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Ric arrives at Comte Georges de Vogüé

November 1, 2018

Burgundy lovers will, most definitely, revere the wines of Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé. After all, this single domaine has the lion’s share of Musigny Grand Cru (7.2 ha) and Bonnes-Mares Grand Cru (2.7 ha), both of which are wines to die for. Together, they account for more than three-quarters of de Vogüé’s total holdings of just 12.5 hectares. Still, there is not enough wine to go around as annual production is limited to less than 50,000 bottles. This is partly attributed to the fact that half of the Musigny vines are cordon-trained which results in lower yields of about 25 hectolitres per hectare. Whilst the history of this domaine may be traced as far back as 1450, it officially came under Comte Georges de Vogüé in 1920. Its modern history, though, only took off in 1986 when Francois Millet joined the domaine as cellar master while the aptly named Eric Bourgogne (who resembles Jason Statham) came on board a decade later in 1996 to manage the vineyard. Quality has been tremendous since. These two gentlemen are still at their jobs, and we were truly privileged to have them join us for lunch at Le Millésime in Chambolle on 31 October 2018, joined by the domaine’s equally long-serving Sales Director Jean-Luc Pepin.

IMG-20181031-WA0020.jpgFrancois had brought a couple of wines (ex-cellars, of course) to go with lunch and he insisted that they were tasted blind. The first red showed a lovely crimson hue with some bricking at the rim, exuding a lifted deep earthy bouquet with ripe dark cherries, redcurrants and blueberries layered with cedary tones and early tertiary nuances. Bright, rounded and open on the medium-bodied palate with a gentle aged feel, the wine was very harmonious and softly structured with melted tannins, turning more plummy with traces of black pepper. A second bottle was considerably fresher with slightly greater intensity of fruit and vigour, underscored by ferrous minerals. This wine was so good that some thought it to be the domaine’s Bonnes-Mares when, in fact, it was the domaine’s humble village: the 2007 Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé Chambolle-Musigny.

The second red was great in colour, displaying an easy-going charm of rosy fragrance and subtly intense cherries with a beguiling lovely presence and ripeness on the palate, very subtly layered with fine acidity and silky smooth tannins, rounded with excellent length and feminine grace, developing a gentle intensity over time. We were in no doubt that this must be a premier cru. Indeed, it was a 2001 Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé Chambolle-Musigny 1er. Most impressive with unmistakable breed, which isn’t surprising as this was made entirely from young vines (ie. aged below 25 years) of Musigny Grand Cru. This has been the practice since the 1996 vintage.

Racking in progress

After lunch, we adjourned back to the cellars where Francois supervised the tasting. Speaking in elegant English (he’d spent time in Canada), Francois is a serious but engaging person who knows his wines inside out and who can be totally absorbing when he starts to loosen up about what he has seen and done with his wines over the past thirty-two years. To him, wine constantly relays messages from Mother Nature. Wine should bring peace but, in recent times, Francois feels that Nature has been troubled. He is, without doubt, referring to the impact of global warming which has already changed the style of wines throughout the world. However, if our tasting of the 2017s from barrel is any indication, it appears that the continuity at Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé over the last generation is still intact and going strong. These are wines of great balance and finesse without having to show off their power.

Francois Millet (Photo: Roger Lum)

2017 Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé Chambolle-Musigny. Very dark in colour, proffering dark roses and black cherries on the austere nose. Excellent in concentration, rounded with supple acidity and good layering. Very fresh and juicy, tapering to a spicy glowing finish. Excellent.

2017 Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé Chambolle-Musigny 1er. Very deep ruby with a delicious bouquet of dense dark cherries and blackcurrants, rather forward in fruit balance with a superb rounded presence. Darker in expression but with plenty of purity, youthful brilliance and elegance laced with lovely freshness and acidity amidst understated minerality. Excellent. From young vines of Musigny Grand Cru.

2017 Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé Chambolle-Musigny Les Amoureuses 1er. Lovely deep purple. Rather shy, just a gentle glow of ripe raspberries and dark currants though the palate is swathed in velvety textures with lovely concentration of fruit and acidity, all seamlessly balanced and proportioned with fine inner detail. Superbly poised and elegant though not the most profound in depth nor power. Tremendous breed. Still yet to flesh out. Outstanding. Only 5 barrels.

20181031_155255.jpg2017 Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé Bonnes-Mares Grand Cru. Deep purple, effusive in dark currants, ripe blueberries and raspberries tinged with a suggestion of dry malt. Superb;u layered with exciting acidity concentration with understated minerals that conferred rich velvety textures. Appropriately more exuberant in character but not outright power, finishing with good length. Beautiful.

2017 Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé Musigny Grand Cru. Deep dark purple. Richly layered on the nose but rather reticent and slightly dryish at this early stage. Superb concentration and suppleness, layered with a deep vein of fruit with very fine integral acidity and silky tannin structure, displaying excellent transparency, balance and proportion. Neither dense nor hedonistic. Poised with supreme confidence and delicate power, finishing with delicious dark fruits. Wonderful finesse.

2017 Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé Musigny Blanc Grand Cru. Superb luminosity with a wonderfully complex bouquet of savoury characters and white floral tones rich in perfumed fragrance and elegance, deeply inviting. Fullish with an open broad expanse and presence, displaying overtones of light citrus, peaches, nutmeg and fig on a bed of plush minerality that imparted a quiet intensity, finishing gently. Glorious. From a 0.66 ha of chardonnay planted within Musigny. Not declared (bottled simply as Bourgogne Blanc) from 1994 to 2014 when old vines were uprooted and new ones planted.

Thank you very much Francois, Eric and Jean-Luc for the privilege of your friendship and for the wonderful work you have all been doing for the benefit of countless wine lovers thoughout the world.


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