In 1847, the village of Gevrey annexed Chambertin to its name. The local growers had hoped that their wines would benefit by being associated with the villages most famous vineyard. Over the next century, the majority of the other main winegrowing villages of the Cote d’Or followed Gevrey’s lead. The residents of Morey decided in 1927 to do the same, but it was not clear which vineyard should be chosen. None of the grand cru in Morey stood head and shoulders above the others. After much debate, Clos Saint-Denis was selected, in part because of its elegant pronunciation. While the Morey-Saint-Denis certainly does have a nice ring to it, Clos-Saint-Denis may not have been the proper choice. An argument can made that either Clos de Tart or Clos de la Roche are the best vineyard in the village, but perhaps the truest expression of Morey is revealed in the wines of the Clos des Lambrays.
When the vineyards of Burgundy were classified in 1936, the individual landowners were asked to submit applications for any plots to be considered for grand cru status. The proprietor of the Clos des Lambrays, however, did want to be bothered with the necessary paper work and the vineyard was declared a premier cru. The Clos des Lambrays was eventually elevated to the grand cru level in 1981, but by then it had fallen into disarray. A large portion of the vines had to be uprooted and the wines bearing the name of the Clos suffered as a result. Recent vintages, however, have begun to live up to their grand cru status and to the legendary reputation the vineyard enjoyed in the 1940’s and 1950’s.
The terroir of the Clos desLambrays, 8.84 hectares in total, is complex. Three separate micro climates are recognized within the Clos. The largest section and the heart of the vineyard, is called either Clos des Lambrays or Les Larrets (5.72 ha). Les Bouchots (1.99 ha) is the name given to the northern portion of the Clos, while Meix Renier (1 ha) occupies the small, southeastern corner. No grand cru in Morey extends as far up the hill and unlike the neighboring climats, the soil in the Clos des Lambrays contains a high percentage of limestone. The resulting wine is profoundly elegant and the pure flavors are underpinned by a strong sense of minerals. Clos des Tart, Lambrays’ famous neighbor to the south, produces a big wine full of red fruits. The wine from the Closdes Lambrays, however, reveals a blue fruit that some feel is the quintessential flavor of Morey. Saint-Denis certainly rolls off the tongue, but perhaps it would have been more appropriate if the village had re-named itself Morey-des-Lambrays.