Burgundy: The ongoing applications for new Grands Crus

Tuesday April 29 2014 by Vitisphere

The project to have certain parcels in the Pommard Premier Cru promoted to Grand Crus is progressing.  In the recent newsletter published on its brand new website, the Bureau Interprofessionnel des Vins de Bourgogne stated that the application was submitted to the INAO in autumn 2013.   According to the BIVB, applications relating to the Les Rugiens, Les Epenots and Clos des Epeneaux (Comte Armand monopoly) climats were filed just before last year’s harvest.

Meanwhile, in Nuits-Saint-Georges (which still has no Grand Cru) a similar request for the promotion of the Les Saint-Georges Premier Cru has been under examination since June 2013.  This application was instigated by an association of producers, created in 2011 by Grégory Gouges and Thibault Liger-Belair, both of whom have vineyards in this cru.  The Les Saint-Georges Cru application has been submitted in order to repair "a historical anomoly," according to  Laurent Giotti on his blog . It seems that, Henri Gouges, the main owner in this climat at the time, also played a leading role in the creation of the AOCs, and that he may have “forgotten” to submit an application for Les Saint-Georges to be promoted to Grand Cru in 1936, when the appellation was created, to avoid being seen to further his own interests.

It is assumed that this same sensitivity also prevented the Marquis d'Angerville in Pommard from asking for Grand Cru recognition when it was created for this appellation.

Both applications are being examined, with the help of historical, economic and geo-pedological studies (carried out by the “Groupement d’Etudes et de Suivi des Terroirs” - GEST), required by the INAO in order to examine an application for classification as a Grand Cru.

"Research has shown that these parcels have been identified as the best of the AOC in various classifications over the last 250 years," states Aubert Lefas, the wine producer at the head of the committee managing the project.  The economic study has shown that over the last 50 years, the prices of these wines have been significantly higher than those of other Premiers Crus from Pommard: by 50-60% for Les Rugiens and by 40% for Les Epenots on average.

However, the application has not received universal support, and particularly not that of the Union des Grands Crus. Before the submission of the Pommard and Nuits-Saint-Georges applications, they had already expressed concerns that the excellence associated with the concept of Grand Cru might be diluted by the inclusion of new members.  The Union’s president, Louis-Michel Ligier-Belair, voiced his opinion on the matter in issue No.105 of Bourgogne Aujourd'hui in 2012.


[Source Vitisphere, the BIVB, Bourgogne Aujourd'hui, hospices-Beaune-lelivre.over-blog.com.  Photo: the village of Pommard, Credits: BIVB / MUZARD JP]


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