanée-Conti. Although high  reputations are also still enjoyed by Domaines Leroy, Meo-Camuzet, and Jean Grivot, the consensus of critics today (Clive Coates, Allen Meadows, John Gilman, Jancis Robinson) seems to accord highest praise to Comte Liger-Belair and Sylvain Cathiard. Other noteworthy vignerons include Anne Gros and Gerard Mugneret.

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