About this Blog

The blog focuses on the essence of wine and food, not how many points or stars it receives. The opinions are mine and should be taken only as that, an opinion not gospel.

Like many collectors, initially I was very much influenced by wine ratings. I purchased wines based on points, even if I had never tasted the wine. And it was much worse than that. I would drink a wine with a high rating, not like it, yet since it was highly rated I’d rationalize that I did not yet appreciate the wine, or that my palate was not sophisticated enough to understand the wine. How’s that for lunacy? As a result my cellar grew in all directions while my palate narrowed. By the time I realized the style of wine that I enjoyed, my cellar abounded with wines whose styles I did not enjoy. All of these wines were very highly rated, just not my cup of tea, or glass of wine to be more accurate. Fortunately I was able to sell many of these wines to those who either enjoyed them or wanted highly rated wines. Don’t misunderstand, I am not against wines with high ratings, in fact I own many. It is just that I now purchase wines based on the producer, the style and my palate, not the rating. Nor do I shun reading reviews. I very much respect Antonio Galloni, Alan Meadows, Eric Asimov and John Gilman and read their reviews routinely. I pay attention to what they write, not the points they award.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

1995 Georges Mungneret-Gibourg Red Burgundy

Our local wine group met recently at Sette Cucina Italiana in Bernardsville. If it seems like we frequent Sette a lot you are right.  And why not with the delicious food owner/chef Allan Russo prepares for us on each visit. Tonight’s highlights included:

Onion Tart
Gnocchi di Ricotta w/Speck & Butter Sauce
Risotto w/Sweet Italian Sausage
Roasted Pork Loin

Jeff, our Burgundy expert selected the wines for the evening.  He chose four reds from one of Burgundy’s top estates, Georges Mungneret-Gilbourg.  Since the passing of founder Dr. Georges Mungneret in 1988, the estate has been run by his wife and two daughters.  Their wines are known their finesse and delicacy.  The wines were all from the 1995 vintage. This vintage yielded concentrated, dense, structured wines with substantial firm tannins and average to slightly above average acidity.

Prior to the 2007 vintage the domains’ wines were marketed as either Dr. Georges Mugneret or Mugneret-Gibourg depending on the vineyard.  Starting in 2007 all wines were amalgamated into one label, Dr. Georges Mugneret-Gibourg.

Before getting to the reds, Jeff started us off some bubbles, NV (2009) Cédric Bouchard Roses de Jeanne Champagne Inflorescence Blanc de Noirs Val Vilaine (disgorged 4/11). Cedric, a young maverick of a wine maker, does not follow the usual convention of blending different grapes from different vineyards as well as the juice from different vintages to make champagne. Rather his champagnes are made from a single varietal (Pinot Noir or Chardonnay), from a single vineyard, and single vintage cuveés. To quote importer Doug Polaner’s web site, “Each wine is made only from juice from the first pressing, fermented only with indigenous yeast and handled meticulously in the cellar to guarantee the finest wines possible”. 

While the wine was made with fruit (Pinot Noir) from the 2009 vintage, it did not see 3 years in the barrel, thus the NV classification. This is champagne that needs to be drunk from a standard white wine stem to allow the evolution of the juice to take place.  The wine was seductive on the palate and possessed breathtaking textural elegance and fabulous balance. The more it sat in the glass, the more it soared on the palate.  A wine with soul!  

He then treated us to 2005 Domaine et Selections Coche-Dury Meursault Villages.  This estate is, by any standard, one of the finest producers of White Burgundy.  In fact, many consider Coch-Dury Meursault to be the finest expression of Meursault in all of Burgundy. When asked of his success, he says, “There are no secrets he says, just hard work in the vineyards.” The vines are pruned fairly heavily, and he only uses “green harvest” very rarely. No pesticides are used in the vineyards. The fields are plowed and cultivated very carefully to maintain the ecological balance.

Vinification is fairly traditional, but with quite frequent batonnage. Fermentation takes place in oak cask, and the proportion of new oak varies from year to year, but generally Coche-Dury uses quite a lot new oak. In some years they have used up to 50% new casks on the top wines. The wines are raised in barrel for 15 to 22 months, and are bottled without filtration. Production is sparse, amounting to about 4,200 cases annually, thus finding them is very difficult.  The wines are also very expensive.

Tonight’s wine was bottled under the Domaine et Selections label.  Jeff explained, this is exactly the same wine Coche-Dury markets under their own Meursault label…and at a lower price.  It was simply magnificent, and for me the best Meursault I have ever tasted.  Here the Chardonnay grape seems to take on a combination of power and finesse.  The bouquet is huge and on the palate the wine explodes the taste buds.  The oak was seamlessly integrated into the wine.  I sipped the wine throughout the dinner and enjoyed the evolution of the wine with each sip.  For me it was clearly the WOTN.   

We then moved on to the Mugneret reds. I was surprised however that had this been a blind tasting, I would have said the wines were Nebbiolo from Italy.  To my nose and palate they did not evoke that red Burgundy feel.  But then again I do not have a lot of experience with aged red Burgundy. All the wines drank well and that is all that mattered.

1995 Domaine Georges Mugneret Nuits-St.- Georges Les Chaignots 1er Cru.  I found the tannins to be on the harsh side and the fruit to be in a sleepy state. 

1995 Domaine Georges Mugneret Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Les Feusselottes.  Softer tannins here and livelier fruit.  I would have loved to have allowed the wine to sit for a few hours in the glass, as the pedigree was evident.  

1995 Mugneret-Gibourg Echezeaux Grand Cru.  My least favorite of the reds.  Not a lot going on here.    

1995 Domaine Georges Mugneret Clos Vougeot Grand Cru.  This was my favorite of the reds.  The tannins were soft on a beautifully complex palate.  The wine also had a lingering finish, which the others seemed to lack.

All in all it was another wonderful evening with a great group of guys and wonderful food and wine. Thanks Jeff for our continuing Burgundy education.  And thanks again to Allan Russo for another terrific meal.


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