In the last few vintages Domaine Mugneret-Gibourg has taken its place in the very top echelon of red Burgundy producers. While not yet as widely known as the likes of DRC, Mugnier, Rousseau or Roumier, insiders know that their beautifully perfumed, intensely flavored, firmly structured wines of quintessential grace and harmony place them right at home in this company.
This soaring quality has brought critical acclaim—View From the Cellar’s John Gilman states that the domaine’s wines have moved to “the very pinnacle of quality in the Côte d'Or” and The Burghound’s Allen Meadows writes, “... over the past few years, I can't think of any domaine that has performed better.” And 2005’s perfect growing season has resulted in their best wines yet.
The wines have always enjoyed a fine reputation, first those made by Georges Mugneret himself and then those of his talented daughters Marie-Christine and Marie-Andrée following Georges’ death in 1988. Dr. Georges was one of France’s most respected ophthalmologists, but his passion was his domaine. Because wine was not his vocation, he was able to make it without compromise, exactly as he wanted to.
The Mugneret sisters continue to use his approach as their blueprint, yet it is their perfectionist fine tuning that has now placed them among the handful of top producers, culminating in the surreal 2005s.
Dr. Georges’ medical practice also allowed him to be very selective in his vineyard acquisitions; all of the domaine’s sites, from the Bourgogne Rouge to the grands crus are of outstanding quality, resulting in an uncommonly fine range of wines. The Bourgogne Rouge, annually one of the Côte d’Or’s best, comes from old vines in acruonce classified as Vosne-Romanée, and it shows in the wines plum and violet aromatics.
The village Vosne, from 70 year old vines, is a step up in elegance and finesse with pure aromas of baking spices, black cherry, cocoa, minerals and violets and a velvety textured, medium bodied palate. This too is one of the best of the appellation, year in and year out.
The two premier crus provide quite a contrast; the Nuits-Saint-Georges ‘Chaignots’ has very complex, textbook raspberry, licorice, grilled meat and earth aromas and flavors and firm structure, while the Chambolle-Musigny Les Feusselottes' is a model of the appellation—high toned, floral and red fruit in character, with silky tannins and great intensity. In 2005 both are of grand cru quality.
The Mugneret sisters’ Echézeaux is a classic expression of this grand cru, marked by aromas and flavors of cassis, black plum, woodsmoke, exotic spices and complex soil tones, with great focus, structure, balance and length on the palate. The Ruchottes-Chambertin, from the best situated plot of this fine cru, beautifully expresses the stony, truffly and gamey character of the site. Black fruited, with exceptional depth of flavor and full body, this rivals the Rousseau and Roumier versions.
The Clos Vougeot, from the choice upper portion of the vineyard, is also, arguably, the best example to be found. Reminiscent of Musigny in its haunting bouquet of red and black cherries, blood orange, rose petal and minerals, full body, fine structure and surreal balance, this is a great Clos Vougeot.
The wines are not only, as John Gilman describes them “the epitome of grace, breed and complexity,” they also express the nuances of their respective crus with digital definition. The methods used to achieve this are essentially Dr. Mugneret’s; the destemmed fruit is given a few days of cold soaking to extract aroma and color, and then fermented with indigenous yeasts at moderate temperature for two to three weeks.
The Mugnerets show particular skill in their use of new oak; the percentage increases from the Bourgogne to the grands crus, yet it is always seamlessly integrated into the wine. Because of the strict selection at harvest, fining and filtration are unnecessary.
Even by Burgundy standards, Georges Mugneret-Gibourg’s production is small and therefore particularly difficult to come by.
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