A Taste Of Burgundy – February 2017

Tuesday, February 21, 2017 11:58 AM

2014 Viré-Clessé Thurissey – Domaine Sainte Barbe

Jean-Marie Chaland founded Domaine Sainte Barbe in 1999. He farms 8 hectares in and around Viré-Clessé organically, achieving certification in 2006. He has old vines, as 75% of his holdings are over 50 years old. Chaland’s vines in the lieu dit Thurissey are over 90! Thurissey is a tiny vineyard, consisting of half a hectare facing due south. Jean-Marie makes a mere 200 cases of his showpiece wine, and no new oak is used. The vineyard has a reputation for producing wines that are rich in minerality, and we imagine the roots of Chaland’s old vines are deep into the clay and limestone subsoil. There’s no doubt that 2014 was an exceptional vintage for white Burgundy, and the 2014 Viré-Clessé Thurissey from Domaine Sainte Barbe is one special wine. Its aromas are of citrus blossoms, snappy apples, and stony minerals. The palate is rich and bright with a hint of a saline/mineral quality, and the wine intensifies at the mid-palate. It’s tightly coiled and ready to spring. Drink this from 2020-2030.


2010 Morey-Saint-Denis 1er Cru Aux Petites Noix – Domaine Stéphane Magnien

Stéphane Magnien is now the fourth generation winemaker at this domaine in Morey-Saint-Denis which dates back to 1897. He took the reins from his father, Jean-Paul in 2008, and farms 4.5 hectares in the Côte de Nuits. Though his holdings may appear small, they include some fancy locales. Stéphane’s Aux Petites Noix is actually a blend of his holdings in Premier Crus Les Greunchers and Clos Baulet, two tiny vineyards just east of the village. One doesn’t need to do much research to understand that 2010 was an exceptional vintage for red Burgundy, particularly in the Côte de Nuits. In general terms, the wines are teeming with expression and are structured sufficiently for a long life in the cellar. Magnien’s 2010 Morey-Saint-Denis 1er Cru Aux Petites Noix is in a beautiful place at the moment, showing aromas of briary red berry fruit, earthy mineral, and forest floor. It’s medium in body with great balance and expression. It’s open for business and can be enjoyed from today through the 2020’s. – Peter Zavialoff


It always happens. During our Anniversary Sale, the distractions are everywhere. Case in point; one of our regular customers who always participates in the Anniversary Sale popped in for a few special bottles today, and after he gave me his parameters, I quickly whittled down my mental list to a trio of contenders. He wanted something red and I had one red Bordeaux, one red Rhône, and a red Burgundy all set to recommend. Then I physically walked over to our Burgundy section. Oh, if price signs could talk …. Actually they were talking to me. All of them. But there was one in particular. I immediately replaced the 3 bottles in my head with the one in my hand. “You want something nice. A red wine from France. Something that can be laid down and drink well in 5 years’ time. Something special, but less than $75, right? This is it right here.” That is what I said to him. What was the bottle? The 2012 Morey-Saint-Denis 1er Cru Les Faconnières from Stephane Magnien.


A little background on this. When I was a budding wine taster/collector, I worked for a guy who was less than pleasant to work for. In true “there’s an exception for every rule” fashion, this dude must have gone into a fine wine shop and asked a staffer to recommend two very nice bottles of red wine. He gave those two bottles to me during the holidays as a thank you. One was a Corison Cabernet and the other was a Clos Saint Denis from Domaine Dujac. At the time, I knew nothing about either one, and I’m sure that my benefactor didn’t either. I graciously accepted the gifts, and years later, when I opened the Dujac, I was overwhelmed. That was my introduction to Burgundy. In retrospect, I think it would have been better to have tasted something more affordable as a first Burgundy experience, but what can you do? That was all I knew about Burgundy at the time, and that led me to taste more wines from Morey-Saint-Denis and its environs. So let’s say that the village is a particular favorite for me.

A few years ago, when I found out that David had signed up Stephane Magnien to TWH stable, I was thrilled to see some Morey-Saint-Denis (and Clos Saint Denis!) in our bins. We don’t get to taste fancy wines like those often, but when we do, the occasions are memorable. Of his Premier Cru wines, I usually favor Stephane’s Les Faconnières. All I can say is that I like the other wines as well, but there’s an expression there that just fits with my palate and olfactory senses. Having tasted several 2012 red Burgundies over the past couple of years has solidified my opinion that it is a vintage to have in my cellar. In fact, a while back while researching the vintage for A Taste Of Burgundy write-up, I stumbled upon a note from Clive Coates, MW, “But in the end – quality-wise – 2012 has turned out, not merely ‘all right’, but really very good indeed, if not perhaps even very fine. I have already heard the wines refered to as ‘classic’. There are some who regard the potential of 2012 reds as superior to anything recent, and that includes 2010, 2009, 2005 and other years.” I don’t know about you, but if Clive Coates says something like that, I take note. A serious note.


As one can see, Les Faconnières lies just below the Grand Cru vineyards in Morey-Saint-Denis. As a matter of fact, you can draw an equilateral triangle whose three points would be in Clos-Saint-Denis, Clos de la Roche, and Les Faconnières. That’s some special sod, indeed. The wine is already showing its potential, but after another 5 years of cellar time, I anticipate it will be entering its optimal drinking plateau and staying there for many years. Its aromas express dark red berries, herbs, a healthy dose of earthy mineral and tar, and a kiss of vanilla bean. The palate is sturdy, yet balanced. The fruit is part of the package, which at this time is coiled, needing either aeration or a few more years of cellaring, but there’s no question that the fruit is just waiting for the structure to back off one small step for it to shine. The mouth feel is medium bodied with fine tannins, and the finish is balanced and all in line. The wines from Morey-Saint-Denis can be very expressive, and this young Morey has the ingredients to become a great wine some day in the not too distant future. Did I say it can be enjoyed now? Sure, but I highly recommend decanting for 90 minutes.

I’m hoping that you all are enjoying the Thanksgiving weekend! It has been a fun one for me. Of course I continued my Thanksgiving tradition of giving thanks and enjoying some fine Sauternes … or in this case, Barsac. ‘Cause that’s how I roll. You can probably guess the chateau. But with two months of special days ahead, there will be occasions for fine red wine as well. I see an opportunity to slip a 2012 Morey-Saint-Denis Les Faconnières from Stephane Magnien! – Peter Zavialoff

A TASTE OF BURGUNDY AUGUST 2014

Thursday, August 14, 2014 7:18 PM

A great way to learn about Burgundy and its wines,and (even better) the perfect way to get a discount on two high quality bottles. Sign up now!

Click here to receive the Taste of Burgundy Sampler automatically every other month.

Basic Facts for those of you who are new to the program: Every two months we select two Burgundies, one red and one white. We include write-ups detailing the background of the grower, the vineyard source, and the wine. Finally we knock a significant percentage off the prices of the wines, making the Sampler price $89.98. If you would like us to add you to the Sampler Club and receive the wines regularly, please specify “store pickup” or “ship it” in the comments field, and we will charge your card accordingly. If you would like us to ship faster than the standard ground service, please specify this as well.

2011 Beaune Premier Cru Pertuisots Domaine Pernot Belicard
According to Decanter magazine contributor, Jeannie Cho Lee MW, the 2011 white Burgundy wines, “Have wonderful purity, expressiveness and aromatic appeal. Most of the wines have found balance in their slimness and have masses of drinking appeal.” Much like the 2007 vintage, the wines are sleek, yet already revealing their charm. Philippe Pernot, grandson of Puligny-Montrachet’s Paul Pernot, runs the show here tending to vineyards acquired through his marriage to the daughter of vineyard owners in Puligny and Meursault. It must run in the family, as Philippe’s wines are every bit as terroir driven as those of his famous grandfather. The Premier Cru Pertuisots vineyard sits on the slope just southwest of Burgundy’s big city, Beaune, nearby the famous Clos des Mouches. Philippe’s 2011 Pertuisots is a wine of distinction, showing off plenty of fruit, yes, but at its core is a profound minerality. Stony and chalky, one could build the argument that this resembles a fine Grand Cru Corton Charlemagne. Drink now-2021.

2011 Morey-Saint-Denis 1er Cru Les Faconnières Domaine Stephane Magnien
The domaine dates back to the late 19th century, and youthful Stephane Magnien represents the fourth generation at the helm of this small production estate, a role he assumed in 2008. Morey-Saint-Denis is a small village in the Côtes de Nuits. Not very much wine is made here and demand snaps up supply with regularity. 2011 was another successful red Burgundy vintage, causing Clive Coates MW to comment, “Nature is smiling on the Burgundy lover.” He may appear rather youthful, but Stephane’s wines are old-school in charm. Finesse and purity are the name of the game chez Magnien, his wines are loaded with character and complexity. Just a stone’s throw from the pedigreed Grand Cru, Clos de la Roche, the 2011 Les Faconnières is layered with aromatic complexity. On the palate, it is medium in body, has plenty of nerve, and finishes elegant and long. Medium term cellaring is advised, drink from 2018-2028. Be forewarned, the last vintage of Les Faconnières offered in the TOB sold out in a flash. – Peter Zavialoff

Domaine Stephane Magnien was formally introduced to TWH customers with the 2010 vintage. Although Magnien’s ’09s hit our shelves, high demand for the vintage caused them to disappear well before we had the chance to properly introduce this small domaine to all of you. But now the ’11s are here and well, it’s time to give these wines the attention they deserve! The 2011 Morey Saint Denis 1er Cru Cuvee “Aux Petites Noix” (phew, that’s a mouth full!), is a sensational wine that captures both the specificity of its appellation and the charm of the vintage. The “Petites Noix” is a blend of two parcels, “Les Gruenchers” and “Clos Baulet”. The parcels are relatively close in proximity, share similar soil structures and are thought to express the Gevrey-Chambertin side of Morey Saint Denis. The wine has notable structure with plenty of fleshy fruit.



 

 

Domaine Stephane Magnien has only 4.5 hectares of vines which, even for Burgundy, is considered small. Even so, Stephane, who took over the domaine from his father in ’08, is the fourth generation vigneron to live and work at the family home and cellars that date back to the late 1700’s. Young Stephane embraces traditional winemaking methods and is guided by the principle of preserving the integrity of the wine. Translation: natural practices in the vineyards, manual harvest, not forcing extraction, aging in barrel but not much of it new. What stands out for me when I taste Stephane’s wines, is the perky, fresh elegant red berry fruit and its seamless structure. The charming nature of the ’11 vintage is evident in this “Petites Noix” and so is the ripe, but not over-ripe, fruit. 2011 is thought to be an early drinking vintage. This means you can open this bottle now or over the next few years (decanting it a bit wouldn’t hurt either) without guilt. Burgundy can be a minefield when trying to determine optimal drinking windows, true, however the 2011 Morey Saint Denis “Petites Noix” from Stephane Magnien is showing its stuff now, so go ahead and imbibe!

 

Yields for ’10, ’11 and ’12 in Burgundy were all down. I read somewhere that if you combined the totals for all three vintages against normal years, an entire harvest was lost! Thirst for Burgundy remains high and the big, collectable names are allocated in dribs and drabs. There is good news and that is this, TWH makes every effort to continue to discover new energetic domaines from Burgundy that offer quality, value and pleasure – Domaine Stephane Magnien is such a producer. The 2011 “Petites Noix” is a direct import, therefore it will discount 15% when purchased by the case or as part of one. I’d like to think I can buy full cases of Burgundy to have on hand and if I did, I certainly would buy the 2011 “Petites Noix”. If buying a bottle or two is more your style, include it with some of our every-day wine gems to take advantage of the 15% savings. 

 

At home, the school year is wrapping up and summer activities are being lined up. Personally, I am a great advocate for unstructured, unplanned stretches of time, preferably spent outside somewhere, even the backyard. With summer hours approaching, a midweek meal might include a fancier bottle of red (I am crossing my fingers!) like the 2011 Morey Saint Denis 1er Cru Cuvee “Aux Petites Noix”. I can visualize a medium-rare leg of lamb with a garden-grown vegetable tian accompanied by the juicy red cherry fruit, sweet tannins and elegant finish of the 2011 “Petites Noix”. Now that sounds like a summer vacation to me! Anya Balistreri

After the striking, curvaceous 2009’s, now we have 2010, which to many observers are more classical, certainly more structured, and which have been ordained as great, greater even than 2009, by some critics. What fun it will be in 10 or 20 years to compare! Certainly we haven’t had such a super pair of back-to-back vintages in many years, and it’s rather nice that they’re complementary in style. The only downside to 2010 is the quantity. Yields were down significantly from ’09, so there’s less to go around than usual.



I (DN) have been tasting at Domaine Magnien over the last several years and am extremely pleased to now be able to offer these stunning wines to you.

These are red Burgundies of precision and purity. They’re NOT oaky, alcoholic, fruit bombs; they don’t overpower you in any way. They just seduce you with their dazzling beauty until you’re a quivering mess, incapable of rational thought, wanting only another taste, and then you just collapse in a blithering heap. Oh, sorry, I got sidetracked there.

Stephane Magnien works his vineyards in the traditional manner (though he is not certified organic), and he is not a fan of lots of new oak. Just a very small percentage of new barrels is all the seasoning he requires. How refreshing! The domaine dates back to 1897, and Stephane, now the fourth generation at the helm, has been working with his father Jean-Paul since 2002, and took over the reins with the 2008 vintage. Stephane has received plaudits from the French press, and just recently was the recipient of a very complimentary review from Allen Meadows in Burghound.

It’s such a treat to be able to offer wines from Morey St. Denis and Chambolle-Musigny, two tiny villages with only a small amount of wine to be had. You will have a great time working your way through these wines. They are absolutely delicious the moment they’re opened, and they continue to benefit from air; in fact when we opened several bottles the other day, just after their refrigerated voyage, all were even better on day two. The two villages wines have gorgeous character and represent tremendous value for the money. TheMorey “Aux petites Noix,” a blend of two 1er Cru vineyards, Les Greunchers and Clos Baulet, is a lovely, deeply scented pinot, just so elegant and long. Les Faconnières (from a parcel just a stone’s throw from the Grand Cru Clos de la Roche) and Mont Luisants show the breed that you expect from top 1er Cru vineyards.

We are thrilled to be able to offer these gorgeous wines to you, and it is especially fortuitous to be able to debut them in such a fine vintage. Oh, and I was able to pry away a few cases of Stephane’s 2009 Morey 1er Cru Faconnières. Taste the ’09 next to the ’10, and enjoy the pleasure of both superb vintages. Feel free to ask the staff for their own personal recommendations, but don’t be surprised to hear “We love them all!” – David Netzer

5 Item(s)