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Around the store, when we open a bottle of Burgundy, it's almost never the fancy stuff. Not only are the top wines on the shelves expensive but they are in short supply. Mostly it's Bourgogne level and village wines. So we go out of our way to find wines at this level that really over-deliver, made by great producers who treat those basic wines as anything but basic. Enter stage right: Domaine Gérard Mugneret.
The name Mugneret crops up in Vosne the same way that Morey does in Meursault or Moreau in Chablis. But all Mugnerets are not created equal. Pascal Mugneret, Gérard's son, is a third-generation winemaker. His grandfather René created the domaine and made tremendous wines (I have fond memories of a '62 Vosne that I was lucky enough to taste about ten years ago). Gérard, too, made terrific wines.
Pascal, a former physicist, took over the estate from his father in 2005 and immediately set about making changes, most notably in the vineyards. He began by halting the use of chemical treatments and then over the next five years converted the vines to biodynamics. He carefully monitored the vineyards to isolate the best material to create a massale selection unique to the domaine and worked to reduce sulfur additions. I am indebted to Pascal, who took the time to write a short history of his work and principles for the website of his US importer Becky Wasserman. You can find the full text here, but I wanted to highlight a passage that I think conveys Pascal's intention quite clearly.
'It took me almost ten years to realize what kind of wine I wanted to make. I think that subconsciously, I knew much earlier, though, because the choices I made during those years are compatible with my current vision. I hope to work more closely with Nature in order to make wines that are alive, that have soul. Technical perfection does not interest me, the result is a ‘colder’ beauty. I hope to make wines that tell a story, and for them to be able to do so freely there has to be a balance between control and letting go; that is the most complicated part. Wine is not limited to its variety, terroir and vintage; it is also an interpretation. In summary, a wine is not alive unless the life inside the grapes is preserved and nourished by those who brought them into existence in the first place.'
Today we are very excited to present an unbroken vertical of Pascal's Bourgogne Rouge, beginning with 2013 and continuing through to the most recent release of 2018. Sourced from two parcels in Vosne and one in Chambolle, this wine is exemplary and a perfect microcosm of the domaine's production: intense pure fruit character, suave texture and clear representation of the terroir. It's an opportunity to follow in real time the work and evolution of a terrific estate.These vintages are especially fascinating, as they include some which were relatively easy and some that were challenging, even brutal, for the growers.
2013: A cold year and one marked by heavy spring rains and disastrous hail that decimated crops but ultimately produced balanced and precise wines - Mugneret's wine is clear, focused and beautifully refreshing, with terrific acidity that should allow it to improve further for some years.
2014: Another hail year and a cold August made for late ripening but the wines produced are some of the most balanced and beautiful in recent memory. This is poised and serious, with pure red fruit and showing real Vosne character, full of soy and spice.
2015: No ripening issues here. Famously warm, to the point where it affected yields as berries dropped from the heat. Bourgognes present great value and Pascal's is no different - it feels generous without being overripe and is intensely pleasurable.
2016: For farmers, this was another disaster - frost during budbreak and mildew throughout spring and summer decimated yields, with losses up to as much as 70 or even 80 percent. But what was left was of remarkable quality. These are wines of great precision and clarity that will live for many years.
2017: A year of joyous wines, reflecting a growing season with good yields and free of serious problems. Juicy, snappy wines that feel exhuberant and fun to drink. You can almost taste the relief the growers felt as harvest came to a close.
2018: Warm, dry and free of disease, these are powerful stately reds with lush fruit and great structure for aging. The high percentage of whole clusters in Pascal's Bourgogne lends freshness - this is lovely.
The vintages on offer today are available individually. BUT purchase the six pack with one of each and the price includes a ten percent discount. We hope you will take advantage of this opportunity to combine pleasure and geekery. Sam Ehrlich
**Wines will be available for pick-up Thursday 3/25/2021**
**This is a box of SIX bottles - one of each vintage listed**