The French word, monopole means monopoly. In the wine (mostly Burgundy) world, monopole refers to the single vineyard owned by a single owner. It is a rare case in Burgundy for a domaine to own a single vineyard. This is mainly due to the restrictive inheritance law in France, which requires family assets to be bequeathed to ALL heirs, leading to many vineyards so finely divided among several owners (often cousins, siblings, in-laws). Some of the most famous monopoles in Burgundy include La Tache and Romanee-Conti, both owned by Domaine de la Romanee-Conti.
In most instances, the monopole vineyard is the crown jewel of a domaine, and winemaker tends to pay most attention to it. This is certainly the case for Domaine Marquis d’Angerville, and its monopole - Clos des Rucs Premier Cru in Volnay.
D’Angerville is among the greatest names in Burgundy, not only a world-class, but a truly revolutionary, winemaker. In 1920s, Jacques, the grandfather of the current producer began domaine bottling as he was unsatisfied with the corrupt blending practices of the negociants at the time. This practice was later joint by many superstars in Burgundy (e.g. Henri Gouges, Armand Rousseau) and literally started the biggest revolution ever in Burgundy. Jacques’ son, also named Jacques, continued the tradition and produced some of the finest wines in Volnay with exceptional elegance and ageing potential.
Of the 15 hectare of vineyards, mostly located in Volnay, Cos des Rucs Premier Cru monopole takes up a significant 2.15 hectare. Enjoying good soil, hillside solar-exposure with good drainage, and an underground water reservoir, Clos des Rucs can strive in good or bad weather, producing wines with extra class and concentration. The wine requires grand cru patience - preferably 10 years after bottling - and few hours of waiting after opening.
How does one identify a monopole wine? Some domaines would print “monopole” on their wine labels; for the rest, just like other Burgundy great stories, by research and memory. This is exactly what makes Burgundy fun - a treasure hunt for wine collectors.