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The wine-growing village of Flagey-Échezeaux lies in the " Plain ", so-called, between Vougeot and Vosne-Romanée in the Côte de Nuits. Facing east, the Grands-Échezeaux vines are a prolongation of Musigny following the North-South axis of the Côte, but more regular and less broken in their layout. At the bottom end, the " Climat " known as La Combe d'Orveau separates them from Musigny. The Échezeaux vineyards, for their part, divide the Clos de Vougeot from the Premier Cru vines of Vosne-Romanée.
Grands-Échezeaux and Échezeaux both date their Grands Crus AOCs from July 31, 1937. Like the Clos de Vougeot (from which they are separated only by a wall), they were founded by the monks of the abbey of Cîteaux and date from the 12th and 13th centuries. Their name derives from chesaux, a word of Gallo-Roman origin meaning a group of dwellings, presumably referring to an ancient hamlet.
Belonging geologically to the Jurassic (175 million years BC), the GrandsÉchezeaux vineyards are fairly homogeneous and lie close to the upper part of the Clos de Vougeot. Gradient: 3-4%. Soil: clay-limestone overlying Bajocien limestone. Altitudes: 250 metres. The Échezeaux Climats have more diverse soils (largely bajocien marls with pebbly overlay). Altitudes vary from 230 to a little over 300 metres (13% gradient at mid-slope). Up-slope, the soil is deep (70-80 cm). Gravels, red alluvium, yellowish marl, etc., make up quite a complex mosaic.
Red: its colour is ruby, shading towards the darker tones of magenta and purple. Its bouquet is redolent of animal, spice notes, underbrush, and prune, evolving with age towards musk, leather, fur and mushroom. When young, its aromas suggest rose, violet and fresh cherry. On the palate, there is a heightened attack and an agreeable balance between supple tannins and fully-rounded flavour. The dense texture and tight grain of these wines fully open after 4-5 years in the cellar.
Wines so powerful and full demand to be matched with dishes of the same calibre. Virile, four-sided tannins cry out for roast lamb, rib steak, or joints of game. Autumn and winter dishes in the right setting match the profound and meaty personality of these great wines : braised beef or pork, for example, or any other good red meat. Fine, whole-milk, soft-centred cheeses will also do them proud.
Serving temperature : 15 to 16 °C.
1989 VINTAGE in Burgundy
Weather conditions were exceptional which led to a notably early harvest with perfectly ripened grapes in both colours. The reds with their velvety tannins have a fine colour, showing softer more elegant tendencies than the 88?s. They make a wonderful choice to drink on a special occasion. The whites in general were very precocious; ripe, powerful, rich, generous and well rounded; most should already have been drunk but the Grand Crus are superb for drinking now and over the next few years.
As regards the style of the 1989's, we now have one or two general impressions. The white wines are of great class. The Chardonnay in Burgundy has produced wines with ripe, powerful aromas and rich, generous body tending, in certain cases, almost to unctuosity. Initial comparisons have been drawn with 1971 and perhaps 1964.
The ripening of the Pinot Noir crop was somewhat hindered in several areas by unexpectedly large quantities of second generation grapes and extremely dry conditions. The resulting natural sugar levels were slightly lower than the recent yardstick year, 1985, but the fruit was in perfect condition. Overall quality will be good to very good.
The red wines have fine, deep colour and quite vinous, concentrated fruity aromas. They are well constituted and round and should be capable of ageing well. Initial comparisons have been drawn with 1966 and 1979.
In the Beaujolais, the Gamay has yielded powerful, fleshy wines lacking perhaps the charm of textbook Beaujolais. The wines are reminiscent of the 1978's.