Corton, Clos des Vergennes, Ladoix-Serrigny.

ismissed in just a few lines by Dr Lavalle in 1855, Ladoix-Serrigny has a history of being overshadowed by the more well-known villages on the Côte d’Or. At the time of Lavalle’s book ”Histoire et Statistique de la Vigne et des Grands Vins de la Côte d’Or” many of the slopes were covered in trees. He did, however, point out that the vines bordering on Aloxe-Corton produced wines not without qualities.

Since then Ladoix, or Ladouée as Lavalle spelt it, has become a good hunting ground for good value for money burgundies. The trees are long gone and the Ladoix appellation now covers about 90 hectares, which is about about one third of the size of Nuits-Saint-Georges.

The Beaune-Dijon crossing La Lauve in Ladoix-Serrigny– Much has been done in order to promote Ladoix-Serrigny and its wines, but more is needed, says Michel Mallard at Domaine Michel Mallard in Ladoix-Serrigny. Many people don’t even know that it is in Burgundy, let alone at the foot of the Corton hill.

– Especially the Americans have realised that Ladoix is very good value for money, says Pierre Cornu at Domaine Edmond Cornu in Ladoix-Serrigny. It is not very well-known, so you are not paying for the name, just the quality.

Coming from the north, this is the first stop on the Côte de Beaune. For once the two part name does not refer to a vineyard. The village Ladoix-Serrigny is really one village – Serrigny – and two hamlets – Ladoix and Buisson. Ladoix is just at the foot of the Corton hill, with Buisson just to the north. Serrigny, further out on the plains, is less focused on wine-growing. In total about 1800 people live here. There is a dozen or so domaines and one distillery.

Aloxe-Corton, Les Maréchaudes and Ladoix-Serrigny.The Beaune-Dijon road runs straight through Ladoix. This is where you will find the commerce – a grocery store, a baker's, a tabac, a few restaurants and a florist's. The name Ladoix comes from the old French word for spring (of water) – la douix. Both Ladoix and Buisson were first mentioned in writing in 1305, being old properties of the Hospices de Beaune. The church in Serrigny dates back to the 13th century and as you leave Ladoix heading towards Beaune there is the chapel Notre-Dame du Chemin on the left side of the RN74. The chapel dates back to the 11th century and was partially restored by the duke of Burgundy Philip the Good in the 15th century.

The Ladoix vineyards are the continuation to the north of the Corton hill, leading all the way up to the Corgoloin border. Ladoix-Serrigny shares the Corton hill and its grand cru land with Aloxe-Corton and Pernand-Vergelesses. The Ladox-Serrigny part of the Corton appellation includes Hautes Mourottes, Rognet, Grandes Lolières, Clos des Vergennes and Les Vergennes.

One step down, on premier cru level, is a peculiarity. Ladoix-Serrigny is not only blessed with one set of premier crus, but two. Mid-slope and at the bottom of the Corton hill, bordering on the grand crus are five premier crus – Les Moutottes, Les Petits Lolières, La Coutière, La Toppe au Vert, La Maréchaude and Le Clos des Maréchaudes – which, despite being in the commune of Ladoix-Serrigny, are Aloxe-Corton premier crus.

Ladoix, Burgundy.In addition to this there are the Ladoix premier crus. Next to the grand crus you have Bois Roussot, Les Joyeuses, Les Carrières and Basses Mourottes. Further up the slope, just below the forest is a is a group – Le Rognet, En Naget and Les Gréchons et Foutrières. Up behind Buisson, at the northern end of the appellation you have Le Clou d’Orge, La Corvée, Les Buis and La Micaude.

– Take La Corvée and Le Bois Roussot, says Pierre Cornu. These two are examples of the different characters within Ladoix. Since Ladoix is at the northern end of the Côte de Beaune parts of the appellation have soil similar to the Côte de Nuits. This produces wines that are more powerful, bigger and more generous.

– La Corvée is a powerful wine, very concentrated with a touch of blackberries and dark in colour. It’s a Côte de Beaune with Côte de Nuits character. Le Bois Roussot is more like the opposite; more elegant, more refreshing, softer. It’s a lovely pinot noir from the Côte de Beaune.

The four premier crus at the northern end of the appellation are all on a gentle slope. La Micaude is the monopole of Domaine Capitain-Gagnerot.

Ladoix, Les Marnées and Le Clou.– La Micaude was the property of the domaine up until 1870 when it was divided between the heirs, says Pierre-François Capitain. My grandfather Roger bought back a large part in 1963 and in 1995 it once again became the monopole of the domaine.

Les Buis is a tiny premier cru, just 0.98 hectare and surrounded on three sides by La Corvée. Domaine Nudant in Ladoix-Serrigny has vines in both Les Buis and La Corvée.

– Both have soil which is chalky clay, says Laure Bollet at Domaine Nudant. Le Buis is slightly more chalky than La Corvée.

Domaine Chevalier in Buisson has another pair of premier crus – La Corvée and Le Clou d’Orge.

– In terms of soil there is really not much difference between the two, says Julie Guyot-Chevalier. Both are chalky clay. But as always in Burgundy the soil is of great importance, even small differences. In our case the vines in Le Clou d’Orge are older – 60 years – than in La Corvée – half are 50 years, half between 10 and 15 years.

Ladoix.Production of white Ladoix is increasing, at the expense of red. Today most Ladoix producers have at least one white Ladoix in their portfolio. About one fifth of the production is white, the rest is red. Some producers offer both white and red from the same climats.

– We are only two owners of Clos Royer, says Michel Mallard. But we are the only ones to make some white Clos Royer as well. It’s a good village appellation, because it’s inside the village. It benefits from the slightly higher temperature this means. It always ripens early.

In addition to the Ladoix appellation the growers can bottle their wine as Côte de Beaune-Villages. This appellation covers many, but not all, of the villages on the Côte de Beaune – Auxey-Duresses, Chassagne-Montrachet, Chorey-lès-Beaune, Ladoix-Serrigny, Meursault, Monthélie, Pernand-Vergelesses, Puligny-Montrachet, Saint-Aubin, Saint-Romain, Santenay, Savigny-lès-Beaune, Cheilly-lès-Maranges, Dezize-lès-Maranges, Sampigny-lès-Maranges and Remigny.

© 2013 Ola Bergman