Today we are delighted to release Clos des Lambrays 2017, the stunning aristocrat, which is one of the oldest and most admired Grand Crus in Burgundy. Clos des Lambrays 2017 has been awarded 92-95 points from William Kelley of the Wine Advocate, who says ‘My intuition is that this will turn out to be both a little more concentrated and a little more structurally giving than the 2016 rendition’. It has been awarded 92-94 from Neal Martin of Vinous Media, calling it ‘classic Clos des Lambrays’ and describing it as ‘one of the most elegant and poised’. Finally, it has been awarded 91-94 by Burghound putting it in the range of some of the most exceptional vintages ever from each of the leading critics.
Clos des Lambrays has long been considered a jewel in the crown of the Cote d’Or and in 2014 it was purchased by LVMH for an estimated 100 million euros. This resulted in Clos de Lambrays becoming their flagship great Burgundy estate, joining this luxury portfolio of Cheval Blanc, Chateau d’Yquem, Dom Perignon and Krug. Clos des Lambrays is sited next to Clos de Tart, which separates it on the Chambolle-Musigny border and Bonnes Mares. It is a Clos, meaning it is enclosed within a wall. It is also nearly a monopole, a vineyard owned 100% by one owner. However, Domaine Taupenot Merme, own a minuscule 0.18 ha segment, which produces around 200 bottles. Clos des Lambrays produces 2,500 cases per year, it is hugely popular and sees strong global demand. It currently sees 40% of its sales in France, which speaks volumes, with 60% exported to 38 countries. With the LVMH marketing budget and luxury goods savoir-faire we can expect distribution to strengthen and prices to continue rising. Today’s release price of £1,170 per case of six will look inexpensive over the course of the next decade, as LVMH drive the global cachet of this great vineyard to new levels.
Domaine des Lambrays dates back to the 14th Century, famously cited in the deeds of Citeaux Abbey in 1365. It was broken up during the French Revolution and re-formed in 1868, under the hard work of negociant Louis Joly. By 1930 it was viewed as a leading vineyard, yet it did not seek Grand Cru status, it is said, due to then owner Renee Cosson not wanting to incur increased taxes. Despite being surrounded by Grand Cru vineyards it remained 1er Cru and it was neglected until 1966 when it was bought by the Freund family. The 8.8 hectare vineyard became Grand Cru in 1981, thereon becoming the largest Grand Cru parcel in Burgundy owned by one proprietor.
The superb renaissance in the estate is largely attributed to Thierry Brouin who took over in 1979. He began by uprooting a quarter of the vineyard and replanting it, while also modernising the estate. He runs the vineyard as close to the organic line as he feels possible, with the absolute minimum intervention and even ploughing the soil with a horse. The young vines are downgraded to Morey St. Denis 1er Cru, while the average age of the vines are currently 40 years. Brouin favours fruit freshness, as such the Clos is one of the earliest to harvest. Today, the wine sees 50% new oak, for 16-18 months.
LVMH acquired the estate from Ruth Freund, following the death of her husband Gunter Freund in 2010. This kept one of the Cote d’Or’s most beautiful climates together, which otherwise would likely have been divided. LVMH have nothing but praise for Brouin and he will continue to be the winemaker here, continuing his 35-year reign. The future is very bright and it is worth securing first tranche allocations for the years to come. We have limited availability however, so this is allocated subject to availability.
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