On our last day of visits in Burgundy with the intriguing and pleasant mission of evaluating the extraordinary vintage of 2015, a Friday the 25th of November, we met up with François Millet at domaine Comte George de Vogüé, as we usually do in the last past years every time we are in Burgundy. This is our 3rd visit here. The domaine has been around for a long time, actually since 1450, and the owners, Claire de Causans and Marie de Ladoucette, are the 20th generation of the family. François Millet was hired by them in 1986. He is a perfectionist and talks about young vines as “gifted teenagers but without any experience”. They are the largest owner in the best vineyard of Chambolle, the 10 ha large grand cru vineyard; Les Musigny. In addition, 0.62 ha within this vineyard is planted with chardonnay for a very interesting re-planting of the Musigny blanc, but it has not yet been released to the market. They need to reach at least 25 years of age before they are ready according to François. Their other grand crus are; Bonnes-Mares and the “should be grand cru” Les Amoureuses. In addition, four premiers crus of which these can be mentioned; Les Baudes (bordering the Bonnes-Mares in the east) and Les Fuées (Their plot is in the middle bordering the Bonnes-Mares in the south) where roots have an average age of 45 years. They work organically, but they are not extremist in any way. Rather traditional and meticulous.
The 2015 vintage
François explains that 2015 vintage has a overly fast bud break, one week of flowering and a warm June and July without any rains that reminds him of the long drought in 1976, but he agrees that it also shares some characteristics with 2005, maybe ’85, but the combination of richness, generosity and crispness is rare. A bit of rain in August, truly saved this vintage. They started harvest early on the 3rd of September. There were little juice in the berries, so it is rich and concentrated, but at the same time remarkably fresh, balanced and transparent. Certainly a unique combo of richness, balance and freshness. Personally, we see the richness of ’05, juicyness of ’09 with the freshness and remarkable balance of ’10. While trying to find words for its characteristics in terms of vntages is interesting and hard to resist, what is truly clear however, is that it is truly unique and rare.
The ever so philosophic François has an interesting way of using metaphors to explain each vintage and he describes the vintage like relaxing on a ship’s deck on a Sunny day. He continues, “The Bonnes-Mares is the forest above the big, deep lake of Musigny and the river to that lake is the Amoureuses”.
2015 Chambolle-Musigny – BARREL
Mainly from Les Porlottes (west of the Chambolle village close to the nearby forest), but also contains juice from Chambolle’s premiers crus Les Baudes (bordering the Bonnes-Mares in the east) and Les Fuées (Their plot is the middle bordering the Bonnes-Mares in the south) that have an average age of 45 years.
A bright and fragrant nose. Bright black fruit wrapped in some spices and really fresh, vibrant minerals. Surprisingly elegant, balanced and generous for a village. 91-92p/100
2015 Chambolle-Musigny 1er cru – BARREL
This wine is made exclusively of declassified grapes from young vines (<25 years of age) in grand cru Les Musigny. “The Musigny in short trousers.” as he emphasis.
A slow and fragrant nose. Black fruit, but also pomegranate. Some spices and newly cut ginger. Notes of cinnamon. Really fresh, balanced and packed with vibrant and quite intense minerals. Elegant, rich and just so fresh. 93-94p/100
2015 Chambolle-Musigny 1er cru Amoureuses – BARREL
Mainly planted in 1964, 1974 and 1976. Only 0.56 ha in here. Stoney topsoil on a bed of limestone. They did a second racking just one week prior to our visit.
Beautiful, sensual and fresh floral top notes and vibrant, intense minerals at the base. Fruit leans more to black currant than normal, but also red currant and pomegranate. All wrapped in an abundance of sensual and intense minerals that steers the wine. Newly cut ginger and white pepper. A very sensual, delicate and sappy wine with impressive precision and persistence. 95-96p/100
2015 Chambolle-Musigny grand cru Bonnes-Mares – BARREL
2.7 ha located in the south-east corner of which the oldest were planted in 1945. Stoney and thin top soil mainly in the red soil part of this vineyard with more clay and marls, but very little minerals. François says that this wine is a wild man wine that needs close contact, but he was very careful this time and punched the grapes much more gentle than usual and fewer times than usual to avoid too much extraction and keep the sappiness. He also adds that “everything in here is purple in almost every sense”.
A very deep purple colour. Forest, pine, morning dew, peony? and black-blue fruit. Very, very juicy, creamy and sappy. Some anise seeds and undervegetation. A deep, multilayered, very pure and expressive wine with impressive precision. 96p/100
2015 Chambolle-Musigny grand cru Musigny – BARREL
The domaine owns the massive amount of about 7.5 of 10 ha here of this great grand cru. The oldest vines were planted in 1956, but parts were re-planted in steps 1986-1997. The terroir is not that much different from the Amoureuses, but it always offer more authority and precision. François compares it to the big and deep lake on a great summers day with little wind. 30% new, medium-toasted oak.
Deep red-red purple colour. Aristocratic and elegantly slow, but intense floral with a noble sensuality. The palate is long and balanced with an ample mid-palate of generous, rich and very fresh fruit; mainly pomegranate, but also black currant and raspberries. Some ginger and integrated spices too. Super elegant, driven by truly vibrant minerals and with that special precision and depth to die for already. It will be truly exiting to wait for the release of this wine. 97-98p/100
Frederik and François Millet