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Every year our email offering of new wines from Stéphane Magnien begins with a different and more appreciative adjective - this year we're going with "superb" as more of the beautiful 2014s and the gorgeously ripe but perfectly balanced 2015s have arrived. They are superb wines that deserve the attention of any lover of red Burgundy!
The young and very capable Stéphane Magnien is the fourth generation in his family at this four hectare estate in Morey Saint-Denis. The domain has never used herbicides, doing a deep plowing to aerate the soil each winter (they changed from horse to tractor in the 1980s) and uses only organic composts. There is a high percentage of old vines, including a great deal of "Pinot Tordu," a small-berried, aromatic old clone of Pinot. Minimal new oak is used, about 15% for the premier and grand cru wines, and the wines are bottled without fining or filtration. Hand harvesting, of course, and long, wild-yeast fermentations. Our tasting of the 2015 vintage with Stéphane last January showed that this modest young winemaker is producing beautifully elegant wines, even in this sunny and ripe vintage.
Bargain hunters should note the 2015 Bourgogne Passetoutgrain "Cuvée Densité" at only $15.99! Made from old vines of Pinot Noir and Gamay, the 2015 is particularly delicious, as Eric Asimov noted in his "20 Under $20" article this week in the NY Times. (This is your last chance as Stéphane is discontinuing the "Cuvée Densité" next year in favor of two new Bourgogne Rouge cuvées.) Yes, we tasted the Grand Crus - they are sensational of course, with beautifully complex floral red fruit aromas and perfect balance, even with the ripeness of 2015. 12 bottles of each are available. As always, we love the 2015 Morey-Saint-Denis "village" wine, which can be enjoyed immensely as a young wine and will cellar wonderfully as well. At $39.99 it's an outstanding value that can be purchased by the case! All wines arrive by Monday, October 2nd.
From two premier crus, Les Gruenchers and Clos Baulet, mid slope in Morey Saint-Denis, giving a slightly fuller wine than Faconnieres. As with all of Stephane's parcels, there is a high percentage of old vines of "pinot tordu." The wine is more structured due to the deeper clay soils and gets less pigeage. The 2015, tasted in January 2017, was less aromatic than the Faconnières with very deep ripe red and black fruits, showing more weight and a bit more fruit-forward than the more "classic" 2016s, with herbal and mineral flavors and terrific length. This will need time in the cellar but is an excellent example of the more heavily fruited 2015s, and it should be a superb mature wine. David Lillie
This is a delicious Bourgogne Passetoutgrain from the young and very capable Stéphane Magnien, whose great vineyard work and un-forced vinifications are producing superb, elegant Burgundies. The 2015 Cuvée Densité is from old vines of 50% Pinot Noir and 50% Gamay and gets a longer élevage than his "regular" Passetoutgrain. This is a lovely and affordable Burgundy that shows deep aromas of cherry and blackberry with earth and citrus notes. The palate shows a potpourri of berry fruits with impressive length, finishing with juicy acidity and mineral flavors. Drinking beautifully now, and over the next few years - buy a case and make this your "everyday" Burgundy. (Featured in the NY Times "20 Under $20" of 9/21/17) David Lillie
The young and very talented Stéphane Magnien is producing delicious, old fashioned Burgundies from his beautifully tended vineyards in and around Morey-Saint-Denis. The estate has never used herbicides and uses a plowing regimen designed to force the roots deeper into the limestone bedrock. The "village" wine is always one of my favorite recommendations in Burgundy due to its elegance, balance, lovely fruit and great value. The 2015 is particularly beautiful, showing a bit more depth and ripeness than the excellent 2014, with aromas of blackberry and strawberry liqueur, violet, brown spice, orange peel, smoke and earth. The palate is dense, but not over-ripe, with earthy black fruits, bitter chocolate, citrus and spice with a core of firm acidity and mineral flavors. Quite delicious as a young wine, this ripe and elegant Morey-Saint-Denis will be at its best from approximately to 2022 to 2030. Those looking for value in a 2015 red Burgundy should consider buying a case of this lovely wine. David Lillie
From a parcel of old vines grown in Les Faconnières, one of the best situated climats in Morey-Saint-Denis, located beneath Clos de la Roche and between the Millandes and Charrières premier crus. The 2015 Faconnières was the star of the premier crus tasted at the estate last January, with lovely aromas of black fruits and violets. The palate was dense, elegant, and chalky with black fruits, earth and mineral flavors that continued in the very long finish. 20% new oak. Hold for 5 to 6 years minimum, said Stéphane, best at 7 to 15 years. Fabulous wine! David Lillie
From very old vines planted by Stéphane's grandfather, the rare and beautiful Magnien Chambolle-Musigny Vieilles Vignes is a lovely combination of finesse and ripeness.The 2015 wine shows a lovely deep color and ripe complex aromas of strawberry and black cherry, very floral, delicate and fine. The palate is elegant and very sappy and ripe with blackberry and strawberry, citrus and spice, but well-balanced by bright acidity and at only 12.5% alcohol. The finish is very long, palate-coating and pure, and lifted by firm acidity and mineral flavors. This is a gorgeous and well-structured Chambolle showing the lush fruit of 2015 in the best possible way - delicious now, best 2020 to 2030. Lovely wine!
Les Sentiers is located beneath the Bonnes Mares grand cru, north of the village and shares similar soils. The wines, while layered and elegant, are more muscular and velvety, rather than silken and high-toned. The 2015 vintage is effusively perfumed, with aromas of black cherry, wild raspberry, violets, forest floor, and iron. The mid-weight palate is ripe and supple with dark fruits, game notes, and a pungent minerality, girded by firm, ripe tannins and great freshness on a long, complex, rising finish. This is really lovely and will reward 5-10 years cellaring. A beautiful expression of Sentiers! John McIlwain
Situated just above Clos de la Roche, the Magnien's 2014 1er Cru Mont-Luisants shares the grand cru's "inherent lushness" (Clive Coates) in this lovely vintage for Burgundy. The wine shows a deep red-black color with lush aromas of blackberry, plum and ripe strawberry with earth, graphite and citrus. Dense ripe blackberry and black cherry fruit coats the palate with hints of bitter chocolate and soil. Surprisingly round but with nice chalky acidity and a long finish of citrus and pretty berry fruits. Quite delicious now, this lovely wine will offer superb drinking with a little time in the cellar, perhaps best 2020 - 2035. David Lillie
This a wonderful expression of Les Sentiers, aromatically expressive and layered. There are bright aromas of black cherry, raspberry, violets, woody herbs, and game on the nose. The mid-weight palate initially shows brambly black fruits, and pungent soil flavors. With time in the glass notes of dark cherry and cherry pit appear along with a savory ferrous minerality and spice notes. The tension between fruit and earthiness is compelling and will gain in complexity with time in the cellar. More expressive on the second day. If enjoying now, decant for several hours or revisit in 7-10 years and enjoy for the decade following. John McIlwain