I spend a lot of time cruising the aisles of wine shops. In fact, I’d say it’s something of a hobby of mine. These trips often result in great conversations regarding wine, spirits and even life. However, one of the most common topics is about Burgundy and how most wine lovers are simply too intimidated to even start. What’s ironic is how often I also hear long-time collectors state that it all ends in Burgundy, meaning if only they knew then what they know now, they would have bought a lot more in their youth.
It all comes down to price, style, and approachability. The fact is that Burgundy isn’t the easiest category to get into without someone to guide your purchases, whether it’s a trusted retailer, blogger or friendly Pinotphile. However, I assure you, it’s worth the effort.
The other day, while cruising the wine aisles, I had the honor of meeting Frederic Magnien while he poured through a number of his family’s wines from village level to 1er cru. Frederic was clear to point out that Domaine Michel Magnien is a true family affair and that four generations of family winemaking is what makes the difference. Frederic’s father, Michel, still works the vineyards to this day, while Fredric focuses on vilification. It left a lasting impression when I realized that Frederic’s son was also along for his tour. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that they own 27 acres in Burgundy spanning every classification from Grand Cru to AOC.
What stood out the most was how amazingly appealing they are in their youth, yet how each showed perfect balance and underlying structure. The new oak here is minimal, allowing the true colors of the fruit to show through. This is what good Burgundy is all about. Domaine Michel Magnien manages to capture the delicate nature of Pinot Noir, while maintaining its radiant red fruit, an assortment of woodland characteristics and, in each wine, a long, finely detailed finish. From nose to finish, these are thrilling wines.
2011 Michel Magnien Chambolle-Musigny Les Fremières – The nose is forward and very pretty, showing ripe cherry with a dusting of sweet spice, and floral undergrowth. On the palate, it is juicy and remarkably fresh with a combination of round, mineral-tinged red fruits, and a hint of wild herbs. It is lasting on the finish, as dried cherry gives way to the slight tug of tannin. It’s a radiant wine with a beautiful fruit profile.
2011 Michel Magnien Gevrey-Chambertin Les Seuvrées Vieilles Vignes – The nose is floral, yet intense with dark berries, dusty potpourri and dry earth. It’s still youthful on the palate, with tart red fruits and minerals, yet it’s the focus of the fruit which keeps you coming back to the glass. The finish is long with saturating wild berry and herbs.
2011 Michel Magnien Morey St. Denis 1er Cru Les Chaffots – You can nose some wines over and over and never get tired, as it is with the Michel Magnien Morey St. Denis Les Chaffots. Forest floor with wild herbs, crushed berries, gravel dust and minerals waft up from the glass in a truly alluring bouquet. On the palate, it enters angular and tight, yet quickly fleshes out to touch upon all the senses with focused red fruits carried by mouthwatering acidity. Long and fresh on the finish with ripe berries, spice and a hint of cedar. Utterly gorgeous.
2011 Michel Magnien Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Les Cazetiers – This shows a beautiful combination of crushed black cherry, spicy floral tones, and a hint of dry coco powder. On the palate, it is tense with its youthful structure contrasted by red fruits, which sway between sweet and then savory. A truly autumnal wine with dried floral tones lingering in the finish as long lasting red berry saturates and then soothes the senses. There is an amazing amount of potential in the glass.