Wine History: #2 The most famous wine chateau in the world.

Across hundreds of years the Clos de Vougeot has developed far beyond its simple beginnings. Wine is no longer made at the Chateau, it is a museum as well as being the headquarters of The Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin. It has had a turbulent history through to its modern day fame and the continuing celebration of good Vin de Bourgogne and friendship in wine around the world. We wrote about it in yesterday’s post Clos de Vougeot.

It was a bitterly cold morning. The hedges were covered with frost as were the vines, at least those we could see that hadn’t disappeared into the fog that had enveloped the whole of the Côte d’Or slopes of Burgundy. It was late November and we had spent two nights in Beaune having travelled here from our home in England at a leisurely pace. We had spent a night in Reims for a little champagne tasting, two nights in Chablis to pick up our usual “several cases” from Domaine les Malandes, before arriving for a short 3 nights in Beaune.

The previous day we had made our annual visit to Domaine Michel Rebourgeon in Pommard and tasted that years vintage from the barrel before filling the boot of our car! Later that evening we had gone out to dinner with the Rebourgeon family somewhere near St Aubin and drank only Aligote wines with our meal. You might need to look that up, but Aligote is a grape making a comeback in Burgundy and was actually the first white wine we ever tasted in Burgundy at Domaine Ropiteau in Meursault in 1987. That family holiday will always be remembered for it being the first time we ever visited a vineyard, several in fact, but specifically in Meursault and Beaune in Burgundy, then Chateauneuf du Pape, Tavel, and Frontignan in the Rhône and Languedoc, and finally in Saumur (Loire) on our way home.

We parked on the main drive leading up to the chateau, excited to be visiting such a historic place, but shivering with the cold. It was no better inside, what did we expect ….. a 500 year old chateau with central heating? We bought our tickets and began to follow the guide map through the different chambers …. a kitchen, a banqueting hall, cloisters, a tool room, and then a series of rooms containing exactly what we came to see ……. huge wine presses, massive barrels, all in oak and hundreds of years old. There’s more to this chateau than just empty buildings which sadly is the experience one gets in most French chateaux! Here’s a few of these colossal pieces of equipment:

Eventually the cold overcame us and we left after an hour or so exploration and drove about a kilometre down the road and into the village of Vougeot itself to visit La Grande Cave de Vougeot. This is one of those strange places in France that I’ve often been a little wary of, it’s not a vineyard cave, it’s not a cooperative either. In one sense it’s a shop, but a very select shop that sells only the wines made by contributing winemakers from or around the village. There’s one in Pommard too, but this one sells the only wines of the vigneron Charles Vienot, Morin Pere & Fils, Antonin Rodet, Louis Bouillot, Vincent Girardin with these winemakers producing wines from 80 different appellations in Burgundy’s Cote de Nuits.

I tasted a dozen or so red wines, all Pinot Noir obviously. Eventually I settled on a Fixin, Clos du Chapitre 2015 made at Domaine Charles Vienot. 

“Clos du Chapitre is one of six Premier Cru climats in the commune of Fixin, just south of Dijon in the Burgundy wine region. The vineyard, planted to Pinot Noir, lies on the hillside just to the south of the village of Fixin itself. Its wines, like most of those from Fixin, are weighty and rustic with bright fruit flavors; not as elegant or refined as those from the neighboring commune of Gevrey-Chambertin.”

I thought this was the best value for money, a Premier Cru wine that cost €38 per bottle and, at that price it was roughly mid way across the range of wines I tasted. I bought a case and we drove back to Beaune for a last evening meal in a small bistro in the centre near our hotel. Job done!

Have you been to Vougeot, what did you think of the place? Even if you’re not a wine lover there’s a grand day out here for everyone! We hope you’ll go.

Categories: Burgundy, Visits, Wine, Wine with History

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7 replies

  1. Nearly time to meet, socially distanced on a patio near you?


    • Nearly, but not yet. We have been totally isolated except for our immediate neighbours for the whole period. Even our daughter has only just started visiting and sits at the opposite end of the garden to us! If we socialised at all at present she’d “kill” us!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, we have not been out of our grounds for 14 weeks- not to a pharmacy, or anything, and all shopping and prescriptions delivered, so we must be the most socially-distanced people in the country- along with yourselves. We are doing patio visits, but only with similar people- not the ‘We’ve been socially distancing but we saw our grand-children types!’ We will meet when things more clear. Best regards and glad you are both okay.

        Liked by 1 person

      • 👍👍🙏🙏

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ll be honest, I’d never heard of the place before your previous post. So, if I’m ever in the area, I’ll drop in. Two fascinating posts, thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nearby is the Imaginarium a specifically built museum of wine on the outskirts of Nuits St Georges, it’s huge and partly a supermarket of Burgundian wines, but mostly a walk through of a series of rooms, some interactive, with artefacts celebrating hundreds of years of winemaking. Search google maps and see the photos

      Liked by 1 person

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