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Burgundy: a complete guide to Clos de Vougeot

Charles Curtis MW explores the history and ownership of Burgundy's iconic Clos de Vougeot appellation, looking at the terroir and taste profile of these renowned wines and selects 23 from the walled Grand Cru vineyard that are worth seeking out.

The Via Agrippa is an old road, built by the general that Caesar Augustus appointed to rule Gaul. In the region of Vidvbia, the Gallo-Roman town known as Nuits-Saint-Georges today, it follows the fault-line of the Côte d’Or.

It was rebaptised the Route des Grands Crus nearly two thousand years later, after countless generations of monks who had settled along this trade route had developed winemaking to a fine art.

Scroll down for Charles Curtis MW’s Clos de Vougeot grand cru tasting notes and scores

Clos de Vougeot history

The first to plant here were to the monks of Vergy, whose monastery was founded in the 9th Century and reported to the Benedictine order of Cluny.

Reform-minded monks broke off and formed the Cistercian order, whose base at the Abbey of Cîteaux was begun in 1098. The Cistercians gradually consolidated their vineyard holdings on the slope next to the source of the river Vouge, and this site, known as the Clos de Vougeot, became legendary.

It was rumoured that the wines from the grapes at the top of the slope were never sold, but reserved for the Pope; those of the centre, for the crowned heads of Europe, while the monks enjoyed the produce of those at the base of the slope near the ancient Roman road.

An apocryphal tale, to be sure, but for such an iconic vineyard, the wines of the Clos are often still considered variable, yet superb wines abound, and attentive Burgundy lovers can find great bargains in grand cru red Burgundy.

Charles Curtis MW’s Clos de Vougeot tasting notes and scores

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