Over the past few years we have become fully enamored with the wines of Rodolphe Demougeot. The 2016 vintage wines have arrived and they are tasting great. It’s always difficult to summarize vintage characteristics, especially in a land of such diverse microclimates like Burgundy; nonetheless generalizations can be made. The 2016 vintage is almost like an ideal marriage of the fresh structure of 2014 and the phenolic ripeness of 2015 without quite as much accumulation of sugars. In short: exceptionally well-balanced and drinking well early with excellent potential for long term development.
Based out of Meursault since 1992, Rodolphe has assembled nearly 20 acres of vines in distinguished village and Premier Cru vineyards of Meursault, Pommard, Beaune, Auxey-Duresses, Savigny-lès-Beaune, and Monthélie. Although one of the most respected French wine publications, Le Guide des Vins Bettane & Desseauve, consistently praises his wines for their elegance and finesse, somehow Rodolphe’s work still escapes the notice of most wine pundits – making his wines some of the most significant values in Burgundy.
As with all the best winemakers, Rodolphe believes that wine is made in the vineyard. No chemical herbicides, pesticides, or fertilizers are applied. He follows the rhythm of the lunar cycle when moving his wines and making picking decisions. He plows his vineyards by horse to aerate the soils. All wines are fermented spontaneously with indigenous yeast and are bottled by gravity. Everything is done by hand and it shows in the ultimate quality of his wines.
Domaine Demougeot “Les Clous” (Auxey-Duresses 2016) RED
100% Pinot Noir from a limestone and clay parcel of less than an acre adjacent to the village of Petit Auxey and just west of the Premier Cru plots on the hill of La Montagne du Burdon. The fruit was manually harvested in small crates to preserve the berries. After passage on a sorting table the grapes are fermented in vats for a period of 12 to 20 days. The wine is then matured in oak barrels for 14 to 16 months (15% new oak), and three months in tank. Bottling is done by gravity. The nose is classic Côte de Beaune with perfumed and herbal cherry fruit along with some minor notes of moist earth. The vintage personality is clear with rich and ripe fruit balanced by a fresh acidity. It is drinking so well right now that it could easily be the highlight of a spring dinner party.
All prices based on 6-pack purchase (mix-and-match)
~$31 Bourgogne Blanc
100% Chardonnay from a 1.5 acre parcel on a plot named “Murger de Limozin” with deep calcerous clay in the commune of Meursault. The vines were planted in 1967, 1986, and 2003. The grapes are manually harvested in small, 600-liter bins. The wine is matured in barrels for one year (10% new oak) and for four to five months in tank.
An assemblage of two lieux-dits, Les Chaumes (planted in 1957) and Les Pellans (planted in 1999), totaling about one acre. The wine is matured in barrels for one year (10% new) and for four to five months in tank.
~$31 Bourgogne Rouge
100% Pinot Noir from a 4.8 acre parcel of sandy clay and limestone in the commune of Chassagne-Montrachet. The vines were planted in 1961. The grapes are manually harvested in small crates to preserve the berries. The wine is matured in barrels for one year (10% new oak) and for two months in tank. Bottling is done by gravity.
~$89 Pommard “Les Vignots”
From a half-acre parcel planted in 1983 and located on the northern edge of the commune abutting the Premier Cru vineyard of La Chanière. The wine is aged in barrels for 16 months (30% new) and then three months in tank.
~$89 Pommard Premier Cru “Le Cœur des Dames – Charmots”
From a three-quarter-acre parcel on a heart-shaped, enclosed plot planted in 2001 (Le Cœur des Dames means The Ladies’ Heart). The wine is aged in barrels for 14 months (30% new) and then three months in tank.