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The village of Chambolle-Musigny lies in the very heart of the Côte de Nuits. The Musigny vineyards lie above the Clos de Vougeot between the Premier Cru climat Les Amoureuses and the Grand Cru Échezeaux. The altitude varies from 260 to nearly 300 m. The southern portion rises towards the plot known as Combe d'Orveau which marks the boundary between Musigny and Flagey-Échezeaux.
The Musigny family, which gave its name to the appellation, is now extinct but held important posts at the court of the Dukes of Burgundy in the 14th century. The boundaries of the USIGNY appellation were formally laid down on 16 April 1929, before the advent of the AOC system. It has always been a Grand Cru.
The gradient on this rocky limestone terrace is quite steep (8-14%). The soils, though not deep, are enriched by red clay in the upper section and are generally more clayey and less limey than the neighbouring Grands Crus. The rocks are of Jurassic origin (approx. 150 million years BC).
Red: this brilliant scion of the Côte de Nuits family has a preference for meat - natural enough given the power of its tannins and the lingering complexity of its aromas. But its individuality rests on the breadth of its sensuality in the mouth and the distinction that results from this. This lends it a particular affinity for fine poultry (roasted or stuffed) and feathered game in sauce, braised or - better still - patiently roasted. Glazed duck and crispy roast lamb would be at ease with this iconic burgundy, while cheeses like Cîteaux, Coulommiers or Brie de Meaux will also respond to its generous character.
Serving temperature: 14 to 16 °C
White: if by good fortune you should ever find yourself in the presence of a white Musigny, match it with only the most delicate of dishes - lobster, crawfish, or freshwater crayfish with a butter, cream, and truffle sauce (sauce nantua).
Serving temperature: 12 to 14 °C
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".
1990 VINTAGE in Burgundy
This is probably the vintage of reference for many people in Burgundy. Exceptional climatic conditions allowed an abundant crop to mature perfectly and yield some most sensational wines in both red and white. The white wines have maintained their elegant aromas and freshness which has made them even more appealing, whilst the reds are concentrated and well built with tannins which remain firm but smooth. To be enjoyed for many years to come.
The drought that had plagued farming in 1989 again took its toll in many parts of France in 1990 with the notable exception of the best vineyards in France, including those of Burgundy.This year in the vineyards of the Côte d'Or the weather conditions resembled those of the French Riviera.
At this time, the natural sugar level in the Corton Charlemagne was 14 degrees and in the best vineyards of Corton Grancey the famous "degré 13" was consistently attained. Monsieur Duvaud-Blochet, a famous wine-grower of the 19th century, theorized on this rarely obtained level of sugar declaring that it was undeniably the bench-mark of quality.
A long awaited brief period of rain at the end of August really saved the vintage. The return of sunshine after this short spell of bad weather allowed an already abundant crop to perfectly mature and to yield a considerable quantity of very high quality wines in both reds and whites.
This however does not mean that all 1990 wines will be good. Over-production in some cases, picking prematurely in others, and also the consequences of drought on some slopes had an effect on quality.
The fact remains that all regions of Burgundy have benefitted from three successive fine vintages. 1990 is surely the biggest in size and of a quality which is at least equal to that of 1989.
It is not impossible that in due course we will see the best of the 1990 being of the quality of some of the excellent vintages of the past like `64 and possibly even `59.
It is of the utmost importance for Burgundy to be in a position to offer such a selection of fine wines from recent vintages. The 1988's are still a little austere but are beginning to show all the qualities of a classic vintage. The 89's are plentiful and rich for the whites, charming and easygoing for the reds and the 90's could well be a combination of both.
Nobody knows as yet what will be the effects on prices. What is sure is that any expectation of further price increases is obviously denied by the wine- growers. A healthy decline in the prices compared to those paid last year would be welcomed by the Trade and accepted by them. In due course this will be reflected in the quotations and will help Burgundy to recover its share of the world fine wine markets.