Given time constraints, it is a rare treat to visit domaines every year, but de Vogüé is a place where, personally, it’s about learning and understanding, rather than just turning up to taste Musigny(!) – so I think this is my third visit in the last 4-5 years. My host was François Millet who, it turned out, was glad that I’d canceled our appointment the week before as he had the same ‘cold’ as me.
What I particularly enjoy about my discussions with François is that when I make a statement or ask a question, François questions it (my question or throwaway remark) from a different angle and slowly, but surely he teases out what I really meant to say – you know, us Brits sometimes skirt the core issue!
When I visited in the first half of February 2009, the first wines were just starting to be bottled, François said that they would take this process step-by-step over the coming weeks and probably finish towards the end of March or into April. The Chambolle-Musigny was partly bottled, though all the notes that follow are from barrel – and cold barrels at that – 7°C was the cellar temperature.
I’ll keep the discussion between the notes as context.
A soft nose with a hint of fresh sorbet and candied fruits. Very fresh – not a negative, though probably the temperature is exacerbating this despite my attempt at warming the glass in my hand – a wide impression in the mouth and whilst not overtly ‘intense’ it is clearly very flavour-some and lingers very nicely. I really didn’t make any note in my book about the tannins.
François suggested that the wine was showing great energy and spontaneity – I certainly agree about the energy. François characterised the 2007 vintage as one of ‘suspense’ – basically they never knew what what tribulations the weather would throw at them next.
A similar fruit profile on the nose, augmented with fresh, slightly more floral top-notes. Clearly the mouth-feel has more gras (fat), width and innate complexity. Wide, complex, fresh and very faintly long. There is more than a hint of minerality here too. Additional complexity comes through on the nose with a range of herbs and spices that compliment the fruit. I liked this very much.
I mentioned to François that since the 2000 bottling I really found this cuvée to be ‘singing’ – François countered with ‘why should this be so? The vines are not really getting older as every year it is a strict selection of below 25 years-old’ I admitted that 2000 was the first vintage that I had the opportunity to compare all the wines side-by-side, but recounted my experience of the 2006 line-up, tasted the previous November, and that the 1er cru was the clear ‘standout’ wine in the range for me for its combination of complexity and drinkability – here François agreed with me. But you know, I realise that with that statement, I have ‘come out’; young-ish Musigny and Bonnes-Mares from this domaine simply overwhelm me, they are too much. The young-vines cuvée is STILL Musigny, it’s just not Musigny VV, it has 98% of the complexity of Musigny VV, but it is delivered in a more accessible form, hence, young I think it delivers more. I feel better for coming out…
Not a wine you get to taste very often due to its relatively small production. The nose is a little darker and starts deeper than the 1er cru, and is accented with rose petals. There’s a soft and welcoming texture and a creamy underpinning to the fruit. Good density at the core. Flavourful, beautifully balanced and very fine.
Despite the aforementioned tribulations of the vintage, François believes that 2007 is the perfect vintage to show the ‘crystalline’ clarity and purity’ of Chambolle.
After the Amoureuses the nose is broader, less refined but full of energy – like the premier cru there is a hint of background spice. Mouth-filling with soft tannin and juicy fruit – actually for the first time I have an impression in my mind of ‘risotto rice’ for the tannins – soft but still with a little bite of crunchy texture at their core. François says this can be a characteristic of the ‘terres rouges’ where the domaine’s vines are planted. Long finishing, this wine is not as forceful as some vintages, but I like it all the more for that. Excellent.
The nose offers an obvious first impression of flora, yet seems underpinned almost by ‘texture’ and a background hint of anise. In the mouth this is clearly cut from thicker cloth, yet manages to find all the hiding spaces in your mouth in order to attach its lingering flavours. The tannin has some grain to it, but that grain seems ‘loaded’ with flavour. Very, very complex despite my poor attempts to warm the glass. A wine that always impresses in this situation – bravo!