exquisite monopole vineyard, Clos de
la Chapelle, has a long and colorful history, intertwined with the story of the
beautiful chapel, for which it is named, and the historic village of Volnay,
once home of the Dukes of Burgundy. The
chapel vineyard is located directly across the lane from the chapel, and
beneath the walls of the former château of the Dukes of Burgundy.
Clos de la
Chapelle is under the auspices of the Notre Dame de Pitié, to whom it was dedicated
in 1540, when this spacious, Gothic chapel was constructed. The winegrowers'
prayers at the Notre Dame de Pitié are famous for having saved the population
from cholera, which ravaged the region in 1840.
In 1870 and 1871, the Prussians turned away from the village, perhaps in
deference to the chapel and the powers of Notre Dame de Pitié. The chapel, and adjacent cemetery, is a
beautiful and historically significant landmark in the Volnaysian region.
The Dukes of Burgundy constructed a chateau
in Volnay in the 8th century, and successive generations of
dukes visited or resided in Volnay intermittently through the centuries. Robert II (1248-1306), Duke of Burgundy,
received tribute from his barons at the chateau in 1272. His wife, Agnes,
daughter of Saint Louis, lived there as well.
The succession of the Duchess of Burgundy to the throne in 1315 was
celebrated in Volnay and was ordained by Eudes IV, who would later restore the
château's chapel. Today, the mayor and the municipal offices of Volnay occupy the former
Clos de la Chapelle was part of the ensemble
of parcels that previously constituted the Bousse d'Or. This Clos would not take the name of Clos de la Chapelle until 1937 because during the setting up of
appellations, the administration of INAO (National Institute of the Origin and the
Quality) mentioned the vineyard under
the village denomination, Clos des Ducs.
This land parcel was particular in that it was side-by-side with the
Bousse d'Or. Surrounded by walls, it
faced the entrance of the chapel. This
vineyard was thus a seigniorial land and was included in the Bousse d'Or until 1865.
The colorful and meticulously researched
book, Volnay Clos de la Chapelle: The
History of a Vineyard, by Philippe Remoissenet (c 2012) traces the
history (beginning in 1425) of the two parcels that were eventually combined to
become the monopole we know today. "To summarize, the Clos de la Chapelle was
originally part of the Bousse d'Or. One parcel was property of the Brotherhood
of the Saint Sacrément and a second parcel belonged to the Carmelite Nuns of
Beaune. The revolution and the buyback
of ecclesiastical land as national assets resulted in changing ownership. The Pinard family acquired the two entities
that would later be reunited by Victor Boillot."
the domaine's early era, Louis Pasteur requested as many as 50
bottles of wine from Victor Boillot as samples to use
in his research and testing of wine diseases. The Emperor (Napoleon III)
recognized Pasteur's research as "being capable of saving millions of francs for France." Pasteur's
letters to Victor Boillot over several decades give details concerning the
alteration of the non-heated wines and arrived at the conclusion that "one heating was enough to protect the wines
from germs and keep them during transportation."
final Domaine Louis Boillot was comprised of three small premier Cru vineyards: Pommard Les Chanlins (très vieilles vignes), Volnay Carelle sous la Chapelle (now known as Volnay En Carelle), and the
monopole Volnay Clos de la Chapelle. With
the addition of 8 additional appellations, all premier cru and Grand Cru, we
now have eleven distinct terroirs at
Domaine Clos de la Chapelle, with a total of 4 hectares in planted