Romanee Saint-Vivant is somehow the rising star among the Grand cru’s of Vosne Romanee. For many years Richebourg was undisputed number four after the three big Grand Cru’s – Romanee-Conti, La Romanee and La Tache. But in the last two decades the wines from Romanee Saint-Vivant have shown big improvements, and the vineyard is now a worthy rival to Richebourg – and sometimes even surpassing it’s more masculine neighbour.
Early history of Romanee-Saint-Vivant
The history of Romanee Saint-Vivant dates back to the 11th century, when Hugues II (1085-1143), Duke of Burgundy gave all his uncultivated areas and forests in Vosne and Flagey to the monks of the abbey of Saint-Vivant which was a Priory under the great Priory of Cluny. This took place on November 13th 1131, and the monks then started to clear the uncultivated areas and began planting vines. In 1232, Alix de Vergy, wife of the Eudes II (also Duke of Burgundy), began to donate some additional vineyards to the monks of the Priory of Saint-Vivant – 5 donations were made in the period from 1232 to 12467.
These donations included the vineyards Cloux du Neuf Journaux (3.06 ha), Cloux du Moytans (1.70 ha), Cloux des Quatre Journaux (1.36 ha) – in total a little more than 6 ha of the current Romanee Saint-Vivant. The donation also included a vineyard called le Cloux des Cinq Journaux (the current Romanée-Conti) The word “journaux” in the original plot names refers to the size of the vineyard, one journaux is approximately 34 ares equivlent to 0.34 ha.
Source: Map from Musee de la Sommellerie.
The map from 1512 shows that the three original parts only cover 2/3 of the current Romanee Saint-Vivant. The residual area, 3.4 ha, are in separate plots called Vigne a Estienne Bognet (north) and Vigne a Jehan Roy du Rouvres (southeast) – these plots were named after the owners in 1512.
The name Romanee-Saint-Vivant was first used in 1765, and at that time it only comprised the “original” 6 ha (dix-huit journaux) of the vineyard – the last plots – in total 3.4 ha – were added later – see below.
On September 11th, 1936 the climate gets AOC Grand Cru status for the full area today know as Romanne-Saint-Vivant.
The two missing sections
It’s not totally clear when the last two sections – Vigne a Estienne Bognet and Vigne a Jehan Roy du Rouvres were added to Romanee Saint-Vivant.
The two sections were already included in 1827 where the first cadastre maps were made. The map below show that Romanee Saint-Vivant in 1827 covered approximately the same area as today – with one minor exception – see more details in the paragraphs below.
The “Vigne a Jehan Roy du Rouvres” section
The early history of this section is not very clear, but in 1774 it’s was according to Bazin7 owned by Karl-Josef Riepp a organ builder and negociant from Dijon. In the nineteenth century it was owned by the Jondot family – Lavalle mention this in 1855 – and Bazin mention Jondot-Maignot 7. Later it was sold to the Moilliard family (Thomas-Moillard/Moillard-Grivot) – and this family kept the plot until 1984, when Prof. Andre Galtié – a nephew of Charles Thomas – died and the plot was divided and sold – see more info about the Thomas-Moillard section below.
It’s important to note – this section has never been owned by the church and was never included in the Marey-Monge holdings in Romanee-Saint-Vivant. This is supported by the cadastre maps from 1827, where this part is a separate plot.
The “Vigne a Estienne Bognet” section
This section in the northwest part of Romanee Saint-Vivant was according to Bazin7 included in the Clos du Moytan plot by plot by the Marey-Monge family. From 1791 to 1807 fourteen small plots were acquired, and the last plot of 2,5 oeuvres was acquired in 1821.
The cadastre maps from 1827 show that there is still a single plot outside the big Marey-Monge holdings in the northwest part of Romanee Saint-Vivant – this plot is shown on the map below.
The border towards La Croix Rameau
There have been a lot of discussions about whether La Croix Rameau, or at least part of it, once were included in the vineyard know as Romanee Saint-Vivant.
I’m currently exploring this, but it’s clear that if this was the case – it was before 1827 – as the cadastre map below show that La Croix Rameau was established when the first cadastre maps were made.
There is however a small but interesting detail – the plot no 1152 located in the upper part of La Croix Rameau (under the “x” in Croix), it seems to have been included in Romanee Saint-Vivant after 1827. This plot was either acquired by Marey-Monge and included in Romanee Saint-Vivant – or perhaps Marey-Monge owned a part of La Croix Rameau, and included a part of these holdings in Romanee Saint-Vivant after 1827.
The Marey-Monge ownership
Romanee Saint-Vivant and the other holdings of the Priory of Saint Vivant was seized under the French revolution and was sold in 1791 to Nicolas-Joseph Marey, the son-in-law of Gaspard Monge. The Marey-Monge family bought some of the Priorys buildings in Vosne Romanee and most of the vineyards.
As mentioned above the Marey-Monge family continued to expand the holdings in Romanee Saint-Vivant, thus enlarging the three original sections – Clos du Neuf Journaux, Clos du Moytans and Clos des Quatre Journaux.
But did Marey-Monge at any time obtain monopoly ownership of Romanee Saint-Vivant? The answer is most likely no, as the Vigne a Jehan Roy du Rouvres section never seem to have been under Marey-Monge ownership, and this section was included in Romanee Saint-Vivant before 1827 according to the cadastre maps.
The main part of Romanee-Saint-Vivant was however under Marey-Monge ownership for almost 70 years, where the first section was sold off. In 1898 the Marey family sold the section Clos de quatre Journaux to Louis Latour.
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