My vision for Le Grappin has always been to find underappreciated plots that can tell an interesting story. I am much more excited by making wine from these relatively unknown and less famous spots along the Côte d’Or than with their more celebrated brethern. While I was in Savigny-lès-Beaune on my latest trip I managed to find a very exciting parcel — the Beaune 1er Cru vineyard of “Les Boucherottes”.

Beaune is often overlooked, especially since it is largely the sandbox of the big négociant houses of Jadot, Drouhin and Bouchard along with being the backbone of the vineyard holdings of the Hospices de Beaune. It is also a commune dominated by 1er Crus as opposed to Villages appellations, some being more worthy of 1er Cru than others. There is also the factor of the wines having very different characteristics depending upon where along the slope the vineyards are. On the Savigny side, the wines tend to have more of the fruity, sappy quality we associate with Savigny but perhaps with some harder tannins. In the middle of the commune with the famous “Grèves” and “Teurons”, the wines are brawny, built for the very long haul, while those on the Pommard border are more elegant expressions.

“Les Boucherottes” is on the Pommard side of the commune and abuts two of my favourite vineyards in Beaune, “Les Vignes Franches” and “Clos des Mouches”. I have only ever seen bottlings from Jadot (see above) and A-F Gros so it is very much an under-the-radar lieu-dit. I managed to get a contract for half of a viticulteur’s plot (the other half is for his son) of vines, half of which was planted forty years ago and the other twenty-four years ago. The forty year old vines were planted selection massale where a viticulteur takes cuttings from his best vines to replant with, while the twenty-four year old are planted to the 114 and 115 Dijon clones. The resulting cuvée I hope should have some interest. My viticultuer believes the vines planted as clones contribute femininity and transparency, while the forty year old vines are more mineral and dark fruited. I am definitely intrigued by this parcel.

In an average year, I would get about 8 barrels worth of grapes but Burgundy can be capricious. Just two days after I signed the contract for the vineyard, a very powerful hail storm ripped through. Around 25% of the canopy was destoyed and almost 50% of the grapes were broken in under ten minutes! The extent of the damage will easier to assess once split berries have dried and fallen so I should have a better sense of how much is left when I am back in two weeks. If your vineyard had to be hit with hail this is probably the best period. There is still time for the canopy to grow back and there is no risk of rot setting in from the burst berries since sugar accumulation would be minimal. As I heard from one vigneron, it’s a cheap way to green harvest and leaf pluck! If you can’t joke about it, what can you do.

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One Response to A new vineyard for 2012: Beaune 1er Cru “Les Boucherottes”

  1. Andreas says:

    Super interesting to read about your journey from april 2011. Looking forward to an update. Cheers!

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