Tasted in Chambolle-Musigny with Frédéric Mugnier, 24 July, 2019.
Domaine Jacques Frederic Mugnier
Rue de Vergy
Tel: +33 3 80 62 85 39
It’s always a pleasure to catch up with ‘Freddie’ – or Mr Mugnier to me!
We always start out a little stiff in our conversation – I sometimes think of him as a reluctant winemaker, or perhaps just reluctant to ‘entertain’ visitors – but we typically finish in a very friendly and open way. Note; I simply love the thought and insight that he profers to my poorly constructed questions!
Frédéric on 2019, so far:
“For the moment, things look not bad. We have a hint of oïdium, but on the other hand, it’s too dry for mildew. We see a little damage from the sun, but this year there was no frost. Certain areas have a lot of coulure, and that’s mainly down to two big passages of rain during the flowering period – the later flowers lost less – but because of this, it looks like a smaller harvest.”
Frédéric on 2018 and more:
“In July 2018 we had two big storms in Premeaux, and, unfortunately, with our Clos de la Maréchale we were right in the middle – so I’m not so happy with that.
“In 2003 I harvested on the 1st September, but I told all my neighbours that I’d never harvest in August – in 2018 I was proven wrong! The warm has eliminated the problems we faced in colder vintages but we have opposing problems, sometimes the grapes mature too fast and lose their fineness but still have tannins that are not smooth. I think 2010 a lovely template but we see wines like that much more rarely. Harvesting during the last week of September to the first week in October has been pretty consistent here, but we can be 6 weeks ahead of that now. It’s hard to imagine the future, I’m far from optimistic. If I look at the records of harvest dates for the domaine, we are three weeks ahead of a couple of generations ago and this change seems to be accelerating. We plant vines with an 80-year view, but do we have the right vines for today? We can’t change them every 10 years – for such reasons, I’m less than satisfied – but the wines remain a good surprise!
“Our Bonnes-Mares is the earliest harvested parcel, it suffers from the heat, I’m obliged to do this one first. Normally it’s not far from Musigny – perhaps a day – but when the weather is dry that’s not the case. My elevage will be about the same as other years though, I don’t change so much. I don’t want to interfere in the expression of the year; cold, dry, wet, hot – it’s not a problem, its an expression of the year, it’s why we put the years on the label! Anyway, I’m not sure how I might correct for the differences…”
Frédéric on 2017:
“In 2017 we saw a better balance to the climate, I think. There is more freshness in the wines. No excesses in any direction and made with grapes that looked super – no damage no maladies and a nice shape too, not too big, not so small. I’d call it a normal volume harvest but it’s the first ‘normal’ since 2009!”
Such a great pleasure to experience the wines from this address. In both 2017 and 2018 there is much to enjoy, indeed to covet, assuming that you can find the wines at all!
All 2018s tasted from barrel:
From 2 parcels…
Lots of colour. Quite a heavy nose but opening wider with a lovely floral aspect – growing and growing. Round, pure, saline and infused with flowers. Width, contemplative, concentrated without being heavy. Excellent, even if I might prefer a little more acidic zing!
2018 Chambolle-Musigny 1er Les Fuées
Plenty of colour of-course. Deeper aromas, a hint of almond, slowly growing again with floral perfume. Bigger, structured but padded structure, vibrant waves, mineral, always leaching new flavour. Strong finishing, graphite – powerful wine in 2018 but with fine texture.
Similar colour. Deep, very faintly reduced, ooh super floral perfume – really beautiful if you work the glass. Faint reduction, large-scaled, saline in the complexity – big wine again, but no textural excess. Cherry-stone finish, long, oh wow – but you should be patient with this.
Such a fabulous nose. It needs the merest of swirls to release great perfume, at first it suggests the spice of whole-cluster, then full of flowers, fine, fine, flowers. A little more freshness, a little more width to this melting, fresh, great, great wine – bravo! Like most of these a touch of graphite minerality in the finish. Perhaps less weight than the last but not by much…
2018 Nuits St.Georges 1er Clos de la Marechale
A blend in the glass of multiple barrels:
Ooh, directly, via the pipette probably, there’s a burst of floral aroma, then more serious, large-scaled in the mouth, very silky but slowly a tannin texture builds, velvet, virtually no astringency, but lots of black cherries, mouth-watering finishing flavour. “Yes, we seem despite the ripeness and levels of sugar, to retain really good acidity in this vineyard. We had very small hailstones and a lot of them, the leaves more damaged than the grapes but I feel that it has affected the tannins.”
2012 is still the last commercialised vintage of this wine. Re-planted some parcels this year, so far the vines are okay, ‘but technically it’s not easy to water. On Saturday we hope to get rain, hopefully not storms and maybe that’s enough.’
A little extra freshness to this nose, a different style of complexity – not wide but a depth of complexity. Supple, depth of texture and waves of flavour. Latent muscle – more fleshy texture. Bright, layered, fine finishing. Bravo!
A shade less colour but not much. A deeper register of aroma but then the same floral note arises that you can see in the 18s – and it’s powerful too. Hmm, nice shape, beautiful flavour, supple, a faint fat to the texture. A burst of finishing flavour – salinity in this complexity. Less round than the 2018, with more drive. Indeed less power but more drive when compared today to the 2018…
2017 Nuits St.Georges 1er Clos de la Marechale
Directly fresh and floral, a faint almond below, though much less almond than the 2018 Fuées. Fresh, growing in width, more open but not truly the round shape of the 18. Structural but with no hard edges – I like the open style here, yet it seems more Clos Vougeot than Clos Marechale!
Medium, medium-plus colour. Some depth to the aroma here, flowers above almost a coffee-bean sensation within the folds of aroma. Yes, round, more like an 18, but still open and accessible, complex, mineral, depth for sure, concentration too. Very pretty finishing – lots of small waves lapping at the fading palate. Bravo! Just a wonderful balance. I don’t have the impression that anything is hidden but it will improve of-course.
The next release? “2013 could be more refined but it could also have been a disaster. So I’m happy that the wines are so interesting, and have real personalities.”
Ooh, wow! This starts with dried leaves then a blast of pure flowers – older for sure – but a great, simply great nose. Hmm, fresh, more drive, more tiny tannin grain, but a growing width of flavour. The finish shows the tannin a little more and there’s salinity here too. A wine with more direction than the roundness of the 18, hauntingly long but of modest proportions. Excellent, and frankly the best thing I’ve smelled for some time.
And to finish:
2017 Nuits St.Georges 1er Clos de la Marechale Blanc
0.6 ha now in white in the Clos. The roots are 35-40-years-old, grafted to chardonnay in 2004-2007.
Hmm, a wide nose, perhaps a little pineapple – a nose of power. Big in the mouth, but not too energetic, there’s a calm here. But there’s also a broadly mineral impression below the cushioning. Little points of complexity and interest come after you swallow – this has a super finish – less broad-brush than the start. Intriguing, interesting wine rather than completely delicious (today) but one I’d be happy to get to know better.