2016 Domaine J-F Mugnier Musigny Vieilles Vignes


Frédéric Mugnier caused a few ripples when, tired of witnessing his Grand Crus martyred not long after bottling in restaurants around Beaune, he decided to withhold his Musigny Vieilles Vignes until he deemed it had several years’ bottle age. I wish more growers would follow his lead. The latest to be released is the 2016 Musigny Vieilles Vignes Grand Cru. I vividly recall tasting this with Mugnier in the barrel cellar after the dramatic frost-afflicted season. To refresh your minds, allow me to reproduce the relevant paragraph from that year’s in-barrel report. Mugnier explained: “There were three barrels of young vines, pruned as Cordon de Royat, which suffered limited damage from frost, and three barrels of older vines, pruned as Guyot, that were very badly hit. The former, regardless of the age of the vines, was tasting much denser and had a greater length than the latter. The final blend of Musigny includes all three barrels of the young vines plus one of the old ones, in order to bring a touch of freshness. The two remaining barrels were blended with the Chambolle Premier Cru Les Plantes and the few grapes from Combe d’Orveau to form the Chambolle-Musigny Trente-Deux, so called after the number of vintages that I have made.”

I have re-tasted the 2016 once in bottle, blind at the Burgfest tasting, where it flirted with perfection. Nothing has changed since then. Mugnier poured the wine in November 2023 after tasting his 2022s (bottles have not been labeled, hence the photograph of the cork). The nose is stunning. There’s incredible purity and intensity, fabulous delineation and a sense of exuberance as it doles out red berry fruit, fresh black truffle shavings and sous-bois. The palate is medium-bodied, with svelte tannins, poised and precise, gently building toward a seamless finish. It represents a heavenly evocation of one of the world's greatest vineyards. 99/Drink 2024-2060.

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