Red, Ready, but will improve

2008 Nuits St. Georges Les Chaignots, Domaine Mugneret-Gibourg

2008 Nuits St. Georges Les Chaignots, Domaine Mugneret-Gibourg

Red | Ready, but will improve | Domaine Mugneret-Gibourg | Code: 5934 | 2008 | France > Burgundy > Cote de Nuits > Gevrey Chambertin | Pinot Noir | Full Bodied, Dry | 13.0 % alcohol

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The Producer

Domaine Mugneret-Gibourg

Domaine Mugneret-Gibourg

Until the summer of August 2009 there were two domaines, Mugneret-Gibourg and Dr Georges Mugneret. The former was created in 1933 following the marriage of André Mugneret, from an old Vosne Romanée family, and Jeanne Gibourg in 1928. Their son, Dr Georges Mugneret, whose principal profession was as an opthalmist, purchased further vineyards using a label in his own name. The Mugneret-Gibourg vines were looked after by sharecroppers, which remains the case today in the hands of Fabrice Vigot and Pascal Mugneret. The Dr Georges Mugneret vines are exploited directly. After Dr Georges early death in 1988 the domaine was run by his widow, Jacqueline and their daughter, Marie-Christine, joined by their other daughter Marie-Andrée in 1992 after she had completed her studies.
 
The sisters have not made any significant innovations in the cellar, beyond a sorting table and a pneumatic press. The grapes are destemmed, given a short cool maceration then left to ferment over the following 10-14 days the village wines receive 30% new wood, 40-45% for the premiers crus and around 70% for the grands crus. After the malolactic fermentation they wines are racked into another cellar for their second winter in wood, thence into small blending tanks and so into bottle. These tanks and the bottling are both done in the same underground cellar as the second year barrels, avoiding pumping or change in temperature.

The Bourgogne Rouge, Nuits-St-Georges, Vosne-Romanée and Echézeaux vineyards are farmed on share-cropping agreements so the domaine does not receive all the fruit. There are two separate sharecroppers, Fabrice Vigot and Pascal Mugneret, both of whom look after the vineyards to a high standard.

Jasper Morris MW, Burgundy Wine Director and author of the award-winning Inside Burgundy comprehensive handbook.

The Grape

Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir is probably the most frustrating, and at times infuriating, wine grape in the world. However when it is successful, it can produce some of the most sublime wines known to man. This thin-skinned grape which grows in small, tight bunches performs well on well-drained, deepish limestone based subsoils as are found on Burgundy's Côte d'Or.

Pinot Noir is more susceptible than other varieties to over cropping - concentration and varietal character disappear rapidly if yields are excessive and yields as little as 25hl/ha are the norm for some climats of the Côte d`Or.

Because of the thinness of the skins, Pinot Noir wines are lighter in colour, body and tannins. However the best wines have grip, complexity and an intensity of fruit seldom found in wine from other grapes. Young Pinot Noir can smell almost sweet, redolent with freshly crushed raspberries, cherries and redcurrants. When mature, the best wines develop a sensuous, silky mouth feel with the fruit flavours deepening and gamey "sous-bois" nuances emerging.

The best examples are still found in Burgundy, although Pinot Noir`s key role in Champagne should not be forgotten. It is grown throughout the world with notable success in the Carneros and Russian River Valley districts of California, and the Martinborough and Central Otago regions of New Zealand.

The Region

Gevrey Chambertin

Gevrey Chambertin

Gevrey-Chambertin is the largest wine-producing village in Burgundy’s Côte d'Or, with its vineyards spilling over into the next door commune of Brochon.

Located in the far north of the Côtes de Nuits above Morey-St Denis, classic Gevrey-Chambertin is typically deeper in colour, firmer in body and more tannic in structure than most red Burgundy. The best can develop into the richest, most complete and long-lived Pinot Noir in the world. This is largely thanks to the iron-rich clay soils, though much depends on whether the vineyard is located on either the steeper slopes (Evocelles, Clos St Jacques) or the flatter, richer soils (Clos Prieur, Combottes).

Whereas in the past there have been numerous underperformers in Gevrey-Chambertin exploiting the reputation of this famous village and its iconic Grands Crus, today there are many fine sources to choose from, and overall quality is higher than ever.

Gevrey-Chambertin’s greatest Grand Cru is named after the field of the monk Bertin (Champ de Bertin). In 1847, Gevrey appended the name of this illustrious vineyard, Chambertin, setting a trend for the other principle villages to follow. Le Chambertin may not be quite as sumptuous as Musigny or Richebourg, or as divinely elegant as La Tâche or Romanée-St Vivant, but it is matched only by the legendary Romanée-Conti for completeness and luscious intensity.

In all, Gevrey boasts an impressive nine Grands Crus, with the name of Chambertin retaining a regal omnipresence throughout its finest vineyard names. The other truly great Grand Cru is Chambertin-Clos de Bèze which has the right to sell its wines simply as ‘Chambertin’, and is the only wine allowed to put the Chambertin name before, rather than after, its own. Situated slightly further up the hill, the wines are fractionally less powerful yet full of sensual charm and finesse.

Quality-wise the next best are generally acknowledged to be Mazis-Chambertin and Latricières-Chambertin. The former is incredibly concentrated and very fine, but its structure is a little less firm than Le Chambertin. Latricières is less about power (although it can be explosively fruity) and more about an entrancing silkiness.

Situated slightly higher up the slope, Ruchottes-Chambertin is impressively rich, stylish and slightly angular. The tiny Griottes-Chambertin, which owes its name to the grill-pan shape of the vineyard rather than the wine’s griotte cherry aroma, is lower down the slope and boasts a velvety texture and rich fruit reminiscent of Chambertin itself. It is generally better than the lighter, although wonderfully fragrant Chapelle-Chambertin and Gevrey’s largest Grand Cru, the pure and seductive (if variable) Charmes-Chambertin.

Gevrey also has some outstanding Premier Crus on the south-east-facing slopes above the town. Les Cazetiers and especially Clos St Jacques produce some exceptional wines. Indeed Armand Rousseau, who pioneered domaine bottling here in the 1930s and is still one of the region’s very best producers, often sells his Clos St Jacques for more than several of his Grand Crus.

Drinking dates for these wines vary, but Grand Crus are generally best from at least 10 to 25 years, Premier Crus from eight to 20 years, and village wines from five to 12 years.

  • 315 hectares of village Gevrey Chambertin
  • 84 hectares of Premier Cru vineyards (20 in all). The foremost vineyards include Clos St Jacques, Lavaux St Jacques, Combottes, Corbeaux, Cherbaudes, Cazetiers.
  • 55 hectares of Grand Cru vineyards: Chambertin, Chambertin Clos de Bèze, Latricières-Chambertin, Ruchottes-Chambertin, Mazis-Chambertin, Charmes-Chambertin, Mazoyères-Chambertin, Chapelle-Chambertin, Griottes-Chambertin..
  • Recommended producers:  Bachelet, Dugat, Esmonin, Mortet, Rossignol Trapet, Rousseau, Serafin, Bernstein
  • Recommended restaurants : Chez Guy (good wine list), Rôtisserie du Chambertin (and Bistro)

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