2003 Mugnier Bonnes Mares

2003 Mugnier Bonnes Mares

Year: 2003
Appellation: Bonnes Mares
Country: France
Burghound Rating: 92
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Producer note: Frederic Mugnier, who has now completed work on a brand new cuvrie which he told me wasn't easy to design, noting that the "trick was to make the new one fit in with the old one yet still be efficient." He describes 2003 as "a vintage that is becoming finer with time in barrel. It was very heavy at first and not very elegant; in fact, exactly the kind of wine that I do not like very much. However now, there is a certain charm to these wines and they are indeed quite serious. To me the question is rather one of style as they may appeal less to those who prefer classically styled burgundy." With respect to the particulars of the vintage, Mugnier reported that "we started picking on September 1st and brought in yields that were down about one-third. For me this means I realized only 20 hl/ha and the Musigny and Amoureuses were only 15 hl/ha. We did a lot of sorting work was it was absolutely critical to remove the dired and sunburned grapes. Sugars were strong, ranging between 13 and 13.7% and thus there was essentially no chaptalization. I did a bit less punching down than I would have normally done but in hindsight, had I known what I know now, I would have punched down as I always do. However, I am doing the élevage like I always do." Mugnier also told me that he grafted over a .40 ha parcel of pinot to chardonnay in the 9.55 ha Clos de la Maréchale and the first crop will be 2005. "I'm really looking forward to the challenge of making an interesting white and when I think of the very fine whites made by Gouges and l'Arlot, I think there's a good possibility we can too." As he often is, Mugnier is his own worst critic and as the comments and scores suggest, this is a terrific range of '03s. And as would be expected, the style is different from that of 2002 or 2001 but these are wines of real quality.

A nose of violets, spicy red and black fruit plus a distinct note of plum leads to dense, rich and very full-bodied flavors that explode in the mouth with a complex, pure and wonderfully sappy character, all wrapped in a finish that just doesn't quit. Class in a glass and the normally very strong 2003 vintage influence is less evident than it is in many top wines. Lovely stuff here and while it's not classic Mugnier in style, it's really quite an attractive effort, especially for the vintage. Plus, it's a wine that will age for decades and it's possible that I'm underestimating the full potential here as unlike some '03s, this is evolving very slowly.   Tasted 2008


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