Today’s Clos de Tart was acquired in 1141 by the Cistercian nunnery of Nôtre-Dame de Tart.
Originally called La Forge, the wall around the vineyard was built in the 15th century, entitling it to be called a clos. Clos de Tart was confiscated from the Church following the 1789 French Revolution and in 1791 acquired uncontested at auction by local wine merchant Nicolas-Joseph Marey.
At the same auction the Marey family, later Marey-Monge, bought the entire Romanée-Saint-Vivant vineyard. The second change in ownership, in 1932, took place against a backdrop of global depression. Clos de Tart was bought by the Mommessin family, again at auction, for 400,000 francs.
The Mommessins ran a successful négociant house in Mâcon, which was eventually sold to Boisset in the 1990s. Jules Lavalle’s 1855 Plan Topographique of the Côte d’Or named one Tête de Cuvée vineyard in Morey-Saint-Denis: Clos de Tart. In part thanks to this, Clos de Tart was granted Burgundy’s highest status in the grand cru decree of 1939.
Following the bestowal of grand cru status in 1939, the Clos’ wall was extended to include some adjoining vines. In 1965-6, an additional 0.278 hectares was added from Bonnes-Mares: vines which, despite being in Chambolle-Musigny, were within the walls of the Clos.
Behind the white limestone walls of the domaine, sloping up and away from the Route des Grands Crus, are the 7.53 hectares of Clos de Tart. The gently sloping vineyard faces east, making it something of an anomaly in the village. The vines run north-south, perpendicular to the slope rather than up and down. As well as giving a unique sun exposure, this protects against erosion.
Although this is one contiguous vineyard, the soil composition varies greatly. The Clos’ clay-limestone soils comprise three distinct soil types, from three geological eras. The first of these is calcaires à entroques, loose limestone-rich fossilised marine animals. Second is white marl, a deep layer of which runs through the mid-slope section.
Finally, there is a layer of very hard, compacted Prémeaux limestone. The cuvées change every year, but there is some correlation with these soil types. The average vine age is over 60 years, with some vines being over 100 years old. The domaine has a nursery at the bottom of the village which provides new vines when replanting is necessary.
Planting density is high: 11,000 vines per hectare on average, with the younger vines having been planted at 12,500.
The resulting competition for nutrients encourages the roots to dig deeper.Only the five best bunches per vine are retained during green harvesting in August. The Clos has practised organic viticulture since 2015, with 2018 being the first vintage to have been certified organic. It was also certified biodynamic in 2019, having introduced biodynamic practices in 2016.
Production tends to average 23-30 hectolitres per hectare (hl/ha). 2016 was the domaine’s largest crop since 1999, at 35 hl/ha. 2017 and 2018 both came in at 32 hl/ha and 2019 at 30 hl/ha. By comparison, 2020 was painfully below average, at a mere 19.7 hl/ha.