Posts Tagged ‘J-F. Mugnier’

Clos de la Marechale, Premier Cru: This 9.55-hectare Premier Cru climat of Nuits-Saint-Georges, is a monopole of Domaine J-F. Mugnier.  The Clos is  a walled vineyard that abuts the Beaune-Dijon road (RN 74) as it passes through the commune of Premeaux-Prissey at the southern extremity of the vineyards in the Nuits-St-Georges appellation.  It has been owned by the Mugnier family since 1902 but was under lease to Maison Faiveley until 2004. The slope of the land is very gentle at 5-6%. Facing east, southeast and lying at 240-260 meters , the soil is a rich mixture of limestone, clay, pebbles and sand over a subsoil of pink  Comblanchien limestone. 

Almost the entirety of the vineyard is dedicated to the production of the iconic red Nuits-St.-Georges, Clos de la Marechale,  made entirely from Pinot Noir. There is however, a tiny plot of 400 square meters, situated along the northern edge of the vineyard, which has been planted with Chardonnay, and produces one of the very few Premier Cru white Burgundies in the Côte-de-Nuits.  Prior to 2004, wine from this unique plot had been reserved solely for the Faiveley family but is now available in very limited quantities.

It is occasionally claimed that the  Clos de la Marechale  derives its name from the wife of a Marechale of the Second Empire, during the time of Napoleon III. It must be emphasized, however, that Fred Mugnier, who has thoroughly researched the history,  rejects this derivation and asserts that the origin of the name is unknown.  Prior to its present name, the vineyard was known as the Clos des Forches, which is the name that Domaine Mugnier now uses for the wine made from younger vines.

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Musigny is a Grand Cru vineyard and appellation situated in the commune of Chambolle-Musigny in the Côte de Nuits sector of  Burgundy.  The vineyard lies to the south of the village itself, and borders the Grand Cru Clos de Vougeot in the southeast,  the Grand Cru Échezeaux in the south, and  the Premier Cru Les Amoureuses in the northeast.  The vineyard aggregates a modest 10.86 hectares and lies on a  slope ranging from an 8% to a 14% grade, with  elevations between 260 meters and 280 meters.  The shallow brown topsoil, which averages only 20cm-30cm in depth, is comprised of limestone pebbles and red clay over a limestone base. Similar to Les Bonnes Mares, Musigny is bifurcated by a path into a northern section, Grand Musigny, and a southern section, Les Petits Musignys, which is a monopole of the Domaine Georges de Vogüé. Grand Musigny, which faces southeast, is mostly limestone with some clay. The southern section, Les Petits Musignys,  faces south and is comprised of a higher proportion of clay. Musigny produces exclusively Pinot Noir-based red Burgundy, except for a tiny parcel of  Les Petits Musignys from which Vogüé produces a precious white wine from Chardonnay, the only one in the Côte de Nuits entitled to be labelled as Grand Cru.

It is beyond dispute that Le Musigny is one of the greatest vineyards in the world. The name derives from a Gallo-Roman settlement, Musinus, which was itself likely named after a once important but now forgotten Roman. The climat was cultivated at least by the 8th century. Certainly, by the time that the Abbey of Cîteaux founded the Clos de Vougeot in 1110, the vineyard was already producing legendary wine.

Clive Coates has written that Musigny produces red wine that “can be quite simply the most delicious to be found in Burgundy…. With … its incomparable breed, depth, originality and purity on the finish, a great Musigny is heaven in a glass.”  Perhaps more poetically, the Burgundian Gaston Roupnel wrote that “Le Musigny à l’odeur d’un jardin sous la rosée, … de la rose et de la violette à aurore.”  [“Musigny has the scent of a garden in the morning dew of the rose and violet dawn.”]

Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé owns 7.12 hectares of Musigny, almost 65.6%, including the entirety of Les Petits Musignys. The Vogüé wines set the standard of excellence, although Domaine Jacques-Frédéric Mugnier (with 1.13 hectares) produces equally-inspired and distinctive Musigny. Equally superb examples of Musigny,  each with its own hallmark, come from tiny parcels owned by Domaine de la Vougeraie (.21 hectares), Domaine Leroy (.27 hectares), and Domaine Georges Roumier (.10 hectares).

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Bonnes Mares is a 15-hectare Grand Cru climat that straddles the border of Chambolle-Musigny (where 13.5 ha are located ) and Morey-St-Denis (the remaining 1.5 ha). The vineyard is situated north of the village of Chambolle-Musigny, and borders the Route des Grands Crus in the east and Clos de Tart in the north. The east-facing vineyard lies on a very gentle slope that varies only between 265 and 300 meters in elevation. Bonnes Mares is bifurcated geologically, with the northern half (the Morey side) – called terres rouges — comprised of heavier soil with a larger component of clay; and the southern half – called terres blanches — comprised of lighter soil, with a greater concentration of rocks and limestone, and containing an abundance of fossilized seashells. The wines coming from the two sections differ considerably, with terres rouges producing more robust and sturdy wines, while the terres blanches wines more delicate  and elegant.  In either case, as Clive Coates has written, the wines are hardly Chambolle-Musigny. Instead Bonnes-Mares is sui generis: wine that is fully-textured, deep, tannic and rich.

The name Bonnes-Mares likely derives from a cloistered order of Cistercian nuns (the good mothers) that lived nearby. A more charming etymology suggests that the name derives from a now-lost bas relief unearthed that portrayed a trinity of Roman goddesses of the harvest whose images protected the vineyard.

Distinguished proprietors of the vineyard include Comte Georges de Vogüé, J-F. Mugnier, Vougeraie, and Georges Roumier.

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 Chambolle-Musigny is a wine appellation that includes some of the finest French Burgundy wine. Wine so labeled must come from vines planted in the commune of Chambolle-Musigny, which is situated in the Côte de Nuits region of the Côte-d’Or department in Burgundy in eastern France.

Chambolle-Musigny is a generally square-shaped commune lying  between Vougeot to the north and Morey-Saint-Denis to the south. The Grône River, flowing southeasterly, bisects the commune as it runs from the heights above the village through a natural valley (“combe”) toward the RN 74. Two slopes  rise from the river valley at either end of the commune. The name “Chambolle” derives from the Latin campus ebulliens, or boiling field (champ bouillant), which was apparently descriptive of the Grône when swollen and overflowing its banks into the adjoining fields after a rainstorm.

The commune does nor appear to have been settled in antiquity and first emerges in the historical records around 1110 as “Cambolla,” a vineyard area run by the ubiquitous monks of Citeaux. From the early 14th century until the early 16th century, Chambolle was a vicarage of Gilly-les-Citeaux.

The vineyards of Chambolle-Musigny occupy 180.31 ha, of which 94.69 produce village-level Chambolle. There are 61.36 ha  of premier cru Chambolle divided among 24 different climats, although only a few of these are well known. The best known is Les Amoureuses, which is essentially a Grand Cru in all but name. The best of the rest include Les Charmes, Les Fuées and Les Cras. There are 24.24 ha in Chambolle that contribute to the commune’s two Grands Crus, Musigny and Bonnes Mares. Virtually the entire production of the commune is red. Only one tiny and rare cuvée of white, Le Musigny blanc from Comte Georges de Vogüé.

Chambolle-Musigny is unique in the Côte de Nuits for the chalky composition of its soils (unlike the clay soils prevalent elsewhere). The thin, calcareous layer clings to a hard rocky soil beneath, which stresses the vines and sharply restricts their yield.  These soils are largely responsible for Chambolle-Musigny’s exceptional delicacy and finesse.  

The most respected sources of fine Chambolle-Musigny include Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé, Domaine J-F. Mugnier, and Domaine Georges Roumier.

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