I have always enjoyed a good glass of red Chassagne as they often offer a very lively and vibrant expression of pinot noir.
Often have I been drinking these wines for mere pleasure and without analyzing the wines and taking a closer look at why I adore these somewhat overlooked beauties.
Last week I tasted a magnificent 2011 red Clos Saint-Jean from Domaine Ramonet, and this got me thinking and contemplating this article.
The historic view on Chassagne
Going back to Lavalle 1855 Chassagne was mainly producing red wines and even some of the wellknown terroirs of Puligny Montrachet were planted with pinot noir.
So the Chassagne vineyards were evaluated quite differently at that time – as they were mainly perceived as terroirs producing red wines and classified accordingly – aside from the Chassagne part of Montrachet.
Lavalle classified the following Chassagne terroirs as Hors Ligne – producing red wines:
- Le Clos Saint-Jean
- Le Clos Pitois (a part of de Brussans)
- La Boudriotte
Actually Lavalle classified Clos Saint-Jean alongside Vosne-Romanee Les Beaux-Monts, Echezeaux and the lesser parts of Corton and Romanee Saint-Vivant – see below.
Today the most prominent of the red wine producing Chassagne vineyards is Le Clos Saint-Jean, but a quite large proportion of this vineyard is today producing white wines, as is the case with La Boudriotte. Only Le Clos Pitois – a monopole of Domaine Belland – has remained a red wine producing terroir.
But lets take a closer look at Le Clos Saint-Jean.
Clos-Saint-Jean – one vineyard four climates
Clos-Saint-Jean today included four different sublimates – Clos Saint-Jean (5.08 ha), Les Rébichets (5.45 ha), Les Murées (1.61 ha) and Chassagne du Clos St-Jean (2.02 ha) and the vineyard cover 14.16 ha in total – see map below.
The vineyard has been expanded somewhat since Lavalle 1855 – who quoted an area of 12,1078 ha. In the 1861 classification2 the area was up to 14,3618 ha almost equivalent to the current day size of the vineyard.
The cadastre map below show the Chassagne Clos Saint-Jean in 1839.
The four terroirs of Clos Saint-Jean
There are four terroirs in Clos-Saint-Jean, two above the road named after the vineyard and two below the road just above the village.
According to Jasper Morris there is quite some difference in the soil between the different parts of Clos Saint-Jean, and while the top part is red soil resembling the geology one can find in Cote de Nuits, the lower part is more classic Chassagne terroir resembling Les Vergers.
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