La Croix Rameau is a very small and relatively unknown Vosne-Romanee 1er cru located in the northeast corner of Romanee Saint-Vivant.
The history of this very small climate is somewhat unclear and this also translates into some quite blurry areas in the history of Romanee-Saint-Vivant. The main question is: Was La Croix Rameau once a part of Romanee Saint-Vivant?
In this article I will try to gather the avaible information about La Croix Rameau, to see if it’s possible to explore the history of this climate a little further.
It should be noted that this is work in progress, and I will continue to update the article as new informations becomes available.
The current owners on La Croix Rameau
There are three owner on La Croix Rameau, and the total area is around 0.60 ha. The largest owner is Domaine Lamarche with 0.21 ha, the second largest is Coudray Bizot with 0.20 ha and lastly we have Cacheaux with 0.16 ha.7.
Lamarche owns the plot located “inside” Romanee-Saint-Vivant” and Coudray-Bizot and Cacheaux have the two plots in the corner below Romanee-Saint-Vivant – see map below.
La Croix Rameau – historic informations
After some research it becomes clear that the history of this climate isn’t the most well documented in Burgundy.
Lavalle1 (1855) doesn’t mention La Croix Rameau – or any other Vosne climate that could be identified as this small corner on the boarder to Romanee Saint-Vivant. According to Lavalle the area of Romanee Saint-Vivant was 9 ha 54 ares and 30 cent – with the owners Jondot and Ernest Marey-Monge.
Danguy & Aubertin2 are the first to mention La Crois Rameau in 1882. They include La Croix Rameau as deuxieme classe as Au-dessus des Malconsorts, Les Chaumes, Cros Parantoux. The owners in 1892 were Fermouche and Maignot according to Danguy & Aubertin. The owners of Romanee Saint-Vivant were Les heriteres Marey in 1882 – with no information about the size of the vineyards from Danguy & Aubertin.
The last main historic source is Rodier3 (1920) doesn’t mention La Croix Rameau in my version of his classification of the vineyards of Burgundy. The area of Romanee Saint-Vivant was 9 ha 54 ares and 30 cent – the same as Lavalle in 1855 – and according to Rodier the owners were Gaudemet, Louis Latour, Marey-Monge and Moillard-Grivot. The three main sources therefore indicates that La Croix Rameau was established before 1892, but when was Croix Rameau first mentioned?
Cadastre maps of Vosne-Romanee from 1827
After some further research I discovered that La Croix Rameau was included in the old cadastre maps of Vosne-Romanee already in 1827 – see map below.
The map show La Croix Rameau already then had almost the same area and location as the current Croix Rameau vineyard. There are perhaps a few exceptions, as it seem one plot has been included in Romanee-Saint-Vivant and there are some houses and gardens that have expanded slightly into the vineyard area. Otherwise the vineyard seem relatively unchanged from the current vineyard.
So it seems like Lavalle forgot to mention La Croix Rameau in 1855, and the same is case for Rodier in 1920 – I have however seen informations that indicate that La Croix Rameau is mentioned in some versions of Rodiers book. So the answer is clear .. La Croix Rameau was established and known before 1827.
A part of Romanee Saint-Vivant?
The early history of La Croix Rameau just after the revolution is quite unclear, and related to the early history of Romanee Saint-Vivant.
In 1791 Nicolas Joseph Marey acquired the three main sections of Romanee Saint-Vivant (biens nationaux) – the deal included Le Cloux des Neuf Journaux and Le Cloux des Quatre journaux, and Le Cloux de Moytant – in total 18 journaux equivalent to 6.17 ha. – see map below.
Source: Map from Musee de la Sommellerie.
Some sources mention that Marey acquired four sections, but it’s unclear what the fourth section could have been, and the total area of the three plots mentioned is 18 journeaux. I haven’t seen any information – so far – about Marey acquirering plots of La Croix Rameau in connection with this deal, but it is possible that Marey bought additional plots in another deal.
In connection with this deal it’s mentioned that Vivant Maignot, the former régisseur of the Romanee Sait-Vivant monastary, acquired 8 ouvres of vineyard called La Plante 7, believed to be located in the lower part of or below Romanee Saint-Vivant.
I haven’t seen any solid information about the location of La Plante, but it’s likely that the 8 ouvres are a part of La Croix Rameau today. The main (and rather weak) evidence is that Maignot is mentioned among the owners of La Croix Rameau by Danguy and Aubertin2 in 1892.
Maignot is not among the current owners on La Croix Rameau, but if we go some generations back, we find the name Maignot in the Lamarche family three. The link between Maignot and Lamarche is via the Grivelet family in Chambolle. Francoise Marie Grivelet (1878 – 1955) who was married to Henri Theodore Lamarche in 1898, was the daughter of Claude Emmanuel Grivelet and Marie Maignot (1851 – 1878) – and Marie Maignot is mentioned as coming from a Vosne vigneron family 9.
If the Lamarche plot is from the original Maignot holdings, then La Plante could perhaps be identified as the southern part of La Croix Rameau – including the current Lamarche holdings and perhaps even the Cacheaux plots. Lamarche today own 0.21 ha, and Maignot originally acquired 0,34 ha in 1791 – it’s therefore likely that even the Cacheux plots also were a part of La Plante – as this plot is 0,16 ha. The total area of the Lamarche and Cacheux plots is 0,37 ha … rather close to the 0,34 ha (8 ouvrees) acquired by Maignot in 1791.
The northern part of La Croix Rameau
If we accept the theory that the southern part of La Croix Rameau is the old Maignot plots, then the southern plots (now owned by Coudray-Bizot) could have been the holdings of Fermouche, who was the other owner mentioned by Danguy and Aubertin in 1892.
Also Fermouche is mentioned by Meadows 7 – who refer to Bazin 4. Fermouche is said to have received a plot as a gift from the wife of Ernest Marey-Monge for tending the vines so well. Ernest Marey-Monge was born in 1809 and passed away in 1852 – he was married to Sophie Marey de Gassandi (1816 – 1893) in 183410. If the plot was a gift from Sophie Marey de Gassandi, then Fermouche must have received the vineyard after 1834.
The cadastre maps show that these plots were already included in La Croix Rameau in 1827, so the plots given to Fermouche were most likely located in La Croix Rameau, and not a part of the Marey-Monge holdings in Romanee Saint-Vivant. If this is true, then Marey-Monge must have acquired some plots in La Croix Rameau in connection with the original deal in 1791 or at a later date.
Was La Croix Rameau ever a part of Romanee Saint-Vivant?
The cadastre map show that La Croix Rameau was established before 1827, but it’s however unclear if the plots have been considered to be a part of Romanee Saint-Vivant earlier. The historic informations suggest that Marey Monge could well have been the architect behind the split of La Croix Rameau and Romanee Saint-Vivant.
It seems likely that the Maignot plots never were included in Romanee Saint-Vivant after the deal in 1791, thus indicating that Marey-Monge tried to build a monopole after acquiring the 18 journaux in 1791. The question is however when the plots in the northern part of La Croix Rameau was excluded from the RSV vineyard – was this done in connection with the deal in 1791, or did this happen later under the Marey-Monge ownership (and before 1827)?
Another possibility is that the Monastary of Saint Vivant decided to split the two vineyards evne before the revolution, and that La Croix Rameau was never considered a part of the vineyard we know today as Romanee Saint-Vivant.
I will continue to explore the history of La Croix Rameau to hopefully shed some light on these dark areas in the history of this fine vineyard – so this is work in progress. Please contact me if you have further informations or if you find errors in the article.
References & Sources:
- Jules Lavalle, Histoire et Statistique de la Vignes et Des Grands Vins de la Côte d’Or (1855)
- M.R. Danguy et M. Ch. Aubertin, Les Grands Vins de Bourgogne (1892)
- Camille Rodier, Le Vin de Bourgogne (1920)
- Jean-François Bazin, La Romanee-Conti (1994)
- Clive Coates, Cote D’Or (1997)
- Clive Coates, The Wines of Burgundy (2008)
- Allen D. Meadows, The Pearl of the Côte (2010)
- Association de l’Abbeye de Saint-Vivant, Saint-Vivant de Vergy (2010)
- Grivelet Family Tree – Geneanet
- Marey-Monge Family Tree – Geneanet
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