Chambolle-Musigny – A Delicate and Refined Pinot Noir from Burgundy

Today’s article is focused on a Burgundian wine. Its region of origin does not need any introduction, as it is appreciated for its high-quality single variety wines, that in time have gained a reputation and are regarded as a benchmark for producers and consumers around the world.

Winegrowing in the region dates back to the ancient Roman times, but the classification of the vineyards is due to the Monks in the Middle Ages; they studied and divided the vineyards into plots called climats following their characteristics and features. The classification in Burgundy is based on characteristics such as soil, aspect, the position on the slope and the micro-climate; in other words it represents the terroir.

The grapes used for making this wine are sourced in the Chambolle-Musigny Village, which is part of the Côte de Nuits, a sub-sector of the famous Côte d’Or.

The Côte de Nuits stretches from Chenôve to Corgolion. The vineyard area is a maximum of 3 kilometres wide and is on slopes that can reach 300 metres of altitude; it has different aspects, from north-east to south-west, which is a factor that can affect the quality of the grapes. The best plots are mostly found on the mid-slope as they can benefit from adequate water drainage, ideal sunlight interception and frost protection, resulting in better potential ripening for the grapes.

The Winery

Domaine Roux is a family business that was established in the village of Saint-Aubin in the Côte d’Or in 1885. The vineyard area stretches over more than 60 hectares, throughout 13 villages in the Côte de Beaune, Côte de Nuits and Côte Chalonnaise.

The Growing Enviroment

The climate in Burgundy is generally moderate continental, with cold winters and warm summers. The Morvan hills offer certain protection form rainfall on the west, but despite this, the average rainfall is about 700mm annually, with that are autumns typically dry.

Due to its northerly location, the ripening of the grapes requires effort; the threat of having under-ripe tannins in the finished wines is always present, so the winegrowers aim to reach the full ripeness of skins and seeds. The region is also prone to spring frosts and hailstorms, that combined with untimely rain, can make lots of difference in the quantity and quality of the yields, making a marked vintage variation in wines.

In recent years, the erratic weather, caused by climate change, has triggered something new for this region – drought-stress, which is causing worries among winegrowers, as irrigation is not allowed.

Biodiversity and Sustainability

Among leading growers, organic and biodynamic practices have become popular. However, due to the marginal climate of the region and the fragmentation of vineyards, it makes these choices challenging and creates friction between growers who have decided to adopt different approaches.

Vineyard and Grape Variety

The vineyard of the municipality of Chambolle-Musigny, stretches for about 180 hectares, of which 94 hectares are destined for village appellation wines, 61 hectares for Premier cru and 24 hectares for Grand cru; there are two Grand crus and 24 Premier crus in total.

Les Charmes is a climat of about 7 hectares, which is very close to the most famous climat of the appellation, Les Amoureuses. The vineyard is on a slope that faces east, at an altitude of 250-300 metres, with shallow soil overlying the hard limestone subsoil.

Pinot Noir: this is an early budding and ripening black grape variety suitable for cool climates. If the yields are too high, the quality of the fruit may be affected. The berries have a thin skin that makes them susceptible to disease. In Burgundy, as said by the growers, concerns are more about whether the fruit will ripen enough to achieve the desired levels of tannins, colour and flavour.

Chambolle-Musigny A.O.C. – Premier Cru – Les Charmes – Roux Père & Fils – 2013

100% Pinot Noir

  • Look: medium garnet.
  • Smell: medium (+) aroma intensity of red cherry, red plum, redcurrant, blackcurrant, black cherry, black plum, eucalyptus, black pepper, cinnamon, vanilla, smoke, charred wood, cloves, prune, cooked prune, forest floor, wet leaves, chocolate, meat, tobacco, earth.
  • Taste: dry, medium (+) acidity, medium alcohol, medium body, medium smooth tannin, medium (+) aroma intensity with a long finish.
  • Pairing: roasted lamb leg.

The acidity is balanced by the fruit concentration and by the level of alcohol. The tannin is very well integrated in the body of the wine. The flavours are well detectable and defined, coming from different clusters of primary, secondary, and tertiary aromas, making the wine extremely complex.

For more information on the wine tasted, here is the producer’s website: Domaine Roux

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Red Wine

I live in a stunning and charming land, where wine culture is a pivotal element in everyday life and has been part of the culture for centuries.
I believe that wine tasting, although requiring a certain rigor, should be fun, and above all it has to be a sensory and enriching journey.

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