Clos des Varoilles vineyard

Here we are at the Clos des Varoilles vineyard. Which is new for Prieuré Roch, since we only began working it in 2020. We will start selling its new 2020 vintage, in November. This will add two new wines thanks to this large plot here. It's a Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru, the Clos des Varoilles Monopole. It is the largest Gevrey monopole... and one of the five largest monopoles of the Côte... This Clos des Varoilles has been known and recognized since the13th century. Yet I’d never heard of this Gevrey plot, before walking around looking it over... After which, we then integrated it into our 2020 vintages… So we are in La Combe Lavaux, and this plot covers nearly all of the 6 hectares, there’s only a single plot which we haven’t yet acquired… That way goes up towards les Poincenots, and towards la Romanée too, also a plot of Gevrey 1er Cru, with a small extension going towards les Lavaux... Unfortunately on June 21st of this year, this part of Gevrey was seriously hit by heavy storms. It precipitated nearly 100mm in one hour, and we can see how all the soil washed down there. This requires us to replace the earth all over the plot… Many plots around here were hit hard... by heavy rain and unfortunately there was also hail. This means we will have a very difficult sort: it will be among one of our most serious challenges for the vintage 2022. To correctly sort the grapes which have been damaged, some of them quite badly… We can see how the leaves were torn and the grapes were damaged: We will need to sort all the damaged fruit... to avoid having a “hailstone taste”. Each cluster must be sorted grape by grape, this will be an enormous job… Ever since we've had this plot, 2020 to 2022, so this is our third year... so for this plot's first two years, we finished our harvest here. Perhaps it won't be the case this year, but I think it will be, inspite of things. Because hail damaged the vineyard, the vines slowed their growth in reaction, so it needs time to recover. As this plot is located to the farthest north of our Côte plots, we almost hope to finish in this vineyard. Because of the enormous efforts required by the pickers and the sorters... whether in the vineyard or the winery, I can’t imagine them moving after to another vineyard… So I hope we finish up here... They’ll have to remove... remove grapes from each cluster. This we can keep… Just imagine, we'll have to do this for each cluster... for 6 hectares! It’s enormous… Here’s a pretty “cadole”,... It's more than that, it’s a nice house. It will be great for some wine tasting, here at the Clos des Varoilles… For us it’s a new wine, obviously. It's a new wine designation, one we didn’t know... A Gevrey 1er Cru... At least until we began working a hectare of it at the Clos de Bèze... since 1994... It's true the opportunity to be able to work this plot is very exciting… For 2020, we made two wines, following the model of Clos des Corvées... we made a Clos des Varoilles, Monopole, and a Gevrey 1er Cru Vieilles Vignes. What’s interesting is right from this first vintage, we have our “Roch” signature quality in both wines... but there is also the influence of the terroir here. So we have an interesting challenge facing us here. Because right from the first year the wines are very interesting. We put everything we could in terms resources, meaning the people and finances needed to rework the plot to our standards. It was a huge job in the vineyard... to improve the production of this Clos… When we first began, one third of this plot was unproductive. One third of 6 hectares means 2 hectares which produced nothing, We had two full-time workers who relentlessly put things in order here. Meaning Benjamin and Mélanie, who are salaried staff working exclusively here in this vineyard. They’ve done a remarkable job and had excellent first results… Unfortunately, the hail damage influences an otherwise very interesting result. At least for the coming years we count on continuing the work here... and so the quality will continue to improve… Here the idea is to be able to organize... small wine-tasting events for the Clos des Varoilles. Nothing fancy. With an informal snack. To share with importers or customers… Here’s the area hit the hardest: shredding the leave canopy, bruising grape clusters, causing tremendous damage… If you can see this cluster… Here we can see damage from the huge amount of water which fell, more than 100mm in one hour, some retainer walls collapsed, the vineyard's soil eroded so we are leveling the ground... that way we'll be able to use the vineyard tractor. It’s a lot of work to recuperate the soil down there... to move it higher and spread it out in the rows. Let’s not forget the soil is 1er Cru quality, we need to respect it… We’ll then move the soil up through all the rows, little by little.