About this WINE
For years Domaine Jacques Prieur was in a slow and seemingly terminal decline, with quantity rather than quality being the byword. The guardian angel arrived in the form of Mercurey-based négociants Antonin Rodet in the late 1980s. Rodet's oenologist, Nadine Gublin, has been the driving force behind the renaissance in quality which now rivals the very finest producers on the Côte. The Domaine is today owned 70% by the Labruyère family and 30% by the Prieurs.
The roots of the revival lie in the vineyards where fewer pesticides and herbicides are being used and, come harvest time, there is now a far more rigid selection of the best fruit. The results are a revelation. They have an exceptional range of grand cru vineyards – including the grandest of the grand, such as Montrachet, Musigny and Chambertin. But perhaps because the domaine’s holdings are dispersed up and down the Côte that it has not enjoyed the first rate reputation that one might have expected. The wines are certainly good, but perhaps just short of the flair which would place them in the very top division. There is a conscious decision to pick relatively late and make flamboyantly full-bodied wines.
Jasper Morris MW, Burgundy Wine Director and author of the award-winning Inside Burgundy comprehensive handbook.
Chambolle produces the most elegant wines in the Côte de Nuits, having more active chalk and less clay in the soil than the other villages. The wines may be a little lighter in colour and less tannic than Gevrey-Chambertin but they have a sublime concentration of fruit. Village Chambolle-Musigny usually provides excellent value.
Le Musigny is one of the top half-dozen vineyards in Burgundy, producing wines of extraordinary intensity and yet with a magical velvety character. Les Amoureuses is immediately appealing, a wonderfully sensual wine which deserves Grand Cru status. Bonnes Mares tends to have a firmer structure and ages very well
- 94 hectares of village Chambolle-Musigny.
- 61 hectares of Premier Cru vineyards (24 in all). The finest vineyards include Les Amoureuses, Les Charmes, Les Fuées, Les Baudes and Sentiers.
- 24 hectares of Grand Cru vineyard - Bonnes Mares and Le Musigny.
- Recommended producers: de Vogüé, Mugnier, Roumier, Barthod.
- Recommended restaurant: Le Chambolle
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.
Pierre Rovani - 30/06/2003