It is not every day one tastes the famed Burgundian Musigny and the Bonnes Mares

Tuesday, 16 April, 2019
Jean Vincent RIDON
Very few Burgundian estates actually reach the Icon status that make wine lovers and collectors make huge sacrifices to access some bottles. Domaine de la Romanée Conti has achieved that stratospheric level of fame. Alongside Domaine Leroy, Domaine Comte George de Vogüé is probably the best runner up on the Burgundian podium.

Created in the 15th century, the estate has been managed by the de Vogüé family since 1766. The fame originates from the almost exclusive ownership of Le Musigny grand cru. Although Roumier, Drouhin, Leroy, Jadot or Mugnier own a few rows of this legendary grand cru, de Vogüe family controls 7.25ha out of the 10.70ha of this vineyard.

Managing a total of just above 12ha, the Domaine is only offering the world of wine a very limited quantity of sought after bottles every vintage. When a tasting is organised in South Africa, needless to say that enthusiastic wine-lovers queue to get a chance to taste these rarities, regardless the price of the event!

Imported by Great Domaines, the possibility to taste this legendary estate was something I could not miss. My grandfather was an avid collector of the Chambolle Musigny Les Amoureuses from de Vogüé, and these wines contributed to my early development to become the sommelier I am now… these pinot wines are my Proustian madeleine! Tasting them again is a pilgrimage.

We tasted 10 wines from the estate, 6 from 2014, a tight but classic elegant vintage, and 4 from 2007 served around a meal paired by Chef Harald Bresselschmidt.

The range is composed of two grand crus, the famed Musigny and the Bonnes Mares, a Chambolle Musigny “Les Amoureuses”, a Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru which is actually Musigny Grand cru young vines declassified because they are less than 25 years old, and the Chambolle Musigny communal appellation. On the top of these already rare red wines from Pinot, we were offered the ultra-rare chardonnay coming from the 0.6ha in grand cru Musigny. Legally Musigny Blanc grand cru, the estate declassified it to simple Bourgogne Blanc between 1994 and 2015, because the vines were to young to express their grand cru status. With less than 3000 bottles produced every year, the Musigny Blanc is one of the most sought-after wines of the world, regardless the appellation claimed on the label.

Presented by Jean-Luc Pépin, the estate manager, and commented by Remington Norman MW, the wines came straight from the estate, a guarantee of perfect handling. In a true Burgundian way, pinot was tasted before chardonnay.

Chambolle Musigny 2014

The village bottling of Chambolle Musigny incorporates two small blocks of 1er cru, “Les Fuées” and “Les Baudes”, producing too little each to be bottled on their own. Very shy nose, a touch of vanilla, slightly reductive, black cherries but a surprisingly textured palate that made me think the wine may have been fermented with stems, which is not the case. This touch of green peppercorn is a bit hard on the balance of the wine, and may probably integrate with time, but at this stage it did not show the silky trademark of the appellation.

Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru 2014

These declassified grand cru grapes from Musigny offer a very exciting acid cherry, lilac and yellow plum nose to them; blossom with a very juicy palate, silkier than the Village with bright vibrant fruit although the acidity seems to be lower, probably due to the young age of the vines. 

Chambolle Musigny Les Amoureuses 2014

Les Amoureuses almost enjoys a grand cru status among collectors. While the nose is shy like many 2014 wines are, it almost displayed a touch of volatility (many 2014 had a bad fruit fly year in cote de nuits) supporting spices and intense fruits like pomegranate, raspberry and black currant. Suave and silky, the palate offers a juiciness associated with the best Chambolle, and already displays multiple layers of complexity probably caused by the older vines of the premier cru classified block.

Bonnes Mares 2014

Red currant, violet with touch of cocoa and coconut, luscious and generous on the nose, the tannins are very tight, a touch vegetal but the texture is so fine and vibrant. Long on the palate, the wine is very supple, probably because the 2.75ha de Vogüé owns in the Bonnes Mares is on the red clay side of the block, always providing more suppleness and lower acidity than the more limestone side of the cru where producers like my mentor Bruno Clair grows less luscious but tighter Bonnes Mares.

Le Musigny 2014

Only made from old vines, Le Musigny is a sleeper commonly reaching its peak after 30 or 40 years of bottle maturation. Wild strawberries, raspberries, cherry with a touch of brambleberry give this wine a unique complex nose. Less generous than the Bonnes Mares, the austere palate is extremely long and lingering, with packed tight integrated tannins, confirming that this 2014 is a long term elegant investment.

Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru 2007

Still very fresh for an 11 years old wine, with a vibrant structure, balanced between the red fruits and the supple palate, this is a great example of very good Chambolle Musigny. Not impressive, this wine is pure seduction, and incredible balanced precision. I may not keep it for 20 years as it starts to show its grand cru lineage with a very approachable structure. Yummy wine!

Bonnes Mares 2007

Black cherry juice, blueberry and a touch of Turkish delight, this 2007 Bonnes Mares shows spices and floral tones introducing a muscular body! Velvety and powerful, lower in acidity, it may be confused with a warmer vintage than the cool 2007. With Grenadine fruit and a citrussy long finale, this wine still has great ageing potential; however, I could finish a bottle just telling myself that I love my life! Now!

Le Musigny 2007

This wine is far from being ready! Very fresh shy nose, a touch of pepper mint, barely ripe raspberries, iris flower scents, the aromas are so tight introducing violet and a touch of fine spices. The palate shows slightly more generosity but still very closed and un-giving. The give away clue is the length of the wine. As a sommelier I often use the Caudalie scale to measure wines, 1 second of aromatic persistence on the palate equals 1 Caudalie. With this Musigny Vielles Vignes (for old vines) we reach over the 20 units mark… If I was 25 years old, I would buy one bottle to drink on my 50th birthday, therefore I have to start searching for a 1978 Musigny for my birthday next month! This is a massive collector’s wine.

Bourgogne Blanc 2014

Honestly a slight disappointment in the light of the fame of this rarity. The alcohol is very perceivable and the over-ripeness is barely hidden by the length of the wine. Rich, fat with pineapple and buttery aromas I would have identified this wine as coming from California rather than north Burgundy. Enjoyable but it was not the life of the party!

Bourgogne Blanc 2007

Much more exciting, displaying wax, honeysuckle, limoncello and elegant hazelnuttiness, the richness of the wine was more subtle with a real balance… so different from a Montrachet or a Corton Charlemagne, chardonnay from this only white Cote de Nuits grand cru vineyard  may remotely relate to a Bienvenue Batard Montrachet than to anything I could pinpoint… feeling privileged to share one of the 2800 bottles produced from this almost never seen wine! Now I need to see if I can cash my Eskom tender contracts to buy one bottle of it.


Thank you to the Team of Great Domaines for making this world class tasting available to SA wine lovers, although many of us cannot buy a bottle even if we had the money (these wines are under strict allocation, I listed to purchase one bottle of Musigny 2016 for my sons 50th birthday, in vain…)

There were 36 of us lucky people, sharing these wines at Auslese in Cape Town, a day to remember…



Jean Luc Pepin & Derek Kilpin (Great Domaines)
Jean Luc Pepin & Derek Kilpin (Great Domaines)

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