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If I was a CSW newsletter reader, I'd probably be hoping for a nice offer full of sub $20 or sub $30 wines after Champagne and Barolo for three days. We'll get to that tomorrow with our October "NARF!" (New Arrivals and Returning Favorites), but today is all about Domaine des Lambrays, and wines that the fine folks at the domaine sent to New York for our enjoyment and edification. These are not from a private collector, though usually collectors of wine are quite meticulous, as they partially want to drink all of the wines they collect. But it is of note that these wines come from the estate and represent a special opportunity to obtain fine Burgundies in some form of vertical or horizontal manner, or grab a bottle for a kid's birthyear? I will admit I don't know anything about the wines besides packing orders during my tenure at Chambers Street. I know the label, I know it's prestigious. If you viewed the header of this email and wanted to read more, you already know more than I do! However, for the sake of review, let's take a look at this historic domaine...
First off, this is a famous "clos" - an enclosed vineyard (or garden), one that dates back to 1365, when it was founded by the Abbey of Cîteaux. If you know Burgundy, you know the monks were the earthworms of Burgundy's past millenia. They worked the soils on these slopes in Burgundy for centuries, tilling, incoporating natural manures, working "biodynamically," before Steiner (albeit without cow horns), and creating meters of incredibly rich humus above unique compositions of bedrock (they also didn't talk much, like earthworms). Nutrients like magnesium, phosphorus, nitrogen, and iron were absorbed by this rich soil, and microorganisms thrived, making the Clos des Lambrays, among many other sites in Burgundy, one of the most renowned terroirs for wine in the world. The Domaine des Lambrays farms 8.66 of the 8.84 total hectares of the Clos, which was officially granted Grand Cru status in 1981. According to their website, it was always considered a Grand Cru site by those in the know, even though it was listed a Premier Cru in the original issuance of AOCs in France in 1936. The folks at Domaine des Lambrays like to note that this is a "Climat," not just a "Lieu-Dit," the difference being that a lieu-dit is a spot or location (in Burgundy this usually would be somewhere on a slope), but a "climat" is a combination of several terroirs, a complete picture of an entire slope, from top to bottom. Indeed the Clos covers what might be called three different lieu-dits, all with shallow topsoil, from limestone at high altitude to iron-rich clay at the bottom. Tasting barrels in Burgundy can reveal these nuances, how the top of a hill with exposed limestone gives intense mineral expression, and the bottom with clay provides darker fruit and more material. The components make up the whole, and a very special wine is the result. The Clos des Lambrays, situated in the heart of Morey-Saint-Denis is a fine example of this, and undeniaby worthy of its Grand Cru status.
I forgot to mention the prices, but you'll see them soon. I glanced at them and decided I'd write the piece first before doing the math. I love Burgundy and cannot afford these, but in the end, I realized that the wines were here in the market, and wine enthusiasts who might be able to afford them might want to know about it! Considering the plot, and the history, it perhaps is no surprise that the wines are not inexpensive, but at least they come to you by way of their importer here, directly from the estate, after aging in a beautiful and historic cellar! -EL