Nuits-St-Georges producers to ask for grand cru vineyard

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  • Thursday 2 April 2009

A collection of producers in the Nuits-St-Georges area of Burgundy is petitioning the French appellations body to upgrade a plot of land to grand cru status.

The winemakers and viticulturalists are asking the national appellations institute (INAO) to re-examine the case for the Les Saint-Georges vineyard, located in the middle of the wider Nuits-St-Georges area.

If accepted, the 7.52ha vineyard would become the first grand cru in Nuits-St-Geroges.

The process is expected to take years, however.

‘I don’t want to put the cart before horse,’ Thibault Liger-Belair, one of the producers involved, told decanter.com. ‘Nothing is certain – and it’s going to take a long time.’

‘When I look at how long it took La Grande Rue [a grand cru vineyard in Vosne-Romanee] to get grand cru status, it took six or seven years – and it was sandwiched between La Tache and Romanee-Conti,’ he added.

Liger-Belair, along with Erwan Faiveley, the Gouges family, and Jerome Chezeaux, is one of the driving forces behind the requested upgrade of the vineyard.

All are working on a 15-page dossier to be submitted to the INAO. Liger-Belair said he expected the dossier to be finished and sent off before the end of the year.

Although not part of the group, Frederic Magnien, who buys in grapes from the vineyard, believes the terroir of Les St-Georges is ‘easily at a grand cru level’.

However, in his book The Wines of Burgundy, Clive Coates MW says the authorities were ‘quite correct’ to deny Nuits-St-Georges a grand cru vineyard. But he admitted that ‘you can easily get tempted into arguing for its elevation to grand cru.’

Burgundy expert, Jasper Morris MW, agreed that the Les St-Georges vineyard was 'excellent' but said that local politics might hamper the effort.

'The difficulty is that [neighbouring plots] Les Vaucrains and Les Cailles are just as good, and it's hard to make an absolute case,' he said. 'For myself, I think it's better to be an outstanding premier cru than to be a grand cru and have some people think you don't merit it.'

The petitioning process began in April last year, when a letter was sent to the INAO. In July, the Les Saint-Georges plot was visited by INAO officials.

The INAO could not be reached for comment at the time of publishing.

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