Vosne-Romanee Les Gaudichots – History, owners & wines – update

The Vosne Romanee Les Gaudichot is the relatively unknown neighbourg of the great La Tache vineyard. Collectors are however beginning to appreciate the Gaudichot terroir – and the demand for the few bottles made is rising year after year.

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The history of Les Gaudichots is very interesting and to a great extend also the history of La Tâche, as a very large part of the current La Tâche vineyard was a part of Les Gaudichots before 1934.

Update 01/07/2014 -new bottlings from Roche de Bellene and Domaine du Palais added

History of Les Gaudichots

Les Gaudichots was a quite large before the majority of the vineyard was included in La Tâche. The map below show the original Gaudichot vineyard and the original La Tâche vineyard – often refered to as La Tâche Joly de Bévy.

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The area of Gaudichots was 5.95 ha in 1855 according to Lavalle1, and the area of La Tâche was only 1.40 ha. Les Gaudichot was classified as Premiere Cuvee by Lavalle, just like Romanee Saint-Vivant, Malconsort, Grande Rue, Les Varroilles Sous Richeborg, Les Beaux-Monts, Combe-Brulee, Aux-Brulee and Les Suchots. La Tâche was classified as Tete de Cuvee as Romanee-Conti, La Romanee and Richebourg,

Owners of Les Gaudichots in 18551:

  • MM. Lausseure
  • Ragonneau
  • Confuron
  • Bergeret

The original La Tâche was owned by Liger-Belair, and according to Lavalle also Lausseure – it’s however unclear if Lausseure actually owned a part of the original vineyard or just adjacent plots in Les Gaudichots.

During the last part of the 19th century Duvault-Blochet acquired large parts of the Gaudichots vineyard, and Jacques Chambon is mentioned as one of th principal owners by Rodier in 1920. Some sources6 say that these plots were acqured already in 1834, 1839, 1859, 1862 and 1866 – but Lavalle doesn’t mention Duvault as one of the principal owners in 1855. Other sources mention that Duvault-Blochet acquired a large plot from M. Morellet in 1862 and in 1866 a southern plot from M. Lausseure 8.

Based on this it’s likely that Duvault-Blochet acquired most of the Gaudichots plots after 1855. These plots are today included in Domaine de la Romanee-Conti monopole La Tâche.

Owners of Les Gaudichots in 1892 according to Danguy & Aubertin:

  • M. Dr. Chanut
  • M. le Comte Liger-Belair

According to Danguy and Aubertin there were two owners on La Tâche in 1892 – MM. les heriteres Duvault and M. le comte Liger-Belair. This was of course not the case, but it shows that Les Gaudichots – or at least the Duvault plots on Les Gaudichots were considered a part of La Tâche by the authors.

Owners of Les Gaudichots (5 ha 79 ares 65 cents) in 1920 according to Rodier:

  • J. Chambon
  • de Champeaux

La Tâche Joly de Bévy (1 ha 40 ares 5 cent) was according to Rodier owned 100% by Liger-Belair i 1920 – and DRC (J. Chambon) is only mentioned as owner om Les Gaudichots. It’s quite strange that Liger-Belair is not mentioned as a owner of Les Gaudichots in 1920, as it it’s mentioned by Meadows that they sold of plots of Les Gaudichots in 1934 and 1935 – to DRC and Thomas-Moillard6.

The explanation is however straightforward as de Champeaux was a part of the Liger-Belair family. Louis Charles Liger-Belair and Ludovie Marey had two children – Edgar Bocquillon Liger-Belair (1835 – 1915) and Cécile Bocquillon Liger-Belair (1843 – 1876)10. Cécile Bocquillon Liger-Belair was married to Joseph de Champeaux de Saucy also in 186310 – and this is how the Champeaux name entered the ownership history of Les Gaudichots.

According to Rodier – the area of Les Gaudichots is 16 ares smaller than recorded by Lavalle.

The expansion of La Tâche

La Tâche is one of the most legendary vineyards in Burgundy, and was ranked as one of the very best vineyards in Burgundy by Lavalle and is perhaps only surpassed by Romanee-Conti. It was therefore very attractive to sell the wines of Les Gaudichots under the La Tâche name.

During the last part of the 19th century the owners of Les Gaudichot began to use the term La Tache when selling wines from Les Gaudichot. The background for this was most likely commercial, but it was also based on the fact that large parts of Les Gaudichots, were named Tâche Gaudichots or Tâche Gaudichottée in title deeds8. The situation resembles the case of Les Richebourg and Les Verroilles ou Richebourg, where the borders between the vineyards were somewhat diluted over time – and finally they were merged.

The use of the La Tâche name finally became too much for the owner of the original part of La Tache – La Tâche Joly de Bévy. The dispute were settled in lawsuit in 1932 – and the court ruled that the name La Tache could also be used for wines from the main part of Les Gaudchots6.

In 1931 Comtesse Liger-Belair died leaving the estate to her ten children. Two of the ten children were minors and the law of that era required that all children must be of age in order to distribute the inheiritance or the estate must be sold 9.

Three of the family members did not want to wait until the younger children reached legal adulthood and insisted that the entirety of the domaine be put up for sale. On August 31st, 1933 at the town hall of Vosne Romanée the vineyards including La Tache were auctioned off 9.

At this auction Edmond-Gaudin Villaine acquired the original part of La Tâche and merged this with the holdings of Les Gaudichot to form the vineyard today known as La Tâche 6.

There are officially still two parts of La Tâche – the original part called La Tâche (1,43 ha), and the Gaudichot part called Les Gaudichot ou La Tâche (4.63ha) – see map below

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In 1936 the two parts of La Tâche was declaired Grand Cru, while the remaining 1.03 ha of Les Gaudichot was declaired 1er cru – except a small plot in the bottom of the vineyard that was demoted to village level.

Les Gaudichot – fragments around La Tache

Les Gaudichot was reduced from 5.95 ha to 1.03 ha when La Tâche was formed, and Le Gaudichot ou La Tâche was separeted from the rest of Les Gaudichot. The remaining parts of Gudichot is scattered around La Tache, with some plots in the top, a plot south of Gaudichot ou La Taâhe, some plots in the bottom of the vineyard and finally some plots inside La Grande Rue – see map below.

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La Grande Rue promoted to Grand Cru

La Grande Rue was promoted to grand cru in 1989 and during this proces the Gudichot plots inside Grande Rue were included in the new Grand Cru.

This change reduced the operational size of Les Gaudichot once more from 1.03 ha to 0.80 ha – which is the current size of Les Gaudichots – see map below.

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The current owners and producers on Les Gaudichots

The vineyard is among the smallest of the 1er crus in Vosne Romanee and actually the smallest if it’s taken into consideration that the 0.23 ha Dujac plot is declared as Vosne Romanee Malconsort.

There are currently four owners of Les Gaudichots:

  • Domaine Forey – 0.30ha
  • Domaine Dujac – 0.23 ha
  • Pierre Hudelot – 0.20 ha – 0,05 ha is village
  • Domaine de la Romanee-Conti – 0.077 ha

The plots in the top part of Les Gaudichots

In the top end of Les Gaudichots we find two owners – the largest owner Regis Forey, and the smallest owner Domaine de la Romanee-Conti.

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Domaine Forey (0.30ha)

The Forey plots are located in the top part of the vineyard – above La Tâche. Regis Forey acquired 0.20 ha from a non Burgundian owner in 2008 – who until then leased it to Domaine Vigot-Battault. Regis Forey is the only owner on Les Gaudichots that produce and bottle wine from the vineyard. The production is around 1200 – 1500 bottles per year, and the demand for this wine has really increased over the last years.

Domaine de la Romanee-Conti (0,077ha)

The two DRC plots are located in the top part of the vineyard next to the Forey plots. Domaine de la Romanee-Conti does not produce Les Gaudichot from these quite miniscule plot, and the production is most likely sold off or perhaps from time to time used in the Vosne-Romanee 1er cru. The last Les Gaudichots from Domaine de la Romanee Conti was vintage 1929.

The other plots of Les Gaudichots

Pierre Hudelot

The Pierre Hudelot plots are located in the north east corner of the original vineyard – below La Grande Rue. There are thee small plots and the plot in the north east corner is classified as village, while the two plots below Grande Rue are 1er cru. These plots are farmed by Marchand de Gramont. I have never seen or tasted Les Gaudichots from Gramont.

Domaine Dujac

Domaine Dujac is the second largest owner of Les Gaudichots. The plot is located just south of Les Gaudichot ou La Tache i.e. between La Tache and Aux Malconsort. The plot was acquired from the Thomas-Moillard estate in 2005 together with the plots in Malconsort. Charles Thomas from Maison Thomas-Moillard acquired the plot from Michel Liger-Belair in 1935.

The quality and style of Les Gaudichots

The quality of the old Gaudichot vineyard was stunning – the proof is evident and produced every year by Domaine de la Romanee-Conti – as La Tache from DRC is 2/3 Gaudichot and 1/3 original La Tache – and the quality is nothing short of staggering.

The quality and style of the remaining parts of Gaudichots is most likely more diverse as the vineyard is scattered around the outskirts of La Tache – some plots in the bottom of the vineyard – others in the very top – above La Tache.

Based on Foreys Les Gaudichots the style of the vineyard is quite masculine yet floral, refined and with a intense and powerful minerality. It’s more mineral driven than some Malconsorts, but the minerality is less stony than Aux Reignots and other 1er crus located higher on the slope. It’s a wine for the cellar as the muscular and powerfull mineralic framework need time to show charm and refinement. La Tâche is richer and more extrovert with more body and fruit, but shares the powerful minerality of the Gaudichot.

The Malconsort from Dujac resembles the blend of La Tâche as it’s made from a blend of Malconsort and Les Gaudichots. I asked Jeyremy Seysses about the difference in terroir and the wines from the two climates and he came with this excellent explanation:

“The upper part of the slope seems to give wines that have perhaps a bit more perfume and lift, but lack body. The lower part of the slope, for Malconsorts, is bigger, more full bodied, but may lack a little detail. The geology of the area is complex and Gaudichots/Malconsorts runs over several changes in the soil. I think that part of what makes La Tâche great is this blend of soils and therefore, my choice from the beginning with Malconsorts was always to reproduce this top to bottom of the slope blend, on our side of the border.”

The wines from Les Gaudichots

There are currently are several wines labeled Les Gaudichots on the market. The main producer is Domaine Forey with 0.30ha, the second largest is Marchand de Gramont. The last produceres are not owners but buy the grapes or the wine from one of the owners. The most prominent is Maison Lucien le Moine, who have made a Les Gaudichots since the 2007 vintage – it’s likely that Le Moine get his grapes from Domaine de la Romanee-Conti. There are two more bottlings – Maison Roche de Bellene – (Nicholas Potel) – in the vintages 2011 and 2012 and Domaine du Palais (most likely wines from Gramont) – in the vintages 2008 – 2012. Before 2008 Maison Nicolas Potel made Les Gaudichot from the plot now owned by Regis Forey.

References & Sources:

  1. Jules Lavalle, Histoire et Statistique de la Vignes et Des Grands Vins de la Côte d’Or (1855)
  2. M.R. Danguy et M. Ch. Aubertin, Les Grands Vins de Bourgogne (1892)
  3. Camille Rodier, Le Vin de Bourgogne (1920)
  4. Clive Coates, Cote D’Or (1997)
  5. Clive Coates, The Wines of Burgundy (2008)
  6. Allen D. Meadows, The Pearl of the Côte (2010)
  7. Gert Crum, Domaine de la Romanee-Conti (2012)
  8. Christies website – DRC Le Gaudichots 1929
  9. Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair website
  10. Marey & Liger-Belair Family Tree – Geneanet

Special thanks to Jeremy Seysses – Domaine Dujac, Louis-Michel Liger-Belair – Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair and Jean-Charles Cuvelier + Nicolas Jacob – Domaine de la Romanee-Conti for the helpful informations and comments.

Tasting Notes for this vineyard