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Morey-St-Denis


Wine By Region Right Europe Right France Right Burgundy Right Côte de Nuits Right Morey-St-Denis Right Clos des Lambrays   Clos de la Roche   Clos St-Denis   Clos de Tart


Morey-St-Denis is an overlooked area in the Côte de Nuits. The four Grand Cru vineyards, all of which are outstandingly consistent and uncontestably worthy of Grand Cru status, make wines of all different characteristics but undoubtedly outstanding character and depth. Although Morey's own village and Premier Cru-level wines rarely reach the level of these four vineyards, they are underrated and as such can offer good value in this prestigious appellation.

Morey-St-Denis, which combined its original name, Morey, with that of their most prominent Grand Cru, Clos-St-Denis, is the sole village from which the Morey-St-Denis appellation makes its wine. The quiet commune is about 3 square miles, and yields 238 acres of usable village and Premier Cru vineyards, in addition to about 80 for the Grands Crus. There are 20 Premiers Crus; although obscure, many of these are making a name for themselves.

The village and Premier Cru wines are hardly as good as those of the neighboring villages, such greats as Chambolle-Musigny, Gevrey-Chambertin, and Vosne-Romanée, but are nonetheless very good wines. They are generally solid but complex, with the best of the flavor emerging after a good amount of aging. These wines are also reasonably priced, making them a good pick for less aristocratic drinkers.

History

Morey-St-Denis' history seems to be much less lengthy than that of neighboring Gevrey-Chambertin, where exciting developments range all the way back to the 1st century B.C. At some point, the Clos St-Denis vineyard became well-known enough so that the Morey vineyard which contain it took on the name.

Morey-St-Denis was one of the first appellations to be created in 1936, preceding Clos de Tart and Clos des Lambrays. The surprising decision was made to allow white wine, in contrast with most of the other big wine villages of the Côte de Nuits. There is now a small amount of white wine made from Chardonnay; although rare, it seems to have a fair pedigree considering the fact that Chardonnay is hardly at its best here.

Climate and Viticulture

Perfect weather and rainfall conditions make Morey-St-Denis a great area for the production of Pinot Noir; in addition, the top four vineyards are situated at the top of a steep but not overly acute hillside. The Premier Cru and village vineyards are closer to the bottom of the hill, and have less of a slope. The soil is mostly characterized by red clay soil, often very rich in iron, which tends toward a browner tinge in the Grands Crus. In most good vineyard sites character is added by an underlying base of limestone. These are in the preferable vineyards, while some have too much rock and gravel to make good wine out of Pinot Noir.

Grape Varieties

Major Producers

There is something to be said for the prices in Morey-St-Denis. Considering that this is a Côte de Nuits village with 20 Premiers Crus and 4 Grands Crus, one would think that prices would be at least close to those of Chambolle or Gevrey. However, they are usually much lower, with few if any Premier Cru wines costing over $200 and many coming in at $75 or less. The difference between the villages is unclear, but for some reason boutique producers simply stay out of Morey-St-Denis, and a lack of hype about the village has prevented prices from reaching ridiculous levels.

Here are exactly 10 producers who can be counted on for competitively priced, available wine with a high quality pedigree. Reviews of their wines are under the subregions heading.

Subregions

Aside from the 4 Grands Crus, which are of course the most prestigious Morey-St-Denis vineyards, there are a number of great vineyards in Morey-St-Denis. Among village-level lieu-dits, the main one is En La Rue de Vergy. In addition to producing much of the Morey Blanc, it is the source of two very good reds: the one from Domaine Lignier Michelot and the even better Domaine Perrot Minot cuvée. This is a greatly reliable name for elegant but concentrated and well-built wines.

However, most good wines from Morey-St-Denis come from at least the Premier Cru designation (unlike other villages, plain old blended Premier Cru is often as good as specific Premier Cru vineyards.) It is strange, but none of these Premiers Crus really have their own name in the wine world, and Morey has no vineyards like Les Amoureuses in Chambolle or Clos St-Jacques in Gevrey. But several of the 20 following Premiers Crus have a steady reputation and make for wine of good value.

There are also 4 Grands Crus within Morey-St-Denis' walls.

And Morey-St-Denis also has a share of the Côte de Nuits' only vineyard shared between villages.