2010 Lignier-Michelot, Chambolle-Musigny, Vieilles Vignes
We discovered this amazing wine at a seminar in the fall led by Peter Wasserman, one of the top importers of Burgundy in the country. We recognized the Lignier-Michelot name immediately, as Bear had bought quite a few of their wines from the historic 2005 vintage. The wine leads off with an amazingly floral nose, which clearly marks it as coming from the village of Chambolle-Musigny, an appellation in the northern half of the Côte d’Or, known for its delicacy and elegance. However, tasting revealed that it comes from “the darker side of the village,” in the words of wine writer Antonio Galloni. It showed power, depth, and elegance; we even asked Peter if he had poured a wine by the great Freddy Mugnier by mistake! No mistake, although the winemaker, Virgile Lignier, was convinced by the example of Mugnier and others to put terroir before “house style” and began making more complex, site-specific wines in 2001. Virgile is the third generation of the family to make wine, but in 1992 he was the first to put out his own bottlings instead of selling it all to a negociant. While Lignier-Michelot is based in the neighboring commune of Morey-St. Denis, they own two outstanding parcels in Chambolle-Musigny: “Les Drazeys” (limestone) and “Les Gamaires” (clay), both planted in 1954, with the vines averaging about 50 years of age. This wine, a combination of grapes from both sites, reflects the accessibility of many of the 2010 village wines, limited in yield due to a very cold June, but impressive right out of the bottle. Based on Virgile’s track record, it could easily develop in your cellar for another three to eight years. And it’s very versatile as well: powerful enough to pair well with beef Burgundy, but earthy enough to go with poultry, lamb, sautéed mushrooms or even vegetable casseroles. It’s $65 and we have a few extra bottles available.
2011 Domaine Huet, Vouvray Le Mont Sec
Founded in 1928 by Victor Huet, a Parisien bistro owner, Domaine Huet rose to prominence through the tireless efforts of his son Gaston, the longtime mayor of Vouvray. (In the book Wine and War, there is an interesting chapter on Gaston Huet’s experiences as a POW during World War II, where the prisoners’ organizing of a special feast with wine literally keeps them alive.) Le Mont is one of Domaine Huet’s three Première Côte (Grand Cru) vineyards, and is known for the intense minerality of its stony soils. First planted in 1957, the eight hectare Le Mont generally produces the liveliest of Huet’s wines, and that’s certainly true of the 2011 vintage. The nose is a lovely blend of apple, quince, dried flowers, and a touch of honey and on the palate the wine is deep, and full-bodied with a long, bright finish. The estate, now in the capable hands of Gaston’s son-in-law, recommends pairing it with scallops, shrimp, or any dish with a citrus base. As an old vine Chenin Blanc (the vines average 25 years old), it can definitely age for another three to five years. In short, an amazing wine for $35!