53% of Burgundy's wines carry the “regionale”classification, 46% “Village premier cru”and just 1%“Grand cru”.Suffice it to say that Grands crusare both rare and valuable. Each of these wines combines excellence with ageing potential, complexity with sophistication. Each Grand cruis the purest expression of the unique character of the plot on which it is grown; only the name of the Climat (a term used for the terroirsof this region) is given on the label, rather than the name of the village (e.g. Corton, Montrachet, Romanée-Saint-Vivant, Clos de Tart, etc.).
There are nine Grands crusover 85 hectares in Gevrey-Chambertin, making it the village with the highest number of these classified wines in Burgundy. Chambertin and Clos de Bèze are some of the oldest Climats in the region. Chambertin was known to be the favourite wine of Napoleon himself! Thanks to this historical reputation, Chambertin joined the seven other Grands crusfrom the surrounding area after its classification in July 1937.
Morey-Saint-Denis is home to five Grands crus. Clos de Tart (a monopole, or area controlled by a single winery), classified as a Grand cru in 1939, was established in 1141 by the Cistercians of Tart. There have been only four other owners since this date. Clos Saint-Denis, established in the 11th century by the Canons of Vergy was classified in 1936. Clos de la Roche was classified in 1936 too, while Clos des Lambrays was classified as a Grand cru much later, in 1981. Bonnes-Mares, whose vineyards are mostly found in the township of Chambolle-Musigny, was classified in 1936.
Chambolle Musigny, located at the heart of the Côte de Nuits, is home to two Grand crus. Musigny can be found above the Clos de Vougeot between the Premiers crusLes Amoureuses and Les Échezeaux, almost 280 metres above sea level. Musigny’s southern section extends slightly upwards toward the Combe d’Orveau, up to the border it shares with Flagey-Échezeaux. The name Chambolle-Musigny comes from a family in Musigny that no longer exists but once held an important office at the court of the dukes of Burgundy in the 14th century. The borders of Musigny were established on 16 April 1929 before the AOC classification was created. Musigny has always been classified as a Grand cru. Bonnes-Mares, whose a small portion is also harvested in the township of Morey-Saint-Denis, was classified in 1936.
At the heart of Côte de Nuits, the Clos de Vougeot stretches across a large section of the township of Vougeot. The Musigny and Grands-Échezeaux vineyards cover the slope of the hill, just above the clos. Founded in 1110 by the nearby Abbey of Cîteaux, which maintained ownership of the vineyard until 1789, the Clos of Vougeot has become an icon of Burgundy. Comprising a single plot of over 50 hectares, this clos remains within the walls that were built around it five centuries ago. Its wine is one of the most distinguished of all the red Grand crus. It received AOC Grand cru certification on 31 July 1937 and is the only one of its kind in the township. With its cellar and winery, complete with a giant wine press (dating back to between the 12th and 14th centuries), the castle evokes Burgundy during the Renaissance period. It is open to visitors and an international society of Burgundy wine enthusiasts known as the Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin holds its chapter dinners here, serving some of the finest food and wine in all of France.
This township, with its village situated on the plains on the other side of the D974 motorway, is surrounded by the Clos de Vougeot, with the Musigny vineyards to the north and the Grands crus of Vosne-Romanée to the south, providing an interesting backdrop for these two Grands crus. The Echezaux and Grand Echezaux vineyards are separated by the foot of the combe d’Orveau. These Climats were originally established by the Cîteaux Abbey from the 12th and 13th centuries onwards.
This village is home to six of Burgundy’s most prestigious Grand crus. The municipal territory is made up almost entirely of vineyards. The most famous, of course, is the Romanée-Conti, the most universally coveted of wines (which has always been a monopole). It owes its name to the Prince of Conti. Nearby Richebourg and Romanée are also firm favourites of connoisseurs. Romanée-Saint-Vivant was originally established by the Hautes-Côtes monastery located in Curtil-Vergy. Its vendangeoir, where the grapes are taken to be pressed, is well conserved at the heart of Vosne-Romanée and evokes the vineyard’s monastic heritage.