Richebourg sits in the village of Vosne-Romanée. In total, Vosne-Romanée contains about 200 hectares of vineyards, 8.03 hectares of which are Richebourg.
For centuries, Vosne-Romanée was simply “Vosne” in various spellings and permutations. Its famous vineyard, Romanée, was not appended until more recently in 1866.
The word Vosne was formerly Vaona, and this name can be traced back to a Gaillic word: either wadana, which means water, or vidumos, which means forest; and certainly, Vosne-Romanée is a forest… of vines.
Romanée came to be the name of a vineyard when Ceasar drafted Gauls from Vaona (now Vosne), and later gifted them vineyards in return for their army service. One of the gifted vineyards was named after Rome.
In more recent history, the area experienced about two centuries of hardships, starting with the Austrian occupation of Vosne in 1814 and 1815. The region suffered again in 1870 during the Franco-Prussian War, and still again later with phylloxera, two World Wars, and a global recession.
Before 1924, Richebourg was two separate vineyards: Les Richebourg and Les Verroilles sous Richebourg. Joining the vineyards in 1924 ignited a heated debate in the area. The two climats are different in several ways: Les Richbourg has vines planted latitudinally, so it gets sun all day long and usually ripens before Les Verroilles. Les Verroilles has vines planted longitudinally and the wines from here usually have a slightly different pH. In a cooler year, you might get better fruit from Les Richebourg, but in a warmer year, Les Verroilles might be slightly more desirable.
The Les Richebourg climat was Church owned by the Cistercian Abbey of Citeaux before the French Revolution, and in 1791 the Abbey sold the Les Richebourg to a lucky man named Jean Focard (he also bought the Clos de Vougeot!).
Despite their differences, in 1924 the vineyards were joined together under the name Richebourg, bringing the Richebourg vineyard to a total of just over 8 hectares, and today several producers bottle together the wine from their holdings in both climats.
Soon after, in 1936, Richebourg was named a Grand Cru AOC — it was one of the first AOCs. Today, the Richebourg vineyard is flanked on two sides by La Romanée, La Romanée Conti Vineyard, and La Romanée Saint-Vivant vineyard, with Premier Cru vineyards on the other sides.
After about two centuries of troubling times due to wars, pests and recessions, in the mid-1900s this vineyard experienced a sort of renaissance with the wines of Henri Jayer, who leased the Meo Camuzet plots for over four decades.
Wines from this area often produce deep, rich, intense and almost smokey wines.
Keep listening to hear more from one producer who works with about .35 hectares of Richebourg…
About Erin Scala: Originally from Virginia’s wine country, Erin Scala’s earliest memories of wine include picking and crushing grapes as a child. Scala moved to Manhattan in 2008 and had fun working at PUBLIC, a one-Michelin star restaurant in Nolita, and their adjacent bar, The Daily. She was inspired by the restaurant’s Australian and New Zealand-focused wine list, and in 2013, was honored by Wine Enthusiast in their “40 Under 40” feature for the depth of her selections from the region. After a stint at The Musket Room, Erin moved to Charlottesville, Virginia to run the wine program at Fleurie Restaurant and Petit Pois Bistro. When she’s not working on a Warm Up for the podcast, Scala is off in search of a vineyard, drumming, or writing her blog www.Thinking-Drinking.com. You can also follow her on Instagram and Twitter.