Wines of the Year Begins! Ian's pick is....

Posted by Ian McFadden

Wine of the Year #1: Ian's Pick
2011 Mugneret-Gibourg
1er Cru Les Chaignots
"My advice is not to miss them!" -Burghound

I could easily have picked a wine from Mugneret-Gibourg as my wine of the year for the past several years.

The truth is, these already have a rabid following among Burg nerds and savvy collectors alike, and heaping on any further praise just feels like fanning the fire. In the past year, though, the wines of the kind, soft-spoken Mugneret sisters have risen to the top of all that is revered in red Burgundy.

So this year, I'm caving in to the inevitable, choosing Mugneret-Gibourg’s 1er Cru Chaignots as wine of the year; let's call it a tribute to this awakening.

My amorous history with the estate aside, tasting their 2011s on my trip through Burgundy this year was absolutely a highlight. Mugneret-Gibourg really "got" the vintage: The wines harness the precision of 2011, but with an allure that is fleshy, sensuous, simply gorgeous.

Mugneret-Gibourg is making some of the most honest, vibrant wines in all of Burgundy, and as impressive as the 2011 wines are as a whole, Chaignots in 2011 is particularly compelling.

The 2011 Chaignots perfectly captures what makes Mugneret-Gibourg so essential: it's that purity of richness, and as oxymoronic as it may sound, this 1er Cru has it. Taste it; you'll see what I mean. Where the best producers in Nuits-St-Georges can take the commune’s chunky earthiness and give it lift and clarity, the Mugneret sisters manage to attain this and wrap it all up in velvet and silk.

This is a downright sexy wine. Beautifully aromatic and provocative, Chaignots balances an ethereal spice with thrilling concentration. The wine is imbued with an elusive femininity, a touch of the satin Vosne in meaty Nuits-St-Georges.

With no Grand Crus and an unfortunate reputation as Vosne-Romanée's "oafish" neighbor, Nuits-St-Georges tends to get overlooked. While this is too bad for poor NSG, it's great news for us, who can happily take advantage of some of the best values in the region. Chaignots sits right on the slope leading into Vosne, andso the affinity with Vosne is natural. The elegance that the sisters are able to pull from this pebbly, limestone soil is remarkable.

I love how the sisters describe their Chaignots as having "a greed-inducing nose and palate." I guess that's another reason why I've waited so long to declare this my wine of the year; forgive me for trying to keep it under wraps and to myself.

Too late. I'm in good company here in the sisters' fan club. Burghound writes in his notes on the 2011 line-up, "My advice is not to miss them!" And you really shouldn't.

As Marie-Christine and Marie-Andrée continue to rise to the highest echelons of the Côte d'Or, prices will only follow. Our pricing today is some of the sharpest around, a fitting celebration for my wine of - well, of the past several years.

To order, reply to or call the store at (212) 980-9463.

Ian McFadden
Director, Fine and Rare Wine
Crush Wine & Spirits