One of the first articles I made for this blog was an article about Echézeaux. While the article have been very popular with the readers, it really needs an update … so I have planned a series of articles about the Echézeaux vineyard.
The first article is about the very the core of the Echézeaux vineyard – the climate called Echézeaux du Dessus.
The other climates and the vineyard Echézeaux in total will be covered in other articles that will be published over the next .. months or years .. its a daunting task – read the full article about the Echézeaux project.
Please note .. this is work in progress so please comment any errors or missing details .. I need all the help I can get.
With this small intro lets move on to Echézeaux du Dessus – the heart of Echézeaux!
Echézeaux du Dessus and the other climates of Echézeaux
Echézeaux includes 11 climates, and cover 35.26 ha. Echézeaux is located between Chambolle and Vosne-Romanee and above Clos de Vougeot – see map below.
The 11 climates on Echézeaux are:
- Echézeaux du Dessus
- Les Poulailléres
- En Orveau
- Les Champs Traversins
- Les Rouges du Bas
- Les Beaux Monts Bas
- Les Loächausses
- Les Cruots ou Vigne Blanches
- Clos St. Denis
- Les Treux
- Les Quartieres de Nuits
Please note: I’m still working on some small details on the map. Firstly the border between Les Loächausses and Les Beaux Monts Bas – secondly the border between Echézeaux du Dessus and Les Rouges du Bas – see more below.
Les Echézeaux du Dessus
The climate Echézeaux du Dessus is located in the very center of the Echézeaux vineyard just above Grands Echézeaux.
Echézeaux du Dessus is by many considered to be the core of the original Echézeaux vineyard, and is the only vineyard climate that actually bears the name Echézeaux.
The name Echézeaux derives from chesaux, a word of Gallo-Roman origin meaning a group of dwellings, presumably referring to an ancient hamlet. Echézeaux du Dessus can be translated into the upper part of Echézeaux – thus indicating that the vineyard Grands Echézeaux was considered as the lower and larger part of Echézeaux. This underlines that Echézeaux du Dessus was in fact considered to be the original part of the vineyard or at least the core of the terroir.
Echézeaux du Dessus – historical size of the climate
The eleven climates today included in Echézeaux were considered more as separate vineyards historically. The climate names can be found already in the first cadastre maps from 1827, where Echézeaux du Dessus had almost the same borders and area as the current climate in Echézeaux – see cadastre map below.
Moving forward to 1855 Lavalle1 mention Echézeaux du Dessus as premiere cru, and among the best vineyards in Flagey-Echézeaux. The area of Echézeaux du Dessus was according to Lavalle 3 ha 55 ares 30 cent in 1855 almost identical to the current area.
Going further to Rodier3 the area is still 3.55 ha thus indicating little or no change in the borders of the vineyard over the years.
The extra plot in the current cadastre
There seem to be a consistent picture of the size and borders of Echézeaux du Dessus until one take a very close look at the current cadastre data.
These data include one extra plot located above the vineyard … a plot otherwise believed to be a part of Les Rouges du Bas. This plot is not located within Echézeaux du Dessus on the cadaste map itself, but in the information about this plot found in the cadastre it’s presumably a part of Echézeaux du Dessus – see below.
This is however not consistent with most maps I have seen, and this plot would also increase the total area – beyond the official numbers 3.55 ha.
The map below show the extra plot that cadastre data say belongs to Echézeaux du Dessus.
The plot between “cadastre no 510” and the main part of Echézeaux du Dessus is listed as a part of Les Rouges du Bas, and therefore we have two sections of Echézeaux du Dessus according to the current cadastre data.
The current ownership on Echézeaux du Dessus
There are 23 cadaste plots on Echézeaux du Dessus and its quite difficult to get info about the ownership.
Firstly not all the owners bottle the Echézeaux as coming from this terroir, many producers blend with grapes from other climates within the Echézeaux grand cru. Secondly some owners does not bottle the wine themselves, thus making the ownership structure even more difficult to explore.
I have nevertheless tried to make a mapping of the ownership based on the information’s I have currently.
Some plot ownerships are confirmed (by the producer and or several sources) others are estimated based on the data I currently have – these are listed as (not confirmed).
- Jayer Gilles – 0.5361 ha
- Niquet-Jayer – 0.5285 ha
- Michel Noellat – 0.5097 ha – (not confirmed)
- Cecile Tremblay 0.1775 ha- (not confirmed)
- Jean-Marc Millot – 0.5981 ha
- Mongeard-Mugneret – 0.3300 ha – (not confirmed)
- Domaine des Perdrix – 0.8730 ha – (not confirmed)
- Hospices de Beaune – 0.4380 ha – (not confirmed)
On the map below show the suggested ownership’s mentioned above – reflecting the knowledge I currently have.
The orphan plot 510 (8 on the map) is most likely the plot recently donated to Hospice de Beaune by Jean-Luc Bissey. According to my information Mongeard-Mugneret produced the Echézeaux Vieilles Vignes from this plot until the 2011. Most sources mention this plot as a part of Les Rouges du Bas, but Hospice de Beaune confirm that the Echézeaux – Cuvée Jean-Luc Bissey is produced from Echezeaux du Dessus6.
The total area of the identified plots on Echézeaux du Dessus is 4.0043 ha with the extra plot 510 and 3.563 ha without orphan plot .. i.e. very close to the size Lavalle1 quoted in his 1855 book.
The area includes the plot in the corner of the Jayer-Gilles plot, where a small house is located. This plot is however not a part of the vineyard but could still be owned by one of the domaines mentioned above – the plot is 154 square meters.
The ownership history of Echézeaux du Dessus
Echézeaux has always been quite fragmented, and it seems that ownerships have changed quite a lot over the years thus making it difficult to make a complete picture of the ownership history. Furthermore a lot of the plots have historically been owned by families from the village of Flagey-Echezeaux – historic producers that are relatively undocumented by the wine literature.
I will regardless of the lack of information’s try to uncover at least some of the ownership history – Please note this is work in progress!
History of the Jayer-Gilles and Niquet-Jayer plots
The Jayer-Gilles and the Niquet-Jayer plot have been owned by the Jayer family since 1933, where it was sold by Domaine de la Romanee-Conti – presumably to finance the acquisition of La Tache the year before4.
The Jayer-Gilles and the Jayer-Niquet plots – 1.07 ha in total – was acquired by the Jayer family in 1933 – most likely by Leon Adolphe Jayer (1874 – ? )5, the uncle of Henri Jayer.
Adolphe Jayer had two children – Rene Jayer (1906 – )5 and Anne Marie Jayer (1900 – ?)5 and the holdings on Echézeaux du Dessus was apparently divided between the two of them.
On the Rene side of the family the plot was later passed on to his son Robert Jayer, while his sister Madeleine – married to Alfred Haegelan – got some of the other vineyards.
Robert Jayer have now passed the domaine over to his son Gilles Jayer. So now Gilles Jayer is running Jayer-Gilles.
On the Anne Marie Jayer side her daughter Colette Jayer – married to Marcel Niquet (1935 – ) – inherited the plot. Niquet-Jayer still owns this plot, but last vintage produced seem to be 2003.
Going back in time … before the Jayer ownershp .. Lavalle1 mentioned Duveaux (Duvault) as one of the owners on Echézeaux du Dessus in 1855 – thus indicating that the predecessors/ancestors of the current DRC owners already had acquired these plots when Lavalle wrote his book.
In Danguy & Aubertin2 (1892) Duvault was mentioned among the owners on Echézeaux du Dessus again, and Rodier3 (1920) mentioned de Villaine and Chambon as owners thus confirming the DRC ownership some 13 years before the sale to the Jayer family in 1933.
History of the Michel Noellat and Cecile Tremblay plots
The Michel Noëllat and the Cecile Tremblay plots also seem to originate from the Jayer family – but a different branch of the family.
Presumably the plots were acquired after 1920, as Rodier2 don’t mention either Jayer or Noëllat as owners on Echézeaux du Dessus. It’s most likely that the plots were acquired by Edouard Jayer (1881 – 1950 )5, another uncle of Henri Jayer – and the brother of Leon Adolphe Jayer5 But the plots could also come from the Noëllat side of the family.
Edouard Jayer was married twice – first in 1906 with Anne Marie Baudement with whom he had two children, and then in 1920 or 1921 with Esther Fournier (1885 – ) – with whom he had a daughter Renée Jayer (1923 – )5.
Esther Fournier had previously been married to Ernest-Louis-Eugene Noëllat (1881 – 1914/18) who died during the war, and they had two sons – Henri Ernest Eugene Noëllat (1907 – ) and Georges Roger Noëllat (1914 -). Ernest-Louis-Eugene Noëllat was the brother of Charles Felix Noëllat (1880 – 1939) – the founder of Domaine Charles Noëllat5.
In all the couple Edouard Jayer and Esther Fournier had five children when he passed away in the 1950s – Henri Ernest Eugene Noëllat, Georges Roger Noëllat, Marie Terese Jayer (1907 – ), Simone Jayer (1909 -) and finally Renée Jayer To make matters even more complex Marie Terese Jayer and Henri Ernest Eugene Noëllat were married in 1926 … please note they were not biologically closely related … but it does make the inheritance split even more complex5. In the end the holdings were somehow split between these children in 19507 – presumably after the death of Edouard Jayer.
The Cecile Tremblay plot comes from the Renee Jayer’s side of the family. Renée, the youngest daughter, had one daughter, Marie Annick who is the mother of Cecile Tremblay of Domaine Tremblay7.
In 1950, when the vineyards were divided among the five children. Renée leases her share of the domaine to sharecroppers. Her only daughter, Marie Annick and her husband enlarged the holdings in 1986 but kept the sharecropping solution. This situation would continue until 2002, where their daughter Cecile Tremblay decided to take over the family estate, and founded the excellent Domaine Cecile Tremblay7.
The rest of the holdings in Echézeaux du Dessus were devided between Marie Terese Jayer/Henri Ernest Eugene Noëllat, Simone Jayer and Georges Noëllat. There is no evidence that Georges Noëllat received a plot in Echézeaux du Dessus – but he could have received other plots instead.
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