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An intricate iron sign for a winery in Clos Vougeot.
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Vougeot

From little rivers, great oceans may flow. So it is with Vougeot, a small village in the Côte de Nuits, named after the little river Vouge. Though the smallest commune in the wider Côte d’Or region, it is also the largest Grand Cru clos (meaning ‘plot’ or ‘vineyard’). Most of the wine from Vougeot comes from this single vineyard—the outstanding Clos de Vougeot. There are also 4 Premier Cru plots nearby, whose names have become known (but not too famous)—Clos de la Perriére, Clos Blanc, Les Cras, and Les Petits Vougeot. Though most of the wine here is red, some white is produced of admirable quality. Vougeot’s neighbours are also well known for their superb red wines – Chambolle-Musigny and Vosne- Romanée in particular. With more than 50 plot owners within the 50 or so hectares of Grand Cru vineyard here, it really does help to know something of the producer and their plot when you’re buying. Soils change almost yard by yard, and there’s as much variety of terroir as there are personalities here. Though Vougeot is best known for the Grand Cru Clos de Vougeot, its Premiers Crus make great 'insider' wines, too. A little research goes a long way; beyond the wall of the Grand Cru vineyard lies basic village level wines (which can nonetheless be of worthy quality, depending on what you choose).

White Wines

White Vougeot is often limpid white gold in color. The initial bouquet is floral, acacia, often with hints of exotic fruits. A touch of minerality is a welcome surprise. In the older wines, aromas range from spice cake to fleshy fruits like quince and fig. There is that underlying richness which is often found in these rare Côte de Nuits Chardonnays. The richness and delicacy of Vougeot whites make them a match for crustaceans such as lobster or crawfish, fish (either baked or in cream sauce), good quality poultry, and sweetbreads.

Red Wines

Red Vougeot has much in common with its illustrious neighbors, Clos de Vougeot, Musigny, and Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Les Amoureuses). Its color should be crimson and purple in youth, deep and luminous. It develops youthful aromas of violets, black cherry and blackcurrant. When older, it goes to underbrush and truffle over animal notes. The attack is pretty straightforward, and should show acidity and tannin balanced with alcohol. Reds tend to be sturdy, but not without a certain delicacy that comes across as length and finish. For this reason, it pairs well with dishes equally intense in flavor. Meat dishes are best roasted or braised, tender and melting. Roast fowl, roast lamb, or game birds. Game, braised or stewed, will prove a worthy partner. As for cheeses, medium flavored, soft-centered cheeses like Reblochon or Vacherin will make a good match.

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