The village of the most expensive wines of Burgundy (and, actually, world). Pinot Noir at its' best comes from here, can anyone disagree? I walked for a couple of hours along all their Grand Cru vineyards, back and forth the village, had a glimpse of the locked doors of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti and understood... that it's a normal French winemaking village that wasn't predestined for success. It's just its' people were stubborn enough and tirelessly worked on perfecting their wines for around two thousand years.
No posh cars here, no one will try to show off by building a house/winery that stands out of the local architectural mood. A winery that sells their latest vintage at around 10 000 EUR will look just like the one that sells their wine at a 100 EUR. Quiet and calm, only tractors and grasshoppers make the noise here.
people were growing grapes and making wine here as early as the 1st century
History of Vosne-Romanée Appellation
Archaeologists found proofs that locals were growing grapes and making wine as early as the 1st century. There was even an ancient vineyard discovered - it consisted of 26 rows and spread over more than 100 m. Besides that - amphorae, winemaking tools, press were all found around Côte de Nuits.
Vosne-Romanée is the central pearl in Bourgogne’s necklace
Even though winemaking was brought here by the Romans (sometimes it wasn't only brought, but destroyed too), the fall of Roman Empire didn't affect the existence of this wineland. Gaul people were already Christians, thus wine was part of worship. And aristocracy got hooked by wine too - ever since it is their fancy attribute. Therefore, the biggest influencers of wine development in Vosne-Romanée and overall Côte d'Or were - church and aristocracy (specifically the Capetian Dukes and House of Vallois).
The Magic Gaston Roupnel, a late 19th century Burgundian author, wrote that "Vosne-Romanée is the central pearl in Bourgogne’s necklace”. And to understand why he said so, drinking a bottle of Romanée-Conti is not enough, you have to travel to that tiny village and see, smell, hear, feel ... the Magic.
here you can’t hear tractors passing by because of the noise the insects create while enjoying their life on the vineyard
Most of the vineyards here converted to either biodynamic, organic or to integrated viticulture (in French as "lutte raisonnée" which translates as "well thought-out control" or in English "sustainable agriculture") and you don't need to conclude laboratory analyzes for proof. Just walking around you'll hear millions of grasshoppers, little birds nesting in vines, jungles of bushes and weed. For me this is enough to believe the wine is made with environment in mind.
In a world where you find thousands of articles saying that using pesticides & herbicides is inevitable, that grapevines are one of the most sensitive crops in the world, that biodynamic and organic viticulture is pure marketing ... here in Vosne-Romanée you can’t hear tractors passing by because of the noise the insects create while enjoying their life on the vineyard. Every winemaker that doesn’t use harmful chemicals, will simply say - you have to work the land so that the grapevine is healthy and doesn’t need much protection. So maybe the role of a winegrower is helping the grapevine to become strong and resistant and able to deal with diseases on its own, without showering it with chemicals? Doesn't it make sense?
There are no places destined for success in wine. There are stubborn civilizations that do it.
You won't find hi-tech in these cellars either. The most important - bring the perfect berries intact to the cellar and let them ferment naturally. Most of the producers don't add neither yeast, nor bacteria (for malolactic fermentation), wines often remain unfiltered thus vegan.
People here care about the details. They know there is a big difference between ploughing with a horse, a light-weight tractor or a huge industrial tractor. They know chemicals will destroy the mosaic-like climats that made them once famous, so why would they use them?
Stubborn people are the ones that made Vosne-Romanée the village of Earth's most exclusive wines.
Join me on my upcoming winery visits in France!