Our appointment in Vosne-Romanee was at 2pm with the two sisters, Marie-Christine and Marie-Andree of Domaine Georges Mugneret. I arrived in the small charming village an hour in advance so I could grab a sandwich and bottle of sparkling water and drive out to the famous vineyards of La Tache and Romanee Conti. I found Romanee Conti first up the small road behind the church. It was exciting to see such a famous vineyard and even more special -- there was someone plowing with a horse and hand-plow further up the hill.
After watching for a while, I headed to La Tache and sat on the stone wall in the sun to eat my lunch. It was truly one of the most peaceful times on my trip to France, and I still remember the calmness that settled over me as I viewed those amazing old vines that give birth each year to one of the most expensive and famous wines in the world. The weather was partially sunny with wispy clouds, birds singing, and the sound of machine plows in the distance.
As I ate my sandwich and relaxed on the wall I noticed a second horse and plow further up the hill above La Tache. Then one of the strange looking blue machines actually came into La Tache vineyard. I watched astounded as its metal blades dug up the earth and re-deposited it around those famous old vines. What if his hand slipped on the wheel? What if he accidently ran over a vine? It was a job that I wouldn’t want.
Eventually I finished my lunch and drove the short distance to Domaine George Mugneret where I reconnected with Eric and Mao. The sisters were incredibly gracious and took us into the vineyards, through a tour of the cellars where we were able to see their amazing pigeage machine, and then we tasted some of the most heavenly wines I’ve ever had in my life. I’ve read that Vosne-Romanee wines are the jewel of the Cote d’Nuits, but I had never tasted one until today. Each wine – even the village level – was brimming with pure fruit; elegance; grace; and something magical.
As we moved up in level from village to premier to grand cru, my amazement only increased. The wines had escalating levels of complexity, and each was a joy to explore. In the end, I discovered so many elements in the last wine that I finally understood what others have written about a wine that mesmerizes. When I held it to my nose, I first had a whiff of earth and minerals; then on the tongue it turned into elegant cherry and raspberry fruit; next came vanilla, spices, and finally a hint of coffee – with a long finish of perfect tannins and a cleansing acid.
Of course they were sold out of everything, but it was still such a delight to taste those wines. As we headed out the door, we bumped into Robert Parker’s new Burgundy reviewer - coming to taste their wines. I am hopeful that he gave them some very positive scores.