The launch of ‘Vins d’Exception’ in November by LVMH threw a spotlight on four of their illustrious properties: Château Cheval Blanc, Château d’Yquem, Colgin Estate, and Domaine des Lambrays. This election to an elite club by the world’s richest man would seem to confirm the status of the Clos des Lambrays at the pinnacle of the Burgundy pyramid, yet this was not always the case.
Numerous sources cite 1365 as the year the Clos des Lambrays was founded, yet the origins remain obscure. The eminent Burgundian historian Jean-François Bazin notes the name is that of the noble Lambrey family from the Haute-Saône, but explains that it was not known as a clos until the mid-19th century, calling it ‘in some ways the Mouton-Rothschild of Burgundy’. The comparison is apt: a superb terroir, yet one that was only recently recognised as great since Lambrays was only promoted to grand cru status in 1981.
Scroll down for 16 vintages of Clos de Lambrays dating back to 1926
The vineyard has seen the ebb and flow of fortune over time. Sold as the property of the state during the French Revolution, it was divided among no fewer than 75 owners. Bazin explains that the parcels were reunited in 1828 by local negociant Louis Joly, who repaired the 17th-century home on the property before selling it to another local negociant, Albert Rodier.