LE MUSIGNY

Surface area: 10.86 ha               Average production: 300 hl
                                               (39,600 bottles)

Principal proprietors: *Vogüé (7.14 ha); *Mugnier (1.14 ha); Jacques Prieur (77 a); *Joseph Drouhin (67 a); *Leroy (27 a); *Vougeraie (21 a); *Louis Jadot (17 a); Drouhin-Laroze (12 a); *Georges Roumier (10 a); *Joseph Faiveley (3 a). Around the turn of the century André Porcheret bought a miniscule parcel on the wrong side of the vineyard road below the border between the Grand Musigny and the Petits Musignys and planted it with vines: 195 of them.

Le Musigny is one of the very greatest climats in the whole of the Côte D'Or, one of a handful which includes Chambertin and Clos-de-Bèze, La Tache and Romanée-Conti. This is more than a prince of the blood in the royal house of Burgundy, as Pierre Léon-Gauthier would have it. This is majesty itself. And if one is thinking of its texture and character, the queen rather than the king. The other four can fight among themselves for the role of consort.

The vineyard has always consisted of two sections, divided by a path. The northern part, slightly the larger, is Grand-Musigny, or simply Musigny. The southern, in the plural, is Les Petits Musignys. This might make you expect the latter was the more morcellated, but no. This part is the monopoly of the Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé.

In Dr. Lavalle's day, two comprised 10.05 ha. In 1929, part of the Chambolle premier cru La Combe-D'Orveaux, further to the south, across another path and belonging to the Domaine Jacques Prieur, was incorporated, adding 61 a. In 1989 four adjacent ouvrées (15.3 a), also belonging to Prieur, were added on the Grand Musigny side.

The climat lies between 260 and 300 metres in altitude, the slope varying between 8 and 14 per cent. The soil is middle Bathonian oolite upslope, but more exposed Comblanchien limestone debris lying on harder rock further down. It is quite different from the grand crus of Morey and Gevrey, and indeed of Bonnes-Mares and the rest of Chambolle. There is a red clay on the lower slopes you do not find elsewhere. There is also a less high level of active limestone and magnesium.

Having remained in ecclesiastical hands during the middle ages, but always apart from the Clos de Vougeot, and indeed never having been enclosed, the vineyard began to be divided in the 17th and 18th centuries, and among its owners are to be found the fathers of the Oratory in Dijon, the Grand Prior of Champagne, and local parliamentary families such as the Bouhiers and the de Berbuseys. From the Bouhiers today's principal owners, the de Vogüé family, are descended. They can trace their ownership in the best vines of the Côte back longer than most.

As well as their lion's share of Musigny en rouge, the Vogüé domaine has persisted with planting a small parcel of Chardonnay. Until recent times it was common to mix in between 5 and 10 percent of the Chardonnay in among the Pinots Noirs in order to give the wine an extra zip of acidity, and to soften it up. Today the Vogüé domaine keeps its Chardonnay apart, in a little parcel of one third of a hectare, and would normally make about three casks of it - but currently most of this parcel is young vines, and all is sold as Bourgogne Blanc. I have regularly asked Jean-Luc Pepin, manager of the Vogüé domaine, when he intends to start calling the wine Musigny Blanc once gain, but have yet to be given a precise answer. It is a full wine, with its own peculiar flavour, nothing like a Corton Charlemagne or a Montrachet.

Musigny, consequently, is the only grand cru with the exception of Corton which can be white as well as red.

At its best the red wine can be quite simply one of the most delicious wines to be found in Burgundy. Frédéric Mugnier speaks of an elegance coupled with a richness without heaviness and an exceptional intensity. Maybe the most refined of all Burgundy, says Véronique Drouhin. Musigny excites Jasper Morris more than Chambertin or Richebourg. It is perhaps the quintessence of grace. Anthony Hanson finds a silky, lingering, dreamy aftertaste. Russell Hone simply wants his ashes to be scattered there. Speaking personally, and I know I'm not the only one to take this view, it is the summit of achievement. With its vibrant colour, exquisitely harmonious, complex, profound bouquet, the blissful balance between tannin, acidity and the most intensely-flavoured fruit - all the petits fruits rouges you could reasonably imagine - and its incomparable breed, depth, originality and purity on the palate, a great Musigny is heaven in a glass.

Would that one could afford to drink it more often!

In March 2014 my friends in Guilford, Connecticut, organized a tasting of the following Musignys.

The White Wines

Optimum Drinking


2006 Bourgogne Blanc, de Vogüe Now-2018

Quite a youthful colour. Fullish, broad nose. Fullish on the palate. Good acidity. Ripe fruit. Individual. Plenty of quality and character. Just about ready.

1983 Musigny Blanc Drink Soon

Quite an old colour. But the wine is still fresh. Fullish. Ample. Ripe. Plump. Balanced. This is very food friendly. Very good indeed. None of the vintage's tendency (in white) to the heavy and botrytised side. No hurry to drink.

The Red Wines

2005 Joseph Drouhin From 2018

Full, immature colour. Rich, full nose, but not aggressive. A touch of oak. Very concentrated. Full body. Lots of energy. The tannins are not a bit harsh. Indeed ther wine is a bit more advanced than I expected. Long, quite meaty finish. Very fine plus. But perhaps not quite 'great'.

2004 Joseph Drouhin Now-2018

From magnum. Medium to medium-full colour. Now mature. The nose is fresh and fruity and quite stylish, if with no real depth and concenration, and the palate is similar. Rathe more succulent than many 2004s, as well as nicely soft and classy. Ready now.

2002 Jacques-Frédéric Mugnier From 2016

Medium-full colour. Still youthful. Very lovely nose. Real Musigny complexity and subtlety. The tannins are now getting soft. Medium-full body. Ripe and fragrant and lots of energy. This has real personality and class. Just about ready. Pretty well perfect.

2001 De Vogüé Now-2017

Medium colour. A little development. Soft nose. Elegant and ethereal. But it lacks a bit of intensity. But such fruit as is there is complex as well as. Medium body. The tannins now very soft. Good grip and a bit more drive and dimension than the nose suggested. Yet is tails off a bit at the end. Very pleasant.

2000 De Vogüé Now-2019

Medium colour. Like the 2001 a little development. Ripe, cedary, oaky nose. A little fuller than the 2001. More depth. A little astringency. Not the greatest class but there is depth and energy here. But a little four square at the end.

1999 Joseph Drouhin Now-2025 plus

Medium-full colour. Some development. Very lovely nose. Fragrant, balanced, complex and delicious. This is now ready. Medium to medium-full body. Ripe, rich, harmonious and crammed with fruit. Lots of depth and class. Lots of intensity. A splendid example. Very fine indeed.

1999 Louis Jadot 2018-2035

Full, barely mature colour. Very splendid rich, concentrated fruit on the nose. Fullbody. Still very youthful. Great energy and lovely cool fruit. Profound and classy and multi-dimensional. A great wine.

1999 Jacques-Frédéric Mugnier 2016-2036

Medium-full colour. Splendid nose. This is beautifully balanced. Lovely fruit: complex, fresh, ripe and subtle. Marvelously cool. Medium-full body. A bit more substance than the Drouhin. Still a little unresolved tannin. Lots of depth and energy. Great class and complexity. This is brilliant.

1999 Jacques Prieur 2015-2025

Fullish immature colour. Rather a dumb, four square nose. Underneath more fragrant as it evolved. Fullish body. The tannins now resolved. A meaty example with good grip and plenty of depth and energy. But not really the elegance one expects in Musigny.

1999 Georges Roumier 2016-2030

Fullish colour. Fullish nose. Ample and fruity. Not the most pure at first but eventually very good fruit and good ripe tannins. Medium-full body. Still needs to soften. Better on the palate than on the nose. The attack is purer, ripe, plump and full of fruit. It lacks a bit of real class on the follow through but it is at least fine. Still needs time.

1999 De Vogüé 2016-2030

Fullish colour. Still youthful. Full, abundant, gently oaky, still youthful nose. Fullish body. Still some tannin to resolve. Lots of depth, energy and class. Larger than life. Rich and concentrated. Long positive finish. Very fine indeed.

1998 Jacques-Frédéric Mugnier Now-2028

Medium-full colour. Now some signs of maturity. The nose is a little closed at first. Medium-full body. Ripe, elegant, cool, positive. The tannins now resolved. Balanced and elegant and fragrant. A lovely example which is now ready.

1996 Joseph Drouhin Drink Soon

Fullish colour. Barely mature. Sweaty nose. Medium-full body. Good grip. But it seemed rather stewed. No sunshine here. Is this a representative bottle?

1996 Leroy 2016-2030

Medium-full colour. Still youthful. Rich, dull classy, youthful, intense nose. There is a lot of depth here. Fullish body. High quality. Still very young. Good tannins. A lot of concentrated fruit. A big wine which still needs time. Fine plus.

1996 Jacques-Frédéric Mugnier Now-2025 plus

Fullish colour. Now a hint of maturity. Fragrant, quite soft, most attractive fruit on the nose. Very lovely. Delicate and pmoised. Naturally ripe and sweet. Medium-full body. Balanced and long and still youthful. Just about ready. Very fine indeed. Clearly the best of these 1996s but the 1999 and 2002 are even better.

1996 De Vogüé Now-2022

Medium-full colour. Just about mature. A little lumpy on the nose. Concentrated but four square. The wine lacks delicacy and finesse. Medium-full body. Rich. Still a little tannin. Good grip, but somewhat inflexible. Is it going to round off satisfactorily? On the evidence on this bottle I don't think so.

1995 Joseph Drouhin Now-2022

Fullish colour. Now just about mature. Like the 1996 a little sweaty on the nose. This blew away to some extent as it developed. Medium-full body. Rather rigid. There seems to be a lack of fruit here. The wine is ready but doesn't sing. Not much class despite plenty of vigour. I don't think the Drouhin style suits 1995. Nor, indeed, does that of Musigny.

1995 Louis Jadot Now-2025

Fullish colour. Now just about mature. Rich, concentrated, backward nose. Quite a big, profound, tannic, even austere wine. This tannin is rather dominant on the palate. The follow through is more ample and this gives the wine class and dimension. Very fine, and even better with food.

1995 De Vogüé Now-2022 plus

Full colour. Still youthful. Somewhat four square on the nose. Like the 1996 it lacks flexibility. But it is altogether a better wine. Medium-full body. Rich and concentrated. Good grip. Plenty of depth and dimension on the follow through. Fine plus.

1993 Joseph Drouhin Now-2030

Fullish colour. Still youthful. Very lovely nose. Fresh, ripe, succulent, profound and classy. Fullish body. Ample, very ripe, almost sweet. Lots of energy. Balanced and only just ready. Quite meaty for Drouhin and 1993, but very fine indeed.

1993 Louis Jadot Now-2030

Full colour. Still very youthful. The nose is very classy, but a bit tight at present. Fullish body. Lots of depth, grip and energy. Like the Drouhin plenty of natural sweetness. Real vigour at the end, and great class. Splendid finish. Excellent.

1993 Jacques-Frédéric Mugnier Now-2025 plus

Full colour. Still very youthful. Very lovely nose. This is fresh, pure, profound, elegant and complex. Medium-full body. The tannins now soft. Lots of clean, pure, succulent fruit. Very good grip. Again the natural sweetness of ripe Pinot Noir. Splendid.

1993 De Vogüé Now-2030

Fullish colour. Still youthful. Aromatic, ripe, gently oaky, and quite extracted nose. Fullish body. Some tannin. Just about fully absorbed. Rich and meaty in the best sense. Profound and full of energy. Very fine indeed.

1991 Louis Jadot Now-2020

Medium colour. Fully mature. Attractive, fresh, ripe nose. Now soft and round. Medium body. Elegant and complex. Not the depth and volume of De Vogüé but more style and greater length. Very fine.

1991 De Vogüé Now-2020

Fullish colour. Still very youthful. Fragrant, quite soft, ripe nose. No lack of volume and grip. Medium body. Ripe, round, succulent and velvety. Good complexity. Plenty of quality here. No hurry to drink. Fine, but just a little four square at the end.

1990 Jacques-Frédéric Mugnier Now-2025

Full, very vigorous colour. Barely mature. Very pure high-toned fruit on the nose. Fresh and persistent, with a touch of oak. Medium-full body. But still youthful. Long, classy, complex and ethereal. Very fine indeed.

1990 De Vogüé Now-2020

Fullish colour. Barely mature. Slightly over the top, and even a touch maderised as it developed. Certainly rather unbalanced. Fullish, but a bit astringent. Good grip, but it lacks silkiness and sweetness. This has always been a curious wine. I base this opinion in the main on bottles sampled in the USA, but even my stock in France is unsatisfactory.

1989 Joseph Drouhin Now-2020 plus

Good colour. Still fresh. Attractive, sweet, ripe, fragrant fruit on the nose. Delicate but persistent. Very classy. Medium to medium-full body. Fully ready. Mellow, ripe soft and profound. Lots of harmony and lots of finesse. Lovely finish. Very fine indeed.

1985 Joseph Drouhin Now-2020 plus

Medium-full colour. A little more than the 1989. Fully mature. This is fresher and more vibrant that the later wine. Very lovely nose. Complex and harmonious and very, very classy. Medium-full body. Rich, ripe, and a touch chocolaty. Lots of energy. Splendid.

1985 De Vogüé Now-2020

Medium-full colour. Fully mature. Good nose. Plenty of depth and substance. Medium to medium-full body. Quite fat and succulent, but a little one-dimensional after the Drouhin. Yet fresh, balanced and classy. Very fine.

1983 Clair-Dau Past its best

Medium colour. Fully mature. Ripe, spicy, now gentle on the nose. Less good on the palate. Not the greatest depth or class. The fruit has dried up a bit. Medium body. No undue astringency nor lumpiness but a little lean at the end. Drink up. This wine came from what is now Jadot's parcel.

1982 Clair-Dau Drink Up

Medium colour. Fully mature. Soft, juicy, pretty nose. Getting a bit light now. Light to medium body. Fruity, attractive and balanced if a bit one-dimensional. The acidity shows a bit on the finish.

1978 De Vogüé Drink Soon

Medium to medium-full colour. Quite a spicy nose. Roasted chestnut suggestions. Fresher on the palate. Very good fruit. Medium-full body. Ripe, stylish and fresh. Attractive and fruity. No leanness. Better than the 1976: more depth, richer, more complex. Lovely finish.

1976 De Vogüé Drink Soon

Medium-full colour. Really quite vigorous for the age. Plump and spicy on the nose. A bit light weight now. Medium to medium-full body. No astringency. This is fresh, ripe, balanced, clean and sophisticated. Really quite classy.

` 1971 Maison Joseph Faiveley Now-2020 plus

Medium colour.Mature but no real signs of age. Soft, ripe, fragrant nose, showing a touch of cedar wood. Medium-full body. Naturally sweet, elegant, cool, complex and harmonious. Intense, stylish, long and lingering at the end. Still plenty of life. Fine.

1971 De Vogüé Now-2018

Good, medium to medium-full mature colour. Good depth on the nose in a slightly four-square sort of way. Somewhat clumsy. Medium-full body. Good vigour. Plenty of wine here. Good fruit. This does not have the class of the Faiveley above but is very good indeed.

1969 De Vogüé Drink Soon

Medium to medium-full mature colour. Still fresh on the nose. This has more vigour but less structure than the 1971. Fragrant, stylish and long on the palate. Fine plus.

1969 Joël Hudelot Past Its Best

Good, fullish, vigorous color. Some age on the nose. The fruit is a little dry. Decent quality; indeed very good or better once upon a time. But now past its best. Rapidly collapsed in the glass. These vines are now owned by the Domaine Leroy.

1966 De Vogüé Drink Up

Soft, fully mature colour. A little age now. Gentle nose. Quite fresh. Quite sweet on the palate. Light to medium body. But still fresh and attractive. Fragrant and Chambolle-ish.

1949 Maison Seguin-Manuel Will Still Keep Well

Good full, vigorous colour. Very lovely nose. Rich and full and vigorous. Fullish body. Abundant fruit. Lots of energy. Ample and succulent. Lovely finish. Plenty of life head of it. Very fine.