It is consistently a treat to visit Domaine Mugnier, and an hour with Frédéric Mugnier always leaves one thoughtful.
Tasting wines here from a year like 2019 can easily leave one free of worries and intoxicated by the sheer beauty and complexity of the vintage – they are that good, despite clearly being a product of global warming.
The fact remains that 2019 was a hot year – as were 2018 and 2020. It almost begs the question as to when things will become so hot that producing classical Burgundies will no longer be possible.
The hot facts of Burgundy
The effects of global warming have been visible for many years now, although the impact has increased over the last ten years. In my view, we began to see its first effects much earlier, and by the mid to late 1990s, the cool years had started to disappear.
As Frédéric Mugnier points out, what could rather easily have been solved politically in the 1960s and early ’70s has now been neglected into an irreversible change to the Burgundian climate.
Tasting vintages like 2015 and 2018 – well-respected years with wines that will provide great pleasure – one realizes that we are tumbling down a steep slope, apparently without brakes.
The speed of the changes seems to be accelerating, and one could clearly worry about the prospects of another cool Burgundy vintage and begin to fear that no future vintages will live up to this description.
While 2019 was hot, the wines reveal freshness and even coolness. And with the low yields helping retain acidity, the 2020s are showing a “cool” character early on, even though it’s clearly not a cool vintage.
How long can we keep up the appearances? Will cool Burgundies disappear from Burgundy before The Winehog? Just listening to a Porsche starting up on the town square of Nuits-Saint-Georges indicates more wealth – and perhaps also a demise.
My apologies. This was perhaps a slightly depressing note with which to start off cheering of some of the best 2019s produced – if you like fresh and vividly styled Burgundies.
The 2019 vintage from Frédéric Mugnier
While Frédéric Mugnier has clear views on the effects of global warming, the tasting of his magnificent 2019s did bring out the smiles on more than one occasion on a rainy Tuesday afternoon in Chambolle-Musigny.
As expected, the Mugnier 2019s are spectacular, and despite the vintage’s warmth, the wines here are vivid, cool and lively.
Mugnier makes his wines with a light hand, and this suits the vintage very well, as muscular extraction in a warm year like this could lead to dense, un-Burgundian monsters.
The Mugnier wines are highly transparent, and while it’s early, they seem to offer all the qualities I look for in his wines: enjoyability, a refined expression of the terroirs, and delicate complexity. Not quite reaching greatness (the Musigny excepted), these are first and foremost wines of hedonistic pleasure.
The Chambolle-Musigny Village 2019 is the perfect appetizer to the rest of the line-up. It shows the virtues of the vintage, with the apparent coolness and vivacity of the fruit hiding the year’s warm nature. The nose offers vivacious red fruit with a peony/rose hint, and pomegranate acidity shining though. On the palate, the medium weight builds into a lovely, fresh, generous finish without getting dense or heavy. This has village character, which I happen to like. Denser is not always better.
(Drink from 2031) – Fine – (91-92p) – Tasted from cask 16/03/2021 –
For me, one of the finest elements of the 2019 vintage is the delicacy its best can offer, despite the underlying weight of the fruit. The Chambolle-Musigny Les Fuees 2019 is a perfect example of this. The nose offers perfumed, sensual fruit, with a refined coolness to the expression. What is “cool?” Lively and fresh are perhaps better descriptors for a hot vintage like this. Delicate red berries are brought forward by filigreed minerality, and it has an organic feel, with strong hedonistic appeal. This really drinks well! Sorry Fred – I’m only going to increase demand for these sought-after drops!
(Drink from 2033) – Very Fine – (92-94p) – Tasted from cask 16/03/2021 –
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