Domaine Comte Georges de Vögué 2018 with François Millet
Domaine Comte Georges de Vögué is nothing short of a legend, for good reason. Their Musigny, Musigny Blanc (formerly Bourgogne Blanc), Bonnes Mares and Amoureuses continue to be the most highly sought after wines in the world. However I don’t think they are easy wines to understand and get — after dinners with various vintages of the grand crus and 1er crus in recent years, many fail to really open up to their full potential. The last bottle that I thought drank well, was a mere Chambolle village 2008 (which was gorgeous and a complete classic though, of course).
Nevertheless I am now a converted de Vögué fanatic, blessed by His Presence, who is the singularly unique Francois Millet, chief winemaker of the estate since 1986. After having met Jean-Luc Pepin, who was the most affable and patient in answering my many questions in Hong Kong, I greatly looked forward to visiting the domaine. However nothing prepared by the Dom, His Holiness, the Supreme Pontiff of Musigny that is François Millet. You have to understand that to visit him is a spiritual experience that is unlike any other domaine visit in Burgundy (perhaps only eclipsed by d’Auvenay, Leroy and DRC but I cannot attest to this fact having haven’t been to either, alas). He walks you throughout the entire cellar, pausing briefly in front of the barrels, stops, then sighs, then starts to speak slowly, carefully find the le mot juste to describe that year’s production: of the forest (Bonnes Mares), the deep lake (Musigny) and the river (Les Amoureuses), all part of the same ecosystem yet with their intrinsic differences. His long abstract soliloquies challenges your own beliefs about winemaking, about winemakers — like is this fucking for real? Or maybe I am the idiot that doesn’t get it?
He pours his Musigny 2018 from his glass via his pipette and a few drops land on my hand as he withdraws. In the incandescent glow of the lights in the cave, the pitch black Musigny glistens like blood against the pale lucent skin of the back of my hand. It is then that I realize, that I am the heathen to dare question the existence of a higher being. However sacrilege my thoughts were, all seemed to be forgiven as I swished the purposefully delayed malo fermentation of the 2018s in my mouth, most with impossibly inky black fruits characters, touches of coulis fruit and blueberries with floral finishes. I am blessed.
Sometimes, you find yourself in extraordinary situations for which there is no quite preparing yourself. This is one of them. Like watching the Nutcracker from the Bolshoi, attending the Sommernachtskonzert by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, seeing the Botticelli’s Primavera at the Uffizi for the first time, lying on the beach in San Sebastien after food comatose from eating one too many pinxos, getting lost in the gigantic exhibitions of the Venice Biennale, this is one of those seminal life experiences that I am glad to have had before I crumble to dust in my grave.
So I urge you, whether you believe in the hype, prefer Roumier’s or not, do come to de Vögué because you just might find God.
Domaine Comte Georges de Vögué Chambolle Musigny 2018: Deep purple in colour but not because of extraction. Violet and plum, with a good mix of red and black fruit. Described by Millet as “lost in the mountain and finding your way back to the car”.
Domaine Comte Georges de Vögué Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru 2018: 1/3 advanced malo. There is perfumed black fruit nose that is still dominant raspberry on the palate.
Domaine Comte Georges de Vögué Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru Les Amoureuses 2018: Also 1/3 advanced malo. Dense cherry and black fruit characters on nose and mouth, but feels quite elegant and fresh. There is finesse to the coulis notes with some raspberry, light spice and pomegranate as well.
Domaine Comte Georges de Vögué Bonnes Mares Grand Cru 2018: Super deep purple. The “Forest” of the bunch. The malo hasn’t started yet. The nose is curiously floral: peony and iris. The palate is pure but rich of black fruit. Millet noted, “the Musigny is distant, but the Bonnes Mares is more approachable”.
Domaine Comte Georges de Vögué Musigny Grand Cru 2018: Just finished with malic fermentation. This is the “lake” but there are no ripples. There is a good even mix of red and black fruit here, predominantly now with raspberries and pomegranate akin to Les Amoureuses. There is intense spice though with good mineral tension that elevates it to a true grand cru. Lost in its depths, you think of roses.
All wines tasted at the domaine in early June, 2019.