Lavaux St. Jacques

Lavaut Saint-Jacques (often written Lavaux-Saint-Jacques) is a Premier Cru climat just west of Gevrey-Chambertin village in the Cote de Nuits sub-region of Burgundy. The vineyard, planted to Pinot Noir, is considered one of the best Premier Crus in Gevrey-Chambertin, producing rich, lush examples of red Burgundy.

The 9.5 hectare (23 acre) vineyard sits at the entrance of the Combe de Lavaux, a small valley that cuts into the Cote d’Or.

This valley is important climatically for several reasons. Firstly, it provides slopes with a southern exposure, ensuring the vines are in the sun for a large portion of the day, aiding ripening. Secondly, and quite conversely, it funnels a cold wind from the west into the vineyard area, slowing ripening and bringing about significant swings in diurnal temperature.

Exposure to this wind is the reason that Lavaut Saint-Jacques wines are never held in the same high regard as those from the neighboring climat of Clos Saint-Jacques. The cooler mesoclimate brought about by this wind makes for a slightly leaner style of wine, an effect that is magnified in the vineyards even further into the Combe.

Despite the difference in temperatures, Lavaut Saint-Jacques has a similar soil structure to its more prestigious neighbor, as well as the Estournelles-Saint-Jacques vineyard further up the hill.

Shallow, rocky soils with a high proportion of clay limestone are excellent for Pinot Noir vines, and the slope of the hill gives good drainage. As such, vigor and yield are minimized, directing the vines’ energy instead into the production of high-quality grapes.

The vineyard, like its neighbors, is named for a nearby statue of Saint-Jacques (St. James in English). The statue marks the route of the Saint-Jacques de Compostelle pilgrimage route, taking devotees from around Europe to the shrine of Santiago de Compostella in Galicia, Spain.