La Croix Rameau. Premier Cru or Grand Cru? One of Burgundy's Most Intriguing Wines

 

Coudray-Bizot Croix Rameau header
One of Burgundy's most fascinating (and rare) vineyards
 
There is a vineyard in Vosne-Romanee that has long been a centre of controversy. It is the 1er Cru La Croix Rameau - the smallest Premier Cru in the commune.
As Burghound says "The key question regarding La Croix Rameau is this: Was it ever a holding of the monks of the monastery of St Vivant de Vergy (a Cluniac dependency founded by the Benedictines)? Is so, should it now enjoy grand cru status like the rest of Romanee-St-Vivant?"
Croix Rameau map
The entire appellation is just 0.60 hectares in size and it lies partially surrounded by what is currently the Grand Cru Romanee-St-Vivant. It looks like a piece bitten from the corner of the Grand Cru. There are just three owners - Domaine Lamarche, Jacques Cacheux and Coudray-Bizot.
Part of the issue is that there is a lack of information concerning Croix Rameau. Cacheux believes the monks made wine from the parcel and that Croix Rameau and Romanee-St-Vivant were once one vineyard stating that he has sales records dating back to the French Revolution supporting his claim. Indeed, when Nicholas-Joseph Marey (of DRC RSV fame) purchased the vineyards in 1791 he paid the same price per hectare suggesting he had no reason to consider the parcels of differing qualities.
At the time of his purchase La Croix Rameau was larger than it is now. When parcels were sold to powerful entities there was no political opposition to their subsequent inclusion into Romanee-St-Vivant.
In the early 1980's the three current owners applied to the INAO to elevate La Croix Rameau to Grand Cru status. After almost a decade of red tape the Syndicat Viticole rejected the application, despite the fact that the soil types were found to be the same (the potential quality of the terroir being the prime determining factor) and prior tastings of Croix Rameau had confirmed its quality. Some say it was opposition from other Vosne growers that led to the decision.
Whatever the full story is La Croix Rameau is a fascinating vineyard. It is one that I buy whenever I see it, and that is not very often. 
During my last trip to Burgundy I met with the owners and tasted at Domaine Coudray-Bizot. They have an interesting range of wines including Echezeaux En Orveaux, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Les Cazetiers and Champeaux and Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Combettes. It was, of course, La Croix Rameau that piqued my attention.
The domaine also has a alternative policy when it comes to releasing their wines. Where most domaines like to ship their wines as soon as humanly possible, Coudray-Bizot prefer to hold their wines back to enable them develop complexity and interest. Their current vintage is 2012 which has enjoyed 4+ years in bottle.
Burghound says "A good version of La Croix Rameau is quite firm with lovely, if reserved, aromatics and fine length." "As with En Orveaux or Cros Parantoux, its is hard to find. For example I have never come across a bottle from Coudray-Bizot, and the appellation's proprietors produce fewer than 3,000 bottles annually. La Croix Rameau keeps well, at least as well as Suchots, so I would suggest drinking the average example in the 10 to 15 year range with exceptional vintages out to age 20."

At this point it would be remiss of me not to mention the recent sale of wines from the Henri Jayer estate. Jayer was famous for his Vosne-Romanee 1er Cru Cros Parantoux, a wine that is often mentioned as a candidate for elevation to Grand Cru status. Cros Parantoux is almost twice the size of La Croix Rameau and has never been a Grand Cru. In fact it was scrubland (as well as a garden growing Jerusalem artichokes) which required intensive work, including much dynamite, to make it suitable for vines. The wines fetched prices that make one gasp. Individual bottles of Cros Parantoux sold at the auction for over $50,000.00 each. Every vintage, no matter how good or bad, sold for tens of thousands. I am not saying La Croix Rameau from Coudray-Bizot is in the same collectable class, merely pointing out this rare wine is well priced and worthy of your consideration. 
To introduce the wines of Domaine Coudray-Bizot, and especially La Croix Rameau, we offer the wines at a 25% Pre Arrival Discount. I think this is a wine not to be missed.
Please note: This is a tiny vineyard so stocks are very limited.
Domaine Coudray-Bizot Vosne-Romanee 1er Cru La Croix Rameau 2012
Landed Price $335.00
Normal Pre Arrival Price $285.00
Special Pre Arrival Price $250.00 (Less 25%)

Coudray-Bizot Croix Rameau label
Darren HarrisBreezy nose of spicy red-black berries and flowers. Spicy bitter cherry, a hint of citrus and some minerals. More flowers - very perfumed. Enticing, yet quite delicate, but also with intensity. The tannins are present yet extremely fine and long. The balance is excellent. La Croix Rameau is all about elegance. A classic Vosne-Romanee.

To view and purchase the wine on line click here. You may also order by telephone (03) 9326 5737 or email luke@grandmillesime.com.au.

More offers from this domaine as soon as time permits!
 
Cheers,
Darren 

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Grand Millesime Pty Ltd

21 Toorak Road

South Yarra

Vic 3141

  

Phone: (03) 9326 5737

Fax: (03) 9326 6744

 

www.grandmillesime.com.au

sales@grandmillesime.com.au

Cheron Vosne Label
Domaine Philippe Cheron Vosne-Romanee Les Barreaux 2015
Another vineyard with an Henri Jayer connection
2 cases left
Located above Richebourg Les and alongside Cros Parantoux,  Les Barreaux is also a special vineyard.
Barreaux Map
Click to enlarge
Darren Harris: Les Barreaux, made famous in recent years by Domaine Anne Gros, is wonderfully sited lying above Richebourg and Vosne-Romanee Cros Parantoux and alongside Petit Monts and Beaux Monts. Like its big brothers it produces a deeply coloured wine and those with an interest in wines of yesteryear will be delighted to know that Les Barreaux played a big part in the legendary Henri Jayer's Village Vosne-Romanee. Dark in colour. Aromatic nose with blacker fruits than the two Chambolles. Spices and minerals. Concentrated with plenty of extract and an underlying coolness. Quite muscular - more Richebourg than Romanee-St-Vivant in style. This is a serious lieu-dit which will age magnificently. And it is extremely well priced. 
We have just 2 Cases left.
Normally $155.50
Special $132.15

 Click here to view and order the wine on our website.
 

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