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Bottled poetry’: Five wines from the Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé

Wine specialist Charles Foley introduces five exceptional bottles from one of Burgundy’s most prized estates ahead of our upcoming Fine and Rare wines sale

Burgundy’s historic Domaine Comte de Vogüé dates back to 1450. Of this estate 7.25 hectares are dedicated to the fabled Le Musigny, 2.75 to the production of Bonnes-Mares, and 1.8 to the Premier Cru Chambolle-Musigny. 

At the head of the estate is François Millet — a poetic bon viveur for whom taming vines is an art akin to an author penning a poem, or a musical maestro raising his baton. 

Millet distills the essence of his wines through a tumult of lyrical French. Here, with a touch of that poetry, an introduction to five of the estates most exceptional wines: 

 

Musigny — the ‘saved’ year

The apex of Millet’s portfolio at Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé is the 7 hectares of Musigny Grand Cru. Great care is taken with the production of the noble grape, with only the oldest vines — a total of 3.8 hectares — used to produce wine with the most consistency and depth of character. In most vintages only 900 or so cases of the Musigny comes to market; the result is a wine to be sought out and treasured.

For Millet, the character of the resulting wine is that of a noble old gentleman; a cravat-wearing cognac-sipper, smoking a cigar as he holds forth on world affairs. Musigny is as sophisticated and serious as the metaphor suggests; strong vintages suggesting a robe of rich cherry and raspberry fruit billowing over warm chocolate and a Crème Brûlée texture. Stellar vintages such as 1990 and 2000 have an element of oriental spice, with a spray of sumac, paprika and black-pepper.

When, in 1991, a swathe of hail hit the Côte d’Or — with potentially disastrous effects for the grapes — Millet, an inventive and quick-thinking winemaker, instructed 60 locals to bring their tweezers to the sorting tables, and help remove every single damaged grape. As a result, the character of the 1991 Musigny today is fresher and riper than many Grand Cru Burgundies from that ‘annus horribilis’.

 

The Chambolle Musigny 1er cru — Musigny’s younger brother

The Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru is, to Millet ‘Musigny in short-trousers’; a child prodigy playing a Steinway piano in Carnegie Hall, only occasionally missing the melodic arpeggios of a Mozart concerto. The wine began its life with the 1995 vintage and, today, the domaine produces around 500 cases of a grand cru wine masquerading as a lowly premier cru. Vintages such as 2000 have a creamy edge and a fine lace of red fruit, before a late grab of tannin.

 

Elegant and refined Bonnes Mares

The domaine’s other star is their 2.7 hectare plot of Bonnes Mares, which accounts for 400 cases a year. The vines are on the Chambolle side of the Morey boundary — a parcel which tends towards elegant, refined Bonnes Mares. Fine old vintages deliver violet, strawberry notes with a delicate peony blossom underpinned by a ground coffee bean flavour and toasty oak. Darker and more brooding than the Musigny, for Millet it is an electric wine; like a thunderstorm about to break.

 

Les Amoureuses

The ‘first lady’ of the de Vogüé portfolio is the premier cru Les Amoureuses — or, the lovers. Ploughed by horses because of the stony topsoil, the parcel is a tiny 0.56 hectare holding and so a mere 160 cases vintage leave the domaine. Millet sees the wines as Musigny’s little sister, refined but never frivolous and a tasting of his stellar 1999 vintage reveals a bouquet of redcurrant and loganberry against a back-drop of sous-bois and mushroom. In time complexity develops, yet it never reaches the leather-armchair study wreathed in cigar-smoke where Les Amoureuses older brother Musigny sits.

 

The rarest of the de Vogüés

The rarest of the de Vogüé wines is the Bourgogne Blanc, an exquisite Chardonnay that Millet crafts from a tiny 0.6 hectare plot at the top of the Musigny parcel. Though the wines have the right to bear the title Musigny Grand Cru Blanc, Millet himself has decided that recent vintages do not yet have the depth and complexity to warrant it. The wine, therefore, makes do with a humble village label, though strong vintages such as 1996 and 2000 show a delicious waxy, satin texture holding together a mesh of citrus, hazelnut and butterscotch flavours. It is rumoured in the coffee houses of Beaune that Millet will one day produce Musigny Blanc from this plot — locals say it is only a matter of years.

 

The domaine’s reputation today

Millet works alongside Jean-Luc Pepin, who runs the Domaine and Eric Bourgogne, who tends the vines. It is a triumvirate that produces outstanding results vintage upon vintage and has enabled the domaine to recover its reputation in recent years. In 1925 the estate was inherited by the Comte Georges de Vogüé and, until the early 60’s, fabulous wines were crafted from the plots under his ownership in Chambolle. The Comte’s absence from Burgundy in the 60’s and 70’s saw quality levels slide and it is the current team that have maintained a celebrated level of quality under the ownership of the Comte’s granddaughters since the early 80’s. Winemaking at the Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé is like a conversation, with the wines matching Millet’s lyrical poeticism with structure, energy and a complex cornucopia of flavours.

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History

Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé has remained by inheritance in the same family since 1450. Twenty generations enlarged and enriched this family estate whose stewardship continues with Claire de Causans and Marie de Ladoucette. They themselves are grand-daughters of the legendary Comte Georges de Vogüé who inherited the estate in 1925 and ran it for over 50 years; His daughter Elisabeth, Baronne Bertrand de Ladoucette, managed the estate from the early 1980s until 2002, and it was under her tenure that was established the new executive team that exists today - Eric Bourgogne, Chef de Culture in 1996, François Millet, Maître de Chai and Oenologue in 1986, and Jean-Luc Pépin, Sales Director in 1988.

The house built by Jean Moisson in the 15th century, together with the cuverie and other buildings around the inner courtyard of the Domaine, are therefore symbols of both history and continuity, awesome responsibilities now shared by Claire de Causans and Marie de Ladoucette and their executive team

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Vineyards

The Domaine's holdings are located entirely in Chambolle-Musigny which is an unspoiled village surrounded by limestone escarpments. Musigny is one of the two Grands Crus of Chambolle-Musigny. It is located on a hillside, south of Chambolle-Musigny, with a southern-east exposure. It lies in the middle of the slope, where the soil produces an optimal balance of structure and elegance. The limestone soil gives a high initial acidity, bringing a supreme elegance and an aromatic purity and finesse to the Musigny.

The soil really speaks through the vine and the wine and emphasizes in the wine delicacy, finesse, elegance, and fragrance, at the expense of weight, muscle, size and overwhelming tannins but combines the above with power, intensity, grip, depth and complexity. Musigny is the pinnacle and probably the most sought-after. It hides a great underlying power and strength, the proverbial "iron fist in velvet glove".

Apart from a tiny plot of First Growth Les Amoureuses and 18 per cent of the Grand Cru Bonnes-Mares, which make the domaine the biggest proprietor of this appellation, the domaine owns 70 per cent of Grand Cru Musigny.

Les Amoureuses is very closely related to Musigny both in style and character. The vineyard covers 5.4 hectares and is divided between 14 owners, with Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé owning 0.56 hectares, making it the third-largest owner. The de Vogüé part is located on the southern top, just above Vougeot Clos de la Perrière, and is ploughed by horses because of the stony topsoil. On average only around 160 cases per vintage leave the domaine. 

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8 different wines with 151 vintages

Highlights

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Wine Moments

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 Clive Coates / MW, Wine Writer (France)  tasted  1 wines  from  Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé . In a tasting of  10 wines 

Chambolle-Musigny, Les Amoureuses, 1999 Comte Georges de Vogué / Given that the Domaine de Vogué owns over 7 hectares of the 10.65 extent of Le Musigny and 56 ares of the 5 hectares Les Amoureuses, not to mention 2.7 hextares of Bonnes Mares, we are among one of the greatest domaines in the Côtes d'Or. Since the mid-1980s this estate has hardly put a foot wrong. Here in 1999 we are  at the very highest Burgundy can achieve.


This is a very lovely wine. Full, rich, powerful, yet with the usual Chambolle delicacy and spectacular concentration of fruit. It apears to be only just ready, but seemingly there is a lifetime ahead of it. Brilliant!

1m 22d ago

 John Kapon / CEO / Ackerr Merrall & Condit, Pro (United States)  tasted  1 wines  from  Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé . In a tasting of  17 wines 

Moet & Chandon Vintage 1911 / This was a later release; in fact, it was released by Moet to celebrate the 100th year of this vintage.  When first released, it was sold at auction along with a date with Scarlett Johansson.  I’m not sure if the first buyer ever got that date, but I do know that the second buyer insisted if he got that date, Hollywood history might have been a little different lol.  There was a ‘bigger finish’ here per Big Boy, and Jetski admired its ‘smokiness.’  There was so much exotic to this bottle – exotic fruits, exotic fireplace.  It was clearly the most complex, and most people’s favorite.  110 years old never tasted so good (98).

5m 12d ago

 Allen Meadows / BWW2022 - Best Burgundy Critic of the World, Wine Writer (United States)  tasted  2 wines  from  Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé . In a tasting of  19 wines 

Méo-Camuzet Clos de Vougeot 2018 / An unusually spicy and appealingly fresh array is comprised by liqueur-like red berry fruit aromas, especially cherry, that are laced with notes earth, lavender and a whisper of exotic spice. There is a lovely sense of underlying tension to the rich, well-detailed and relatively sleek medium-bodied flavors that display focused power on the sneaky long and markedly firm finale. 
Barrel Sample: 91-94

8m 25d ago

 Neal Martin/BWW2022 - Best Bordeaux Wine Critic of the World, Wine Writer (United Kingdom)  tasted  1 wines  from  Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé . In a tasting of  19 wines 

The DRC 2020 La Tâche Grand Cru had not been racked and so I was able to taste this from barrel, unlike the Romanée-Conti. It has haunting precision on the nose, introverted at first, dark berry fruit like the Grands-Echézeaux but with more complexity. The palate is very pure with a granular texture on the entry, immense depth and precision, a killer line of acidity with a very sapid finish. Quintessentially La Tâche. If only there were a time-machine so I could fast-forward and taste this exquisite La Tâche in bottle. 97-99

9m 8d ago

 Allen Meadows / BWW2022 - Best Burgundy Critic of the World, Wine Writer (United States)  tasted  1 wines  from  Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé . In a tasting of  24 wines 

Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé Bonnes-Mares 2018 is very deeply colored, in fact so much so that it would make a young port blush! The ripe aromas of red and blue berries, spice and earth display a mentholated top note. The dense, powerful and mouthcoating broad-shouldered flavors possess evident muscularity while delivering excellent length on the youthfully austere finale. This isn't refined, indeed it's borderline rustic, but it's a dramatic and impressive wine that should live for decades.

9m 15d ago

 Allen Meadows / BWW2022 - Best Burgundy Critic of the World, Wine Writer (United States)  tasted  4 wines  from  Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé . In a tasting of  17 wines 

Domaine Comte Georges de Vogue Musigny Grand Cru Vieilles Vignes 2018/ A ripe and super-fresh nose offers up notes of black raspberry, plum liqueur, Asian-style tea and a whiff of incense. The racy, intense and mineral-driven big-bodied flavors retain outstanding delineation as well as an abundance of palate soaking dry extract before delivering stunningly good length. This incredibly powerful effort is both classy and highly complex and like the Bonnes Mares, is a wine that will live for decades. With that said, it's not so backward and compact to preclude it being approachable after only 10 to 12 years. 
Barrel Sample: 94-97

1y 2m ago

 Jeannie Cho Lee MW, Wine Writer (South Korea)  tasted  1 wines  from  Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé . In a tasting of  26 wines 

Château Mouton Rothschild 2016 / Gorgeous, subtle, layered Mouton with delicate and detailed flavors that linger on the palate for a long time. The density of the tannins combine with wonderful freshness and layers of flavors that range from dark berries, savory spices to cedar and earth. A glorious Mouton that has stature and concentration without any heaviness. The blend is 83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 1% Cab Franc and 1% Petit Verdot. The latter two varieties were co-fermented.


99 points

1y 5m ago

 Allen Meadows / BWW2022 - Best Burgundy Critic of the World, Wine Writer (United States)  tasted  2 wines  from  Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé . In a tasting of  18 wines 

Romanée-Conti La Tâche 1990 / A stunning, massive, full-on and completely classic La Tâche nose that displays almost unbelievable complexity so with many different elements that it is impossible to even begin to describe them all; the primary components include ethereal and still fresh pinot fruit, clove, knock out spiciness, anise, hoisin, soy and a trace of earth but these elements only hint at the sheer depth. The flavors are big, rich, refined, classy, penetrating and superbly powerful yet everything is in perfect balance and there is more than sufficient sève to balance off the still considerable tannins. The finish is intense, pure and so long that it is haunting; I could literally still taste this wine days later after I had it because it had such a dramatic and emotional impact. In its youth, this was one of the finest young Burgundies that I have ever been privileged to try and it only seems to get better with each passing year. For my taste, this is getting close to arriving at its peak but it's not quite there though again, I stress that this is to my taste and some may find it to already be in its sweet spot of maturation. In short, this is absolutely brilliant.

1y 5m ago

 Clive Coates / MW, Wine Writer (France)  tasted  1 wines  from  Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé . In a tasting of  41 wines 

Montrachet, 2002 Domaine Des Comtes Lafon.
Montrachet, please notice. No Le, as the plot is on the Chassagne side. Here was a wine which took its time to come out of the glass. At first I was a little underwhelmed, but after ten minutes or so, the richness, concentration, and indeed a succulence almost like a red wine, began to appear. We have something which is quite oaky, still quite youthful, full bodied and very classy indeed: the depth unmistakably of a grand cru. Quite splendid!

1y 10m ago

 Jancis Robinson MW, Wine Writer (United Kingdom)  tasted  2 wines  from  Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé . In a tasting of  21 wines 

Cristal 2008 / 16% malo, only on Pinot Noir from the Montagne de Reims. ‘There were lots of similarities with 1996, which gave us the possibility to replay the 1996 vintage! Maybe we picked 1996 a bit early so in 2008 we waited longer, by at least a week, than in 1996. Lots of tasting – far more than in 1996 when Roederer based picking only on analysis – and there was no malo in 1996.’ For the first time ever, they decided to release it later than the younger vintage, 2009 – so 2008 had nine years on lees. The last batch of 2008 will be disgorged in March 2019. (Scan the back label via the Roederer app to get the disgorgement year.) Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon is coy about the assemblage. ‘I’m looking for chalkiness.’ In 2008 60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay, which reflects perfectly the balance of their plantings. 40% of the estate was biodynamic then.
Really dense nose with lots of evolution but still extreme freshness. Some apple-skin character. Bone dry but wonderful lift and freshness. Long and super-lively. Real undertow, but very racy on the nose. Lots to chew on. Really elegant!

2y 21d ago

 Neal Martin/BWW2022 - Best Bordeaux Wine Critic of the World, Wine Writer (United Kingdom)  tasted  3 wines  from  Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé . In a tasting of  26 wines 

The half-bottle pair of 1945 Musigny Vieilles Vignes Grand Cru from Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé was part of an extraordinary private dinner that focused upon 1945 clarets. I did not mind the brief detour into Burgundy. Our generous host wanted to compare two bottlings of this legendary Burgundy, one bottled at the domaine and the second an “Avery of Bristol” bottling acquired at the auction of the much-missed John Avery MW. First and foremost, for all those half-bottle naysayers, after 74 years both showed extremely well, and according to a fellow guest they were as good as a 750ml bottle. They revealed no signs of fatigue, nor did they exhibit any excessive vigor that would have raised suspicions about their authenticity. The domaine bottling came with a neck label stating that the wine was bottled in August 1947 and the quantities produced, although I did not take a note at the time. It demonstrated bricking commensurate with a Burgundy of this age. It is blessed with a heavenly bouquet of astounding precision, extant red fruit laced with camphor, jasmine tea, loam and, with aeration, a splash of balsamic. The bouquet seemed to gently intensify with aeration but always remained somehow languid. The palate comes across as extremely harmonious, exuding that sense of Pinoté. I noticed some distant similarity to a mature Rioja Gran Reserva toward the finish, but if anything, with aeration it reverts back to quintessential mature Musigny, developing a discreet gamy note that I absolutely adore. This is a magnificent wine that lived up to expectations. 98/Drink 2020-2035. The Avery bottling was very similar in appearance to the domaine bottling. Likewise, the aromatic profile bore many similarities, albeit with perhaps even more precision. That sweet core of red fruit is present and correct, laced with similar tertiary and gamy characteristics. The main difference was on the palate, which was texturally slightly more honeyed by comparison and consequently shaved away a little precision on the finish. It is still a gorgeous wine, but in the end I decided that the domaine half-bottle just had the edge. 97/Drink 2020-2030.

2y 2m ago

 Jeannie Cho Lee MW, Wine Writer (South Korea)  tasted  1 wines  from  Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé . In a tasting of  28 wines 

Vega Sicilia Unico 1942 / Lovely silky texture on this 72-year-old wine under its original cork. Dried autumn leaves accented with sweet oak and vanilla. Incredibly fresh and lively; impressive. Drink 2014-2023 97 points

2y 9m ago

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