Jean-Claude Boisset: Five Years Later
In 2014, during my last visit to the Jean-Claude Boisset domain, the winemaker Grégory Patriat was excited to let me know about the grandiose project that would forever change the face of the domain. The works were only starting and, even then, we knew that it would be something unique, notably by choosing Frédéric Didier as the architect of the project (he was in charge of the renovation project of Versailles), and the geobiology consultant in the person of Georges Prat – it was their first winery project. Originally from Burgundy, they associated their competences in patrimony and heritage to create a contemporary, yet traditional winery, between “vineyard and city”.
Here we are, five years later, with the majestic winery in front of our eyes – it’s the first term that comes to my mind. This project is one of the most important architectural realizations of Burgundy in terms of wineries. Until then, Burgundy winemakers had decided to go for functionality and technique, rather than prioritizing the aesthetic side of things. With this new project, it is definitely a new step towards combining the artistic aspect to the innovative methods of winemaking. The unusual conception allies the traditional know-how to the constant search of excellence of Grégory Patriat. This is a project that truly shows how much M. Boisset wanted something exceptional that reunited refinement, beauty and authenticity. All of this does not affect the simplicity and the harmony that characterize the winery, built with noble materials that respect the environment. The Ursulines winery was inaugurated just in time for the last harvests of 2018.
This time, during the visit, Gregory shows me the new installations, located on the historical land of the Ursulines convent, built in 1634 and home to members of this community until the French revolution. The visit begins with the exterior and the beautiful green roof that all of Burgundy envies.
This roof of 15 meters high (from which there is a magnificent view of Nuits-Saint-Georges and the Coteaux) is covered with a meter of soil and planted with vines. It is an artificial mountain, with the main objective of marking continuity in the landscape and by placing the vine within the city, explains Gregory.
The winery is round underneath the natural light of the mystical stained glass, alongside its vaulted caves and the dedicated and controlled tasting zone in which no scent or taste can alter the wine.
You can also find a multimedia room in which all of the wines of the domain are presented. The reserve is in the heart of the winery, with white wine casks that surround the area that is fully supported by the “pierre de Corton”, an emblematic stone of the region.
The red wine area, with its lighting that is reminiscent of a starry night, is fully equipped with 54 casks disposed in a circle.
These casks are filled from the top, and on the lower levels, all of the treasures of the past are buried in cellars; many of these products date back to the 18th and 19th centuries!
After visiting the grand domain, it is time for the gardens in which the vortex, the telluric and the historical elements meet; these gardens are incredibly inviting and all that we want to do is stop by and observe all of fine details of this unique and magnificent construction. It is a vibrant area in which the human energy meets its cosmos counterpart in order to create excellence. These long alleys covered with arches are reminiscent of the old Ursulines convent, alongside the stones that cover the walls that were placed, one by one, by hand, over a very long period of time.
These long alleys covered with arches are reminiscent of the old Ursulines convent, alongside the stones that cover the walls that were placed, one by one, by hand, over a very long period of time.
Sumptuous art and collection pieces were carefully selected to embellish the entry hall; this part of the visit is worth it on its own with the beautiful oak staircase that grants access to the winery. The oak, the glass, the stone, the metal and the golden elements unite in this almost religious atmosphere: truly a wonder! The casks are thermo regulated, because there is no air conditioning in the winery; the green roof offers very good isolation, Gregory insisted.
Soon, the house next to winery will be magnified; there are already plans to create a small sister to the Ursulines that were pushed away during the French revolution. Indeed, a construction permit was recently obtained to bring this project to life. This permit would allow for the creation of an even more extraordinary and unique building, built on top of the actual dome in which the cosmic energies would circulate. Built in pink stones from the neighboring village (Premeaux), the dome will be placed inversely to its counterpart in a double ellipse movement. One thing is for certain: the “new mountain of Nuits-Saint-Georges” will surely not fall out of popularity anytime soon.