Gerard Mugneret Nuits St Georges Les Boudots 2001
Today Gerard works 8.5 hectares (20.4 acres), all of which are red grape (Pinot Noir) territory. A portion of the vineyards are worked on sharecrop contracts, so the actual production brought back to the winery is equivalent to approximately 6 hectares of vines. His wife, Francoise, who has been working the vineyards with Gerard since their marriage in 1973, also helps with all levels of administrative work of the estate.
Gerard takes his profession very seriously "a winemaker must have much humility, as is true in every day life! Once money and success arrive, too many people quickly forget the warmth of human contact, friendly ties and the help that can exist between winemaker colleagues." His philosophy towards the domaine is to vinify and bottle his entire harvest every year. This is why he is so attentive in the vineyards, working with just one employee that he himself trained. Between them exists trust and mutual respect, which is very important to Gerard. For Gerard, the vines are living beings and he treats them as such, actually speaking to them as he works. He has the impression that the vineyards respond to him in their own way, with the crop that they offer him at the end of each season.
The origin of perhaps the world’s very finest Pinot noir, Côte de Nuits is the northern half of the Côte d'Or and includes the famous wine villages of Gevrey-Chambertin, Morey-St-Denis, Chambolle-Musigny, Vougeot, Vosne-Romanée, Flagey-Echezeaux and Nuits-St-Georges.
Fine whites from Chardonnay are certainly found in the Côte de Nuits, but with much less frequency than top-performing reds made of Pinot noir. The little village of Nuits-St-Georges in its southern end gave the region its name: Côte de Nuits. The city of Dijon marks its northern border.
One of the most finicky yet rewarding grapes to grow, Pinot Noir is a labor of love for many. However, the greatest red wines of Burgundy prove that it is unquestionably worth the effort. In fact, it is the only red variety permitted in Burgundy. Highly reflective of its terroir, Pinot Noir prefers calcareous soils and a cool climate, requires low yields to achieve high quality and demands a lot of attention in the vineyard and winery. It retains even more glory as an important component of Champagne as well as on its own in France’s Loire Valley and Alsace regions. This sensational grape enjoys immense international success, most notably growing in Oregon, California and New Zealand with smaller amounts in Chile, Germany (as Spätburgunder) and Italy (as Pinot Nero).
In the Glass
Pinot Noir is all about red fruit—strawberry, raspberry and cherry with some heftier styles delving into the red or purple plum and in the other direction, red or orange citrus. It is relatively pale in color with soft tannins and a lively acidity. With age (of which the best examples can handle an astounding amount) it can develop hauntingly alluring characteristics of fresh earth, savory spice, dried fruit and truffles.
Pinot’s healthy acidity cuts through the oiliness of pink-fleshed fish like salmon and tuna but its mild mannered tannins give it enough structure to pair with all sorts of poultry: chicken, quail and especially duck. As the namesake wine of Boeuf Bourguignon, Pinot noir has proven it isn’t afraid of beef. California examples work splendidly well with barbecue and Pinot Noir is also vegetarian-friendly—most notably with any dish that features mushrooms.
For administrative purposes, the region of Beaujolais is often included in Burgundy. But it is extremely different in terms of topography, soil and climate, and the important red grape here is ultimately Gamay, not Pinot noir. Truth be told, there is a tiny amount of Gamay sprinkled around the outlying parts of Burgundy (mainly in Maconnais) but it isn’t allowed with any great significance and certainly not in any Village or Cru level wines. So "red Burgundy" still necessarily refers to Pinot noir.