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Clos St-Denis

Wine By Region Right Europe Right France Right Burgundy Right Côte de Nuits Right Morey-St-Denis Right Clos St-Denis

Clos St-Denis is the Grand Cru whose name the village of Morey took on, in kind with Chambolle's usage of the Musigny name, Gevrey's usage of the Chambertin name, Flagey's usage of the Échezeaux name, Vosne's usage of the Romanée name, and other instances across the Côte de Beaune. The vineyard is much smaller than Clos de la Roche and Bonnes-Mares, and at only 14.8 acres is even smaller than the near-monopole Clos des Lambrays. The small area and many owners means that each owner owns only a small share, making individual production lower and expense greater. The results of these majestic vineyards? About 2,000 cases each year.

The competition between Clos St-Denis, its neighboring Clos de la Roche, and the much smaller, single-owner Clos des Lambrays and Clos de Tart is quite beneficial to Burgundy hounds due to the reduction of prices and the increase in quality. Due to their proximity these vineyards would seem to rival each other for market share. In reality, though, the expression of terroir among the Grands Crus is different enough so that the choice is easy for those who know what styles they like.


Clos St-Denis took its name from the Chapter of St-Denis--another tie-in between early French religion and wine. When it was named in the 13th century by the church, the Clos really was surrounded by walls. Initially small and exclusive, it grew over the years to become a vineyard divided between a number of owners.

In 1936, the Clos absorbed parts of several Morey Premiers Crus, which increased the size of the vineyard greatly. When the AOCs were created in 1936, Clos St-Denis was considered indubitably better than Clos de la Roche and thus the best Morey Grand Cru, as Clos de Tart, the former leader, had fallen into obscurity at that time.

Nowadays, consumers are far more excited about Clos de la Roche's wild, earthy wines than they are about Clos St-Denis' more understated, silky Pinots. Fans of the style still rely on Clos St-Denis, but the general trend toward bolder wines has unfavorably affected this vineyard.

Climate and Viticulture

The Clos St-Denis vineyard is lower on the slope from Clos de la Roche. While the slopes are not nearly as acute as those of Clos des Lambrays, they are fairly sharp, and this may make up a large part in the significant difference between these apparently similar vineyards.

Clos de la Roche is named after its rock content, and Clos St-Denis has similar small stones, but the soil is less chalky and darker, with mostly clay at the top but underlined by a solid, concentrated limestone bank. It's true Grand Cru stuff, and the best wines declare their terroir without ambiguity to those who know how to detect it.

Grape Varieties

Major Producers

Clos St-Denis has many producers, and quality is not always guaranteed. Six producers are listed with the additional considerations of price and availability that, we think, represent the appellation well.


There are probably some old administrative lieu-dits left over from the 1936 merging of a few Morey Premiers Crus into the Clos St-Denis appellation, but they are seldom seen on actual wine labels.