hen you drive to Rully from Bouzeron on the small road that takes you past the hamlet of Agneux you pass right through many of Rully's premier cru vineyards. Rue des Buis takes you in to the main square, Place Sainte-Marie, where you find a grocery store and a hotel/restaurant – Le Vendangerot. Rully is a tranquil village with around 1500 inhabitants.
The Rully vignoble covers 485 hectares and received its village appellation back in 1939. About two thirds of the production is white, one third is red. There are 23 premier crus, all located west of the village except for Clos du Chaigne and Clos Saint-Jacques that are in the neighboring commune of Chagny.
Rully has a long history of making sparkling wine. In the early 19th century Les Frères Petiot, a négociant firm in Chalon-sur-Saône, with landholdings in both Rully and Mercurey, pioneered the production of sparkling wine in this part of France. In 1822 they brought in the 18-year-old François-Bazile Hubert, a cooper's son from Champagne, to oversee the production. Four years later they launched the "Fleur de Champagne – Qualité Supérieure".
Hubert then went on to create his own négociant firm in Rully in 1830. In 1846 the production of sparkling wine in Rully – sold as Champagne mousseux or Bourgogne mousseux – was 36 000 bottles. A century and a half later production is up at two million bottles.
There are two chateaux in Rully - Château de Rully and Château Saint-Michel. The latter is youngest of the two, built in 1870 by Claude Coin. Château de Rully dates back to the 12th century and has been owned by the same family ever since. Its 30 hectares of vineyards has been managed by the big Mercurey firm Antonin Rodet since 1986. The focus is on white wines; 80 percent whites and 20 percent reds. Close to half of the land holdings are premier crus, including the monopole of La Bressande.
© 2013 Ola Bergman