The Institut National des Appellations d'Origine, the French governing body that regulates the use of regional names, has approved the consolidation of five premier cru vineyards in the Volnay commune of Burgundy. Soil analyses were conducted to ensure that the newly combined sites share similar characteristics.
Changes in the status or boundaries of Burgundy vineyards are very rare. But this one was lobbied for by the Syndicat Viticole de Volnay, the area's growers association, because Volnay has more than 30 premier cru vineyards, though some are not as well known as others. Reducing the total number is a move designed to help consumer recognition, but also to help growers who farmed some of Volnay's lesser-known areas.
The decision is a result of a petition filed by the Syndicat Viticole de Volnay about 15 years ago, led by the late Gérard Potel of Domaine de la Pousse d'Or. "He and the Syndicat thought that to be known, the climats must be big like Champans, Les Santenots and Clos des Chênes," explained Volnay grower Nicolas Rossignol. "Many of these climats [affected by the changes] were small and not so famous," he added. As a result, growers received less money from négociants who purchased grapes from these lesser-known sites.
In the consolidation, Chanlin will be amalgamated with Pitures; Les Mitans has absorbed En l'Ormeau; and Le Ronceret will now include Les Aussy. Pointes d'Angles and Les Angles become Les Angles; and Carelle-sous la Chapelle and Carelle Dessous will be grouped together as Carelle-Dessous la Chapelle. The changes take effect with the 2006 vintage.
In the neighboring village of Monthelie, 16.6 acres are being added to the existing premiers crus. Elevated to premier cru status are the lieux-dits Les Clous, Le Clou des Chênes, Les Barbières and Le Clos des Toisières. The surface of premier cru Les Riottes is also being increased by 2 acres, bringing it to 10 acres total. These changes also take effect with the 2006 vintage.
Guillaume d'Angerville, proprietor of Domaine Marquis d'Angerville in Volnay, likes the changes. "I own 1.6 acres of l'Ormeau, which I can now call Mitans," he said. In the past, d'Angerville combined l'Ormeau with other small premier cru vineyard parcels to create his Volnay Premier Cru cuvée. "With the change, I may decide to introduce a new Volnay Mitans label for the domaine."