The cherished terroirs of Clos Marey-Monge ; Simone, Chantrerie, Grand Champs, Les Paules, Émilie, 75 Rangs and Micault ; are individually remarkable multi-stratas of iron-rich clay and limestone and mineral-rich marine fossils. Mixed with fertile alluvia, such as clay, silt, and sand ; these soils provide our 200,000 vines with all the diversity and strength they require to transform terroir into something truly delectable. But terroir is about more than just the soil beneath our feet. A lot more.
THE GOLDILOCKS OF WINE LOCATIONS – EVERYTHING IS JUST RIGHT
Thirty million years ago, the granite bedrock beneath what we know (and love) today as Burgundy was covered by a layer of old sea bed sediments. Following the seismic activity that followed the African tectonic plate crashing into the European tectonic plate ; this granite bedrock cracked open creating one large fault and many other smaller satellite faults. This crack-and-collapse pushed up a mosaic of diverse geological strata ; as well as ancient (160 million year-old) layers of limestone and clay to the surface. This one singularly mass event did not only created the escarpment that forms the Côte d’Or. It also created the famous mountain range known as the Alps too.
After things settled down, and for the next several million years. The slow erosion of the land by wind and rain sculpted the predominantly east-facing ; and therefore sun facing ; valley we see today as the Côte d’Or. If the hills of the Côte did not face east, or were not sloped enough, the vineyards would be able to take advantage of natural water drainage ; longer milder sunshine during the winter (preventing them from suffering from frost) ; and long and hot sunshine and high temperatures during summer. All that provide optimal grape maturation for producing concentrated flavors. Indeed, Burgundy is the Goldilocks of wine-growing. Everything that needed to be just right, is just right.
After the Roman domination gathered their belongings and left Burgundy – because they deemed that the vineyards were not suitably near enough to trade routes to be considered important assets – Burgundy’s terroirs were then left in the seemingly capable hands of the Benedictine, Cluniac and Cistercian monks who cleverly began to devise and deliver the first standardized vineyard practices, many of which are still used today. After the French Revolution ended in 1799, Châteaux and their affixed vineyards were taken away from nobility and handed to the people. It was time for the winemakers and the wine merchants of the land to reclaim the land!
Ever since, for more than 200 hundred years, Burgundy winemakers and wine lovers have expanded, explored and developed this concept of “terroir” (tare-wah).
Facing the Sun: The sun sets on Clos Marey-Monge in a most spectacular way every single day
BIRTHPLACE OF TERROIR
Though the word “Terroir” started to become commonplace in the 17th Century. It was not until 1831, but thanks to Dr Denis Morelot, that it became a household term known throughout the region. A wealthy landowner in Burgundy, Denis Morelot posited an answer to a seemingly unanswerable question. Namely, he could not understand why. If all the wines in Burgundy were made in essentially the same way from the same earthly ingredients, how there could be such huge differences in quality, flavors, aromas and textures? Morelot’s work was published in his Statistique de la Vigne de la Côte d’Or. The book would be the inspiration that Dr Jules Lavalle would explore and expand in his revered work into terroir in 1855.
It was Guillaume Stanislas Marey-Monge, the eldest child of Nicolas-Joseph and Èmilie who was home in Château Marey-Monge when Dr Jules Lavalle knocked on the door to inspect their vineyard’s soils. His publication would certify Clos Marey-Monge première cuvée, a qualification now designated for today’s premier cru. Even though that classification would later, in 2009, be considered slightly inaccurate (Clos Marey-Monge actually has two grand cru worthy terroirs) ; Lavalle had thrown a spotlight on the special significance of our 20 hectare vineyard (the size of 25 football pitches) and the largest undivided Clos in Burgundy.
200,000 Vines: Every single vine sends its roots into different soil in Clos Marey-Monge
LOTS OF LOVELY LIMESTONE
Clos Marey-Monge’s subsoil is comprised mainly of marl (a mixture of clay and limestone and limestone. It is the limestone from which the 200,000 roots within Clos Marey-Monge draw their characteristic elegance, wealth of flavors and aromatic richness.
As the symbiosis of grapes, soil, climate, vineyard location, and human touch, all rolled into one ; terroir is the component responsible for giving all the grapes on all the vines, their individual characteristics and personality. These distinct characteristics are then, of course, passed along into the wine.
In every glass of wine, so it is said, you should not only be able to savor the flavors and aromas of the wine ; but also the geography, geology and history of the land ; archeology, traditions, geology, winemaker’s expertise, geneology, ancestral behavior, meteorology, oenology, local history, weather, viticulture, toponomy, biodiversity – it all adds up to produce the concept of terroir, this “sense of place”.
Made of Stone: Château Micault is made of local Chassagne-Montrachet pink limestone
OUR VERY OWN ALLUVIAL FAN
As a microclimate protected by its own 2,000metre wall, Clos Marey-Monge benefits from an Oceanic climate in Spring, a Continental climate in Winter and a Southern climate in Summer. These subtle shifts in temperature and weather allow the grapes to develop differently throughout the vintage in extremely distinct ways. This is why we always tell our visitors that “each vintage tells its own story”.
After the 150 millions of geological activity that allowed modern Burgundy to exist, there is one other important geological feature that gives Clos Marey-Monge an added advantage. The vineyard sits on top of an alluvial fan, or dejection cone, formed of loose and fertile material washed down the slopes by streams and deposited as a conical mass at the bottom of the slope. Vines that sit on such spots enjoy additional support to being perfectly suited to the flourishing of Pinot Noir vines.
Dejection Cone: Our alluvial fan (the grey cone) lies underneath Clos Marey-Monge
A WALL THAT UNITES US
The 2,000 meter long, and two-meter-tall, Clos wall at Chateau de Pommard was built in 1812 by inhabitants of Pommard. Legend tells us that Nicolas-Joseph Marey-Monge offered a pair of boots and soup to any neighbor that would help with his monumental project. Apart from being essential to vine cultivation in the region ; our ancient stone wall forms a genuine framework that characterises the landscape and accentuates the vineyard’s dynamic contours. Our Clos wall is necessary in combatting soil erosion and limiting damage caused by animals and humans. The wall also helps to break up the water flow, retain the soil texture, soften the slopes and slow down the rainwater runoff. In short, our Clos wall keeps our seven terroirs safe.
TWO THOUSANDS YEARS OF TERROIR: TIMELINE
Vineyards are first created under Gallo-Roman influence.
Written evidence reveals Burgundy vineyards have taken shape, including Pommard.
Benedictine, Cluniac and Cistercian monks and nuns devise first standardize vineyard practices and develop tools.
Burgundy Dukes popularize Burgundy wine’s influence around France and Europe.
The French Revolution sees the redistribution of wealth from nobility to the people. For the first time, Châteaux become available to non-noble people.
In 1936, Pommard becomes one of the first villages registered for Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC)
There are now more than 3,800 wine estates in Burgundy! Pommard is home to 60 domaines, with more than 187 producers making Pommard wine from Pommard terroirs.