Mongeard-Mugneret Grands-Echezeaux Grand Cru (1.5 Liter Magnum) 1995
To the eye, a pure bright deep red, truly stunning. Clear and limpid, the shifting color nuances often vary, though generally tending towards fairly dark shades of garnet or violet-purple: a color that holds the eye. With age, the aromas tend towards pepper, musk, animal pelts, leather, spices, and prunes. Sometimes the bouquet hints at scents of woodland undergrowth, moss, mushrooms, damp earth, game, fruit liqueurs, and mulberries. Especially in young wines, one may well encounter scents of pine, dog roses, violets, and fresh cherries. On the palate, the wine is peaceful and dreamy, serene with age, subtle and refined; it fully reveals the complex nature of a really good Burgundy, all of the art that can be achieved through the medium of Pinot Noir grapes grown on one particular terroir. The structure is outstanding: solid, full-bodied, rich, and exceptionally harmonious. It is wholly appropriate for the qualification “Great” to precede Echezeaux in the name Grands-Echezeaux: it has that extra touch of class and vinosity along with a dense and subtle texture.
The Mongeard family arrived in Vosne-Romanée in the eighteenth century, with records showing a Mongeard working as vigneron for Domaine de la Romanée-Conti in 1786. In 1945, Jean Mongeard, whose mother was a Mugneret, found himself making wine at the age of 16 in the place of his father who had died years earlier. The entire 1945 crop was purchased by Baron le Roy, Marquis d’Angerville, and Henri Gouges. Gouges instructed the young Mongeard to personally bottle the wines, rather than sell in barrel. In 1975, Vincent Mongeard, Jean’s son, began working alongside his father and became responsible for viticulture and vinification of the domaine’s wines. He persuaded his father to return to the traditional method of bottling, without filtration, filtering only with certain vintages. Jean Mongeard retired in 1995, and Vincent assumed complete leadership of the domaine. Today, Domaine Mongeard-Mugneret covers a total area of more than 75 acres, split among 35 appellations. The varied range of climats in which the Mongeards own vineyards results, naturally, in wines of great diversity.
Claiming the two famous Grand Crus, Echezeaux and Grands Echezeaux, the identity of this village, Flagey-Echezeaux, rides predominantly on the glory of those two crus. All of the village or Premier Cru status vineyards in Flagey-Echezeaux market themselves under the name of their neighbor, Vosne-Romanée.
Echezeaux Pinot noir tends be light, bright and full of finesse, whereas those of Grands Echezeaux typically have more heft and complexity.
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.”