North Burgundy. Irancy

Irancy is a small, nice town, that is located on the right bank of Yonna, about four kilometres from the river. It was founded in 900 AD when Abbot Richard, Duke of Burgundy expanded his abbey.

Also, it is one of the most northern French AOCs for red wines. Its specialization is Pinot noir. And it is also the ideal place to understand the idea of terroir.

The town is located at the bottom of the bowl-shaped valley, which slopes are covered with vineyards and cherry orchards. The climate, like in the whole Yonna region, is cold, with snowy winters, and spring frosts. However, hills protect vines from the most severe conditions. Vineyards are located mostly on the south and southwest slopes, where they get more sun. The soil is Kimmeridge limestones, which provides perfect drainage and gives the wine a mineral taste.

The main grape is Pinot noir. According to AOC rules, up to 10% of Cesar varieties can be added to the wine.

Cesar is the rare local grape variety; Burgundy is the place of its origin; and Irancy is almost the only place, where it can be found (Chili also grow a little bit of Cesar). It is a hybrid of Pinot noir and the ancient Spanish variety Argant, and it exists for about 2000 years. The legend says that it was brought into Burgundy by Romans, and from this, its name comes. More likely, the Romans brought Argant from Spain to Burgundy, where it crossed with Pinot noir.

Cesar is a variety with high pigment and tannin amounts, and it is used to add colour and structure to the wines of weak vintages (it happens in a such cold climate).

Irancy wines require 3-5 years to the age, but many vintages can improve up to 10 years.

Very long time Irancy was under the deep shade of its famous brother Cote d’Or. However, Irancy’s winemakers carefully improved the quality of their wines, so, in 1999 the region was granted AOC status, and now Irancy’s Pinot noir is a good alternative to its southern brother. Especially, counting much more reasonable price.

If you are travelling to those places, it is worth visiting Irancy.

We visited Irancy during our Waters and Wines of North Burgundy travel. There is a convenient landing in Vincelles, from where about 4 kilometres to the Irancy valley. A nice short bike ride that ended in the typical winemaker’s village surrounded by vineyards. The church, old houses, and plenty of cellars. Everybody makes good wine, so, you will enjoy your glass by stopping anywhere.

However, as a first place, I highly recommend Domaine Ferrari. It is a family winery, Ferrari – the name of the owners. I cannot say that they produce something unbelievably perfect compared with other Irancy wineries (although, their wine is very good), but their tasting is a unique possibility to realize the influence of terroir on the wine taste.

Irancy region in this plan is unique – the small valley because of elevation gain (that on the one hand, provides the difference in temperature and wind protection, and on the other hand, the difference in soil saturation with fossils) and almost circle orientation, provides to winemakers the places with different terroir just in one kilometre from each other. They pour you two wines, that are made in one year by the same winemaker completely the same way. Only the grapes came from two neighbourhood vineyards (and you can see these vineyards). And they are different wines. Good different wines. Very illustrative.

They also offer you wine of different vintages, talking about the weather each year.

They even make pure varietal Cesar wine for tastings to show its pure taste and impact into blends. Part of their wines are 100% Pinot noir, and part with 5% Cesar, you also can try and compare.

They tell you a lot about wines and answer all questions, so it is very educational tasting, and very delicious. I was impressed.

Domaine Ferrari also has vineyards in Chablis and Saint-Bris ACs, so they make appropriate wine, that also can be tasted. They also make Rose and Cremant de Bourgogne.

Their tasting room is open according to the schedule, you don’t need an appointment. The tasting is free.

Also, we visited Domaine Benoit Cantin. Nice Irancy. But no interesting talks.

We left Irancy very satisfied, and impressed, with baskets full of wines.

More photos of Irancy.

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