The Musigny from Domaine Georges Roumier is one of the most rare mythical wines from Burgundy. With an annual production of around 350 bottles per year it often reaches stratospheric prices on the secondary market rivalling some of the most expensive bottles from DRC.
So lets take a closer look at the terroir behind this fabled wine.
The Roumier plot on Les Musigny
The Musigny vineyard include three parts – from north Les Musigny, then Les Petits Musigny (a Vogue monopole) and then lastly a part of La Combe d’Orveau (Jacques Prieur).
The Roumier plot is located in the Les Musigny part of the great Musigny vineyard. According to the Roumier website the plot is 996 square meters, and this area only matches the cadastre plot 44 located in the upper northern part of Les Musigny – see the plot marked with a white line on the map below.
Taking a closer look at the plot we see that the plot 44 is located between the plots of Louis Jadot and Dufouleur and above one of the plots owned by J.-F. Mugnier – see map below.
Producers shown on the map:
- Domaine George Roumier
- Maison Louis Jadot
- Dufouleur Freres
- Domaine J.-F. Mugnier
- Domaine de la Vogeraie
- Maison Joseph Drouhin
- Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé
- Domaine Leroy
- Domaine Drouhin-Laroze
- Domaine Faiveley
Not all ownerships are confirmed .. so preliminary assignment of owners
The history of the Roumier plot
Roumier acquired the plot in 1978 but they have produced Musigny from this plot long before this, as they had the plot in metayage from the previous owners since the 1920s according to Clive Coates4. The previous owner is however not mentioned, so I have to turn to the old sources to analyze the historic ownership.
Lavalle 1 mentioned the following owners on Les Musigny in 1855 – Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé was strangely not mentioned as an owner on either Les Musigny or Les Petits Musigny by Lavalle.:
- de Montille
- Ferdinand Marey
- de Rothallier
- de Reulle
This list does however not give any direct information about the ownership of the current Roumier plot on Musigny.
This information could however found on an old map from 1890 indicate that the current Roumier plot was owned by Marie Vienot from Premeaux – see map below.
Combining the info on the map and the owners list found in Lavalle, it’s reasonable to conclude that Vienot owned the plot at least from 1855 to 1890. The source of this map is unknown, but it can be seen in better condition and resolution on Bill Nansons Burgundy Report.
Going forward to 1892 and Danguy and Aubertin2 there was no mention of Vienot among the owners on Musigny. A Jules Belin was however mentioned as a owner of Musigny, and presumably of the current Roumier plot. The link is that the large Vienot estate in Premeaux was sold to Jules Belin in 18916. The estate is today known as Domaine l’Arlot, and most likely the Musigny plot of Vienot was sold to Jules Belin, thus making him an owner on Musigny in 1891.
Moving forward to Rodier3 in 1920 there was no mention of Jules Belin among the owners of Musigny. This indicate that Jules Belin sold the blot on Musigny between 1892 and 1920. The Belin family however kept large parts of the current l’Arlot estate until 1987, where it was sold to AXA.
I have also seen vintages of Jules Belin Musigny after 1920 … so perhaps Jules Belin still had some plots on Musigny after 1920. It should be noted that the Vienot/Jules Belin plot was larger then the current Roumier plot (included both the Jadot plot and the Dufouleur plot), so most likely the plot was split at some point, after Jules Belin took over the Vienot estate in 1891.
I have not been able to link the ownership from Jules Belin in Danguy & Aubertin2 to one of the owners mentioned by Rodier in 1920.
Rodier mention the following owners on Les Musigny in 1920:
- Nicolas Bordet
- Louis Nié
- Pierre Ponelle
- Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé
Jorrot, Mugnier, Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé, Nié and Ponelle were all mentioned by Danguy and Aubertin as owners in 1892, but Nicolas Bordet was the only new owner on the list in 1920.
Bottom line … I have not been able to identify the previous owner of the Roumier plot … who owned it from at least 1920 until 1978.
Domaine Georges Roumier Musigny – The First vintage?
As mentioned Domaine George Roumier seem to have produced a Musigny from this plot since the 1920s .. and since Domaine Roumier was founded in 1924, the first vintage of the Musigny must be somewhere in the last half of the 1920s if Clive Coates is correct about Roumier having this plot in metayage since the 1920s.
I currently have no solid infomation about this, so it’s difficult to be precise about the first vintage produced. They did however not estate bottle the wines at this point, so the likelihood of finding an estate bottled Roumier Musigny from the earlier vintages is very very low. Domaine Roumier began to estate bottle in 1945 – but according to my knowledge most wines were still sold to negociants even after 1945.
I have seen tasting notes of vintages from the 1930s, but quite many of these bottles were tasted in a setting including some rather notorious people. This also goes for a lot of the tasting notes of the 1940 vintages.
According to the Roumier website the vines on Musigny are now 77 years old, i.e. planted in the mid 1930s (Clive Coates states that the vines on Musigny was planted in 1934 4), so the Musigny’s produced in the 1940s are presumably made from quite young wines … this also raises some question marks about some of the tasting notes I have seen from the great vintages in the mid/late 1940s … these are wines made from vines around 10 years of age!
Domaine Georges Roumier Musigny – The Wine
The Musigny from Domaine Roumier is a very rare bird indeed, and I have only tasted this magnificent wine once … The 1990 George Roumier Musigny … I drove all the way from Denmark to Netherlands to taste this beast.
Here is the note from the tasting on October 20th 2014.
The Musigny 1990 from Roumier is a quite mind-blowing wine … at age 25 it still needs 5 to 10 years more in the cellar to unfold completely. The bouquet is however quite open at this stage … revealing more and more glimps of the tremendous complexity hiding underneath the intense and quite tightly knit fruit. The nose offers layers of gorgeous redberry fruit, prunes, tar, oriental spices, hints of sous-bois and a beautiful filigree minerality from the mighty Musigny terroir. On the palate very cool and refined for a 1990, with a core of airy yet very intense fruit … its long, powerful, focused and very refined. Love the cool almost regal touch the Musigny terroir adds to the Roumier style. A truly magnificent wine – by quite some margin the best and most profound Roumier I have tasted so far.
As all other Roumier wines this really needs time to unfold, and judged by the bottle we had, the 1990 needed at least 5 to 10 years more to reach a reasonably matured stage. So this really require patience.
Looking at the Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé, Musigny 1990 they seem to be equally developed, so these big wines from 1990 really require time to unfold the full potential, if they are stored in a cool cellar.
My take on the Roumier Musigny is that it’s one of the very top wines from this mighty grand cru, alongside the wines from Vogüé, Mugnier and Leroy. The price reflects this, and then the miniscule production ensures that the market price reach a level way beyond my reach.
It comes highly recommended if you can afford it .. and will give it the benefit of sufficient time in the cellar. If you want to drink it within the first 15 years .. find a bottle of Mugnier instead.
And yes I think it’s ultimately a better wine than the otherwise magnificent Bonnes Mares from Roumier … but it also require even more time, and the Bonnes Mares will therefore in many cases be a better choise .. if you value the complexity of a matured or mature wine.
References & Sources:
- Jules Lavalle, Histoire et Statistique de la Vignes et Des Grands Vins de la Côte d’Or (1855)
- M.R. Danguy et M. Ch. Aubertin, Les Grands Vins de Bourgogne (1892)
- Camille Rodier, Le Vin de Bourgogne (1920)
- Clive Coates, Domaine Roumier profile
- The Domaine George Roumier website
- The Domaine l’Arlot website