Clos de la Roche

Lucien Michel | January 30, 2021

Some of the Finest Producers from this Rocky Vineyard


The 16.9 hectares of vines that constitute Clos de la Roche Grand Cru today, were once a much smaller appellation. In the 19th century, it just covered 4.6 hectares, then in 1936 during the Grands Crus classifications, they incorporated many more parcels that were considered Deuxième Cuvée by Dr Lavalle’s original classification. As often with the largest Grand Crus, the quality can vary considerably. The difference between a plot situated at the bottom of the slope versus the middle or top, with more water drainage, as well as the sun exposition and soil composition are some elements that affect this quality: the location of a Domaine’s plot is therefore key, but a talented vigneron can also do better job with a lesser plot, than an owner better whose vines may be situated but has less ability. 

 At Sotheby’s, we focus on the growers that we believe produce a wine worthy of this famed appellation: from the original and established estates, to the more modern producer. 

Clos de La Roche has provided me with some of the finest and most interesting tasting experiences from Morey-St-Denis. I recall how impressed I have been by the finesse and age worthiness of some of these wines, and they have remained etched in my memory. With more structure than the Grand Crus of Chambolle-Musigny, these usually need longer aging to fully express the wild aromatics that are so singular to this appellation. They express a certain earthiness and minerality that is very attached to this rocky terroir. 

The largest owner of Clos de La Roche and the benchmark producer is Domaine Ponsot. The Vieilles Vignes cuvée is a reference point for the vineyard, with the very old vines bringing so much depth to the already powerful and exotic style they produce. 

Rousseau’s Clos de La Roche illustrates the Domaine’s signature, being highly perfumed and intoxicating. Hubert Lignier is a personal favorite. I just love the balance and quality of fruit that he manages to pick year on year - they definitely need some time as well, but once ready, they really sing. 

A Domaine that has gained attention recently is Domaine Coquard Loison-Fleurot, with  an appealing and modern approach to this vineyard. The wines already show well in their youth and represent a value proposition that is very tempting. 

We also have on offer a rare bird: Jacky Truchot’s Clos de la Roche 2005. This late pioneering vigneron was at the forefront of purity of fruit in red burgundies. His highly sought-after wines are rarely seen these days - for the true collectors only!