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November 24, 2005

A morning in Chassagne-Montrachet

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On Saturday morning we met up with Francois Lequin-Colin in Chassagne-Montrachet. He’s a young gun and was in great form as the evening before he had been awarded “Young Burgundian Wine Maker 2005”.

Francois studied wine making at UC Davis in California before working for two vintages in California. His wines are definitely made in a more modern style.

He also explained how hard it was for young people to start up their own production in Burgundy without the family having historically owned vineyards in the region. His father and uncle split up their domaine in 2003 to allow him and his cousin, Bruno to do their own thing. It seems like an inspired move.

He explained that each parcel of vineyard is sold by the ouvree, which is 1/24th of a hectare. The production from each ouvree is one barrel of wine and the value of the ouvree was based on the price of 10 barrels of wine from that particular block. That seems pretty straightforward to me.

The dynamics change significantly when you overlay outside influences.

It has become very fashionable for rich people to own vineyards in Burgundy and the more prestigious the name, the better. Until recently an ouvree of premier cru vineyard in Chassagne-Montrachet would cost about 35-40000 Euros. The price today is over 60000 Euros and is expected to escalate further as more foreign money comes into the region.

Bit of a bummer if you have no vineyards and want to make wine. Not bad if your 29 years old, good looking and own 9 hectares. By my reckoning that make Francois worth about 12-15m Euros. Rock on!

Posted by nick at November 24, 2005 10:31 AM

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