To support the restoration of Cîteaux Abbey – the birthplace of the Cistercian Catholic order – in Burgundy, Sotheby’s is holding a charity wine auction in April with Château du Clos de Vougeot and the Fondation du patrimoine to offer an exclusive cuvée produced by 24 Domaines from the renowned grand cru Clos de Vougeot.
To repair the Définitoire of the historical Cîteaux Abbey, 24 Domaines from the adjacent Clos de Vougeot have donated wines to produce a En Primeur cuvée of the 2020 vintage for the charity auction.
The online auction will open for bidding on 8 April and close at 8pm CET on 23 April. The rare cuvée, currently ageing in two barrels, is set to be released for the first time since 1997 and is only available in this auction.
Château du Clos de Vougeot, or Clos Vougeot, is the largest grand cru vineyard in Côte de Nuits of northern Burgundy, covering 50.9 hectares of land. The chateau lies at the heart of ‘Climats de Bourgogne’, the delimited vineyard on slopes of the Côte de Nuits and the Côte de Beaune listed as World Heritage in 2015 by UNESCO.
Clos Vougeot was acquired by the Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin, France’s most famous fraternity of Burgundy wine connoisseurs, in 1945 and is now serving as the group’s headquarter. It is well-known for its variable wine character as the site is divided into 100 parcels separately owned by more than 80 producers.
The prestige of Château du Clos de Vougeot today has a far connection with the nearby Cîteaux Abbey back to the 12th century. At the time, the monks from the abbey created an initial form of wine estate and expanded with an Renaissance style château in the 16th century.
Deeming the land around Cîteaux was too waterlogged for viticulture, the monks cultivated vines in the village of Vougeot by creating a walled vineyard, or “clos”, that we see today.
Now, the Cîteaux Abbey is left with only three listed historic monuments standing after destruction from the French Revolution. Built in the 17th century, Définitoire is one of the surviving monuments consisting of a large vaulted room to hold the annual assembly of abbots from all over the Cistercian community.
Therefore, the charity auction is providing an opportunity to collect ‘en primeur’ wines produced under the iconic Clos Vougeot appellation and preserve the valuable world heritage site at the same time.
Arnaud Orsel, General Intendant of the Château du Clos de Vougeot, said: “The Château du Clos de Vougeot, headquarters of the “Climats du Vignoble de Bourgogne”, a World Heritage site, has been the property of the monks for more than 700 years. It’s more than fitting for us to put our know-how at the service of the Abbey of Cîteaux by creating and supporting this sale as well as hosting the Charity dinner in our Cistercian cellar.”
Guillaume Poitrinal, President of Fondation du patrimoine, added: “Fully embedded in economic, intellectual and spiritual matters, Cîteaux played a key role in the development of the vineyards of Bourgogne, now recognised as a world heritage site, most especially by founding the Clos de Vougeot vineyard. La Fondation would like to thank in advance each donor as well as the domains, which are all helping to pass on this exceptional heritage to future generations.”
The exclusive cuvée to go under hammer is a rare blend of two barrels and will be bottled in August 2022. It is currently ageing in the cellar of the Château de la Tour, the largest producer of Clos Vougeot, under the supervision of winemaker François Labet, the current President of The Bourgogne Wine Board.
The Cuvée will be offered across 113 lots in three- and six-bottles cases, three-Magnum cases, and a range of large formats from Jeroboam, Methuselah and Salmanazar, to Balthazar of 12L.
Starting prices for the cuvée will range from €600 (US$667) for three bottles upwards to €8,000 (US$8,887) for two Balthazars. The unique cuvée will carry a combined estimate in the region of €700,000 (US$777,637), according to Sotheby’s.
Each bottle will be is adorned with a golden-plated label as an homage to the Cistercian tradition, and the lots will be presented in a specially crafted wooden box.
Alongside the unique cuvée, the auction will also feature a range of exceptional wines and experiences donated by prestigious Domaines in Bourgogne.
All proceeds from the auction will benefit the restoration of the Cîteaux Abbey.
Aubert de Villaine, co-owner of Domaine de Romanee Conti and Honorary President of the Climats du vignoble de Bourgogne, said: “Through the restoration of the “Définitoire” of Cîteaux, we are both safeguarding Burgundy’s heritage and shining a light on a region that is highly valued around the world.”
Jamie Ritchie, Worldwide Chairman, Sotheby’s Wine & Spirits, said: “This is a unique opportunity for collectors to acquire a truly rare and individual wine. Released for the first time since 1997, this cuvée has been produced thanks to the generous donations from twenty-four of the wine growers with vines in Clos de Vougeot.”
“We are very grateful to the Fondation du patrimoine and Clos de Vougeot for allowing us to present this unique cuvée jointly with one-of-a-kind donations, in order to raise funds for one of the most important and historical sites in Bourgogne.”