Just north of the mighty Clos de la Maréchale we find another monopole with a long and interesting history – the Clos de l’Arlot … the vineyard that surrounds the beautiful estate buildings of Domaine de l’Arlot.
Clos de l’Arlot is a Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er cru, although it’s located in Premeaux, and it also produces both red and white wines … of very high quality.
So let’s take another trip to the southern end of Premeaux.
Clos de l’Arlot – the vineyard
Clos de l’Arlot is surrounding the seventeenth century estate buildings of Domaine de l’Arlot.
The full area of Clos de l’Arlot is according to many sources around 5.45 ha, but this comprises the estate and the garden surrounding the estate – including a small park located above the buildings – with a collection of art works from the time of Francois Vienot. In reality more cadastre plots above the vineyard are included in the area called Clos de l’Arlot in the cadastre register – see more below.
The vineyard actually only covers 4 cadaste plots, two south of the estate buildings and two north of the estate – in total just below 4 ha.
To the south just north of Clos de la Maréchale we find two plots (cadastre numbers 4 and 21) planted with relatively young chardonnay vines (planted in 1998 to 2000). This 1.1767 ha is used for producing the white wine La Gerbotte.
To the north we find one triangular plot at the top of the vineyard – cadastre no. 9. This 0.7200 ha section is and planted with relatively young vines currently used for the red cuvée Le Petit Arlot.
Lastly we have the large plot no. 15 alongside the road. The relatively flat part near the road is used for the red Clos de l’Arlot, while the steep upper part further away from the road is used for the white Clos de l’Arlot.
The vines used for making Clos de l’Arlot are very old – planted in the 1940s and 1950s – a relatively large part of these have however been uprooted in recent years.
Approximately 1.9 ha of plot no. 15 is used for producing the white and 2.1 ha for producing the red – see detailed map below.
In total Domaine l’Arlot produces wine from 3.9777 ha of the 5.45 ha of Clos de l’Arlot.
The true size of Clos l’Arlot
Lavalle1 mentioned only one owner of Clos des l’Arlot in 1855 – and that was Vienot. The total area was, according to Lavalle, 7.7345 ha … and he writes that Vienot only had 5 ha – i.e. close to the current area including the park and the estate.
Looking at the old cadastre maps we see that Clos l’Arlot extended further up into the wood/hill side in the northern part of the vineyard – the current Clos l’Arlot is indicated by the red line drawn on the old cadastre map from 1827.
Looking at the current cadastre it can be seen, that the area above the vineyard extending south towards Les Argilliéres is still registered as Clos l’Arlot – but some is covered by forest, and some by gravel presumably covering an old quarry – see map below (area above plot no. 9 marked with white line).
This area comprised of four cadastre plots (no. 10, 12, 100 and 101) totals 1,2401 ha – so in reality the area called Clos de l’Arlot has remained relatively unchanged since the first cadastre was made in 1827.
Moving on to the 1861 classification2 the area quoted is 7.3645 ha – 0.37 ha less than in Lavalle’s book 6 years earlier – and the cadastre plots 213 and 217 to 225 were included in this area. This corresponds well with the 1827 cadastre map shown above. Interestingly the area is back to 7.7345 in 1920 when Rodier4 published his book.
The name Arlot comes from the small stream which flows out of the rock at the foot of the vineyard and flows under the road below5. So both the vineyard and the estate have taken name from this stream … the latter after 1987.
The history of Clos des l’Arlot
The known ownership history of Clos des l’Arlot is quite simple as there have only been three owners over the last 160 years.
As mentioned above Vienot was the owner when Lavalle1 wrote his book in 1855. The estate was formed by Jean-Charles Vienot in the eighteenth century, and was passed on to his son Francois Vienot who renovated the Chateau and the estate buildings and laid out a park with sculptures behind the estate buildings5.
The children of Francois Vienot sold the estate to another negociant company Jules Belin in 1891. Danguy & Aubertin3, 1892, accordingly mentioned one owner – Jules Belin. Moving on to Rodier4 in 1920 Jules Belin was mentioned as the only owner of Clos des l’Arlot.
In the beginning Jules Belin was quite successful but after most of the family was killed in a car accident in 1933 – the company and the estate began to decline5. This process took more than 50 years and some vineyards were sold off along the way.
Jules Belin did however keep the vineyards in Premeaux – including both the monopoles Clos des l’Arlot and Clos des Forets – the latter must have been acquired after 1920, as Rodier4 mention Julien Guillemot as the only owner (as did Danguy & Aubertin in 1892).
In the end – after owning the estate for almost 100 years they sold it all to the insurance company AXA who had formed a team with Jean-Pierre de Smet.
The Axa and de Smet period … 1987 – 2005
Jean-Pierre de Smet, accountant and business man, had taken an interest to wine making after a visit to his friend Jacques Seysses at Domaine Dujac in 1977. He then decided to persue the vigneron “dream” and attended the University of Dijon to qualify as a winemaker and began to look for an estate5You need to login to read the rest of this article. If you are not a subscriber, use the subscribe function and sign-up.