Michel Magnien Morey-Saint-Denis 2018
The wines of Morey-Saint-Denis are often said to combine the structure of Gevrey-Chambertin with the perfume of Chambolle-Musigny. This Morey-Saint-Denis shows fresh red berries on the nose with notes of violets, spice, and earth. Old vines and heavier soils give this wine weight and richness on the palate.
Red Burgundy might be the world’s most flexible food wine. The wine’s high acidity, medium body, medium alcohol, and low tannins make it very food-friendly. Red Burgundy, with its earthy and sometimes gamey character, is a classic partner to roasted game birds, grilled duck breast, and dishes that feature mushrooms, black truffles, or are rich in umami.
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Domaine Michel Magnien has evolved into a Burgundy producer of a singular style and philosophy from their cellars located in the village of Morey-Saint-Denis. Michel Magnien was born in 1946 and worked alongside his father Bernard from a young age. The Magniens sold their grapes to the local cooperative until 1993 when his son Frédéric joined the family business and persuaded his father to bottle the entire harvest by themselves. Frédéric Magnien began experimenting with organic practices in the late 1990s and the entire production was certified biodynamic by Demeter in 2015. Frédéric has also evolved the style of the wines and today élevage takes place in only used oak and clay jars.
While Morey-St-Denis might not get the same attention as its neighbors, Gevrey-Chambertin to the north and Chambolle-Musigny to the south, there is no reason why it shouldn’t. The same line of limestone runs from the Combe de Lavaux in Gevrey—all the way through Morey—ending in Chambolle.
There are four grand cru vineyards, moving southwards from the border with Gevrey-Chambertin: Clos de la Roche, Clos St-Denis, Clos des Lambrays, Clos de Tart and a small segment of Bonnes-Mares overlapping from Chambolle. Clos de la Roche is probably the finest vineyard, giving wines of true depth, body, and sturdiness for the long haul than most other vineyards.
Pinot Noir from Morey-St-Denis is known for its deep red cherry, blackcurrant and blueberry fruit. Aromas of spice, licorice and purple flowers are present in the wines’ youth, evolving to forest and game as the wine ages.
Thin-skinned, finicky and temperamental, Pinot Noir is also one of the most rewarding grapes to grow and remains a labor of love for some of the greatest vignerons in Burgundy. Fairly adaptable but highly reflective of the environment in which it is grown, Pinot Noir prefers a cool climate and requires low yields to achieve high quality. Outside of France, outstanding examples come from in Oregon, California and throughout specific locations in wine-producing world. Somm Secret—André Tchelistcheff, California’s most influential post-Prohibition winemaker decidedly stayed away from the grape, claiming “God made Cabernet. The Devil made Pinot Noir.”