2012 Bourgogne Blanc Comte de Vogue

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Average critic rating : 92.5 points



Lime, white flowers and salt are some of the many notes that emerge from de Vogüé's Bourgogne Blanc, which is young-vine Chardonnay planted in Musigny. A wine that really exists in a class of its own, the 2012 is striking in its beauty. Smoke, slate and a host of intense saline notes support the vibrant finish. The 2012 is impeccable. It's as simple as that. Jan 2014, www.vinous.com, Drink: 2015+



The 2012 Bourgogne Blanc has been produced since 1994 from the young vines that were planted in the grand cru, planted between 1986 and 1997. Taken from cask, which had just been racked, it has a gras bouquet with scents of honeysuckle, custard creams and spices. It is well defined and very complex. The palate is very intense with lemongrass and shaved ginger on the entry. It immediately reminds me of a fine white Chateauneuf-du-Pape with an exuberant, pithy, spicy finish that you will not forget in a hurry.||When I reviewed de Vogue’s 2011s six months ago, I tempered my praise for this historical estate’s wines, confessing that I fail to connect with them, to engage with their personalities and form the same bond as I have fostered with say, Armand Rousseau or Denis Bachelet. That is one of the fundamentals of Burgundy: the connection between personalities of drinker and grower. I guess it had just never “clicked”. However, their 2012s are probably the first new-born de Vogue’s where I found that connection. That is not to say that they might turn out to be superior to any vintage ever produced at the estate, but this time I departed asking myself that prosaic question: “Are these wines that I would choose at a restaurant?” I answered to myself, “Most definitely – yes.” As usual I met with winemaker Francois Millet, who was in philosophical form, discussing the “innocence” of the 2012s, an analogy that flew way over my head. So let’s get down to some facts “We had a lot of millerandage,” he began. “The flowering was terrible but from 10 August until 22 September when the harvest began, we had much better conditions. We lost 5-10% (of the crop) due to hail and suffered some sunburn because the vines were used to the cold conditions, which damaged another 5-10%. During that favorable window we managed to catch up the maturity and there was no grey rot. Bunches were very healthy and we just needed to sort relatively little. The rendement was even less than last year’s, something between 15 and 20 hectoliters per hectare.” I enquired about the vinification of the 2012s and what approach he had taken. “I was very cautious with the Chambolle Amoureuses and Musigny, not to extract a vegetal element from outside influences. It was important to be very cautious. The malo-lactics were very slow – maybe because the yeast produced something that can be stressful for the bacterium. But they finished in August.” Francois compares the 2012s with more mineral-driven vintages, which he named as 2008, 2010 and 2011. “There is mineralite and freshness?like a bonbon,” he continued. “When you bite into it you get a contrast of flavors. You have the joy of living with this vintage: innocence and candor. Behind this innocence is a sense of reserve, which is good for the future. There is something serious about the vintage.” For me, there was a lightness of touch that I really appreciated about the wines – the 2012s seemed less “earnest” than previous vintages, less eager to please but their concentration and structure, much more refined and transparent and as a consequence they expressed their respective terroirs with clarity, unobscured by effort. I also tasted the Bourgogne Blanc, which for some curious reason I had never tasted before (although just 48 hours later I was drinking some Musigny Blanc whose notes will soon appear in “Up From the Cellar”.) For the first time I can remember, Francois intimated that the white wine will finally be worthy of grand cru status in 4 or 5 years’ time not that the vines are over 20 years old. eRobertParker.com.December, 2013

Comte de Vogue: The Importance

“Domaine Comte Georges is the source of many legendary libations,” writes Robert Parker, celebrating what has been an immovable landmark in the village of Chambolle-Musigny since the cellar was built in 1450. The same de Vogüé family owns the domaine to this day and have placed it comfortably at the top table of Burgundy’s great estates.


Experienced critics note this domaine’s history of great wines, but also note recent improvements in quality. “While I am duly mindful of the many legendary wines this domaine has produced (see the database for all vintages reviewed dating to 1919), the 2005 could very well join the list of the all-time greats,” writes Allen Meadows. Meanwhile Neal Martin awarded higher scores to the 2012s than any previous vintage from the domaine. Of the 2008’s John Gilman writes that: “the 2008s here may well be more on a par with the 1966s, 1964s and 1962s, as they share with those earlier vintages a striking transparency of soil, haunting perfumes and breathtakingly pure fruit tones.” One thing is certain: the quality at this historic address is better than ever.


Comte de Vogue:  The Insight

Described as “the boss” by winemaker François Millet, the Musigny Grand Cru Vieilles Vignes is the top wine produced from the enormous seven-hectare parcel situated dead in the centre of Burgundy’s largest uninterrupted plot of Grand Cru vineyards. This plot used to be its own distinct Grand Cru vineyard bearing the name Les Petits Musigny, effectively a Monopole of de Vogüé. The same wine is often referred to simply as “Musigny,” since younger vines are not deemed good enough for Grand Cru status and rigorously declassified to Chambolle-Musigny Premier Cru, which here plays the role of a second wine.


Very different in style, Bonnes Mares Grand Cru is one of the most cultish vineyards in Burgundy. Roumier, Mugnier and Dujac are de Vogüé’s neighbours here, producing some of the Burgundy’s most sought-after Pinot Noir-based wines. De Vogüé holds a very sizeable 2.7 hectares on reddish soils in the southeast sector of the Grand Cru, with the oldest vines dating back to 1945. The wines have been called “magnificent” by Antonio Galloni and “a reference standard wine of stunning elegance” by Allen Meadows.


Meanwhile, the Chambolle-Musigny Premier Cru Les Amoureuses is, for Clive Coates, “along with Gevrey-Chambertin's Clos Saint-Jacques, the prime Premier Cru candidate for promotion to Grand Cru.” Neil Martin comments on the 2012: “This is certainly Grand Cru quality and what d'ya know - under blind conditions I gave this exactly the same mark as their Musigny Vieilles Vignes!"


De Vogüé also produces a white wine from Chardonnay plantings in the traditionally red Grand Cru of Musigny. This is the only Côte de Nuits AOC that can produce both red and white Grand Cru wines, and de Vogüé is the only producer with the necessary plantings to make a Musigny Blanc Grand Cru. However, since 1993 all the white wine has been bottled as Bourgogne Blanc, again because the vines are deemed too young to produce a wine of Grand Cru status, though it is still the most expensive Bourgogne Blanc, typically one and a half times the price of Coche-Dury’s.


All of de Vogüé’s wines stand out for their intense and muscular style in their youth, often attracting very long drinking windows from critics.


Comte de Vogue:  The Background

Sources differ on the exact medieval origins of the estate, but the de Vogüé family traces its roots back over a thousand years and is one of France’s oldest noble families, and probably the only one to retain ancestral holdings in Burgundy. Today Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé is owned by Claire de Causans and Marie de Ladoucette, granddaughters of the late Comte Georges de Vogüé (1898-1987), after whom the modern incarnation of the domaine is named.


The wines have been made by François Millet since his arrival in 1986, during this time according to Robert Parker, he has “scarcely spared expenses devoting meticulous attention to virtually every possible detail of viticulture, vinification, and élevage,” often explaining his decisions, such as his obsession with minimum vine age, with anthropomorphic metaphors: “It’s a question of complexity,” he tells Decanter, “the Chambolle Premier Cru is like Musigny in short trousers.” Changes at this old-fashioned estate are slow, but the results speak for themselves.

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