Geoff Kelly Wine Reviews
Independent reviews of some local and imported wines available in New Zealand, including earlier vintages.
(1999-2012) – THURSDAY 25TH AUGUST

Rebecca Deed  PhD

School of Chemical Sciences,  Wine Science Department,  University of Auckland

Domaine Mongeard-Mugneret:
Auckland wine enthusiasts are fortunate to have Ken Moon and Graeme Cavanagh hosting carefully thought-out tastings.  They concentrate mainly on the European wine districts of most relevance to New Zealand wine.  Thus they appeal to keen winemakers as well as wine people.

The August tasting showcased the wines of Domaine Mongeard-Mugneret, a vineyard which Ken Moon feels has been under-appreciated in recent years.  Jasper Morris's now standard-text Inside Burgundy,  2010,  allocates only 6 lines of its 656 pages to the vineyard.  My experience has been that any vineyard which the highly-respected London merchant Berry Bros & Rudd handles has to be taken seriously.  The firm says of the Mongeard-Mugneret wines:  These are sturdy, concentrated, well-proportioned wines that over the years have become more elegant and refined.  And Remington Norman & Charles Taylor give them a good hearing in their The Geat Domaines of Burgundy,  2010.

Domaine Mongeard-Mugneret is based in Vosne-Romanée.  They own nearly 30 hectares of vineyards, spread over 35 appellations.  The emphasis is on red wines.  They have holdings in the grands crus Echezeaux, Grands Echezeaux, Clos de Vougeot and Richebourg, and no less than 10 premiers crus, in both the Cote de Nuits and the Cote de Beaune.

All grapes are hand-picked, with 'meticulous' sorting.  Sources vary as to the retaining of a whole-bunch component.  There may be a small component in the grands crus, the website implying this component varies with the season.  Otherwise the grapes are all de-stemmed.  Cold-soak is 4 – 5 days, then wild-yeast fermentations.  Cuvaisons are 12 – 15 days, followed by barrel-aging.  The firm places great emphasis on air-drying oak for three years, then using a local cooper to produce barrels to their specifications, lightly-toasted.  The Echezeaux and Grands Echezeaux have 18 – 22 months in barrel, with 60 – 80% new for the Echezeaux, and usually 100% new for the Grands Echezeaux.  They are bottled without filtration.

This tasting provided a fascinating insight into the achievements of one producer over many vintages.  There were 12 wines, all grands crus, a rarity in Burgundy tastings in New Zealand nowadays, spanning the years 1999 – 2012.  They included vintages which were rated as being particularly good, as well as those which proved to be more difficult in terms of viticulture.  In some cases this was reflected in the wine.  Overall, the best wines were complex, interesting, diverse and delightful.  There was however a lack of consistency in the wines, and a related question-mark on technical standards, which may explain why this producer has not had so much attention recently.

#  The first price given below is the original purchase price, courtesy Ken Moon.  The second price is the current wine-searcher value, which gives an indication of the broader market estimation of the wine now.

2005  Domaine Mongeard-Mugneret Echezeaux
1999  Domaine Mongeard-Mugneret Echezeaux
2012  Domaine Mongeard-Mugneret Grands Echezeaux
2011  Domaine Mongeard-Mugneret Grands Echezeaux
2010  Domaine Mongeard-Mugneret Grands Echezeaux
2009  Domaine Mongeard-Mugneret Grands Echezeaux
  2008  Domaine Mongeard-Mugneret Grands Echezeaux
2007  Domaine Mongeard-Mugneret Grands Echezeaux
2006  Domaine Mongeard-Mugneret Grands Echezeaux
2003  Domaine Mongeard-Mugneret Grands Echezeaux
2002  Domaine Mongeard-Mugneret Grands Echezeaux
2001  Domaine Mongeard-Mugneret Grands Echezeaux

2005  Domaine Mongeard-Mugneret Echezeaux   19  ()
Vosne-Romanée Grand Cru,  Cote de Nuits,  Burgundy,  France:   – %;  $120   [ cork;  vine age 25 –  60 years;  wine-searcher valuation $338;  www.mongeard.com ]
Great vintage and absolutely outstanding wine.  Well-balanced with cellaring potential.  Clear, jewel-bright garnet, paling at rim.  Attractive and fragrant nose with rose florality, pencil shavings, vanilla nougat, dried cherries, strawberries and violets.  Very elegant.  Dry and complex on the palate, high acidity and tight structure with low tannins and long length.  Palate has flavours of dried rose petals, cocoa powder and well-integrated hints of oak barrel.  Vibrant and refined.  RD 08/16

1999  Domaine Mongeard-Mugneret Echezeaux   18 ½  ()
Vosne-Romanée Grand Cru,  Cote de Nuits,  Burgundy,  France:   – %;  $155   [ cork;  vine age 25 –  60 years;  wine-searcher valuation $734;  www.mongeard.com ]
Wine is clear and a pale brick-red colour in appearance, bright and paling at rim.  Clean nose, still developing, with fragrant aromas of dried red cherries, concentrated sweet prunes, lifted floral violets and a smoky savouriness, suggesting beef jerky.  Dry, soft and plush mouthfeel, drinking very well now.  The wine still contains a freshness and high acidity that suggests potential for further cellaring.  Intensely concentrated plum and prune characters, along with dried strawberry, stewed rhubarb and floral herb undertones.  Long length and light ripe tannins.  A lovely wine.  RD 08/16

2002  Domaine Mongeard-Mugneret Grands Echezeaux   18  ()
Vosne-Romanée Grand Cru,  Cote de Nuits,  Burgundy,  France:   – %;  $150   [ cork;  vine age 40 – 68 years;  wine-searcher valuation $275;  www.mongeard.com ]
Pretty in the glass with a clear, pale and bright garnet hue.  Clean nose with distinctive candied fruit characters, sugared plums, vanilla and milk chocolate.  Herbal dried thyme and notes of pencil shavings, very fragrant.  Dry palate, very pronounced in intensity with high juicy acid and a fine minerality.  Lovely mix of red fruits, dried raspberry, red cherry and red plums, soft well-structured tannins and medium alcohol.  Medium-plus length, quite a refined style, very enjoyable.  RD 08/16

2010  Domaine Mongeard-Mugneret Grands Echezeaux   17 ½  ()
Vosne-Romanée Grand Cru,  Cote de Nuits,  Burgundy,  France:   – %;  $222   [ cork;  vine age 40 – 68 years;  wine-searcher valuation $281;  www.mongeard.com ]
Savoury with a hint of positive reduction, adding complexity.  Clear and pale garnet colour with more red tones than the 2009.  More New World in style than the other wines in the line-up with aromas of forest floor, spring onion, youthful red cherry, rose and raspberry.  Dry and savoury on the palate, medium-plus juicy acidity, more body than any of the other wines in the line-up.  Medium-minus ripe tannins, some grip and plush texture.  A touch of herbal character, fruit on the palate is mostly red cherry, redcurrant and raspberry tones.  Interesting and enjoyable wine.  RD 08/16

2012  Domaine Mongeard-Mugneret Grands Echezeaux   17  ()
Vosne-Romanée Grand Cru,  Cote de Nuits,  Burgundy,  France:   – %;  $222   [ cork;  vine age 40 – 68 years;  wine-searcher valuation $274;  www.mongeard.com ]
A polarising wine, clear and pale ruby with a pretty jewel-like brightness.  Clean and floral nose, attractive and youthful, not overly intense.  Characters of kirsch, red cherry jam, vanilla, fresh raspberry, mint tea and oak on the nose.  Palate is dry with gorgeous floral rose, violet and Turkish delight.  Cinnamon, cardamom and vanilla spice add complexity to the palate.  Fruit is very fresh and forward, red fruits including red cherry, red apple, red plum and raspberry.  Some tasters however thought there was a candied component to the red fruits.  Has ageing potential, possibly a touch heavy-handed with the oak, although these flavours may integrate further with cellaring.  Tannins are ripe and fine-grained, alcohol is medium and length is medium-plus.  RD 08/16

2001  Domaine Mongeard-Mugneret Grands Echezeaux   15 ½  ()
Vosne-Romanée Grand Cru,  Cote de Nuits,  Burgundy,  France:   – %;  $ –    [ cork;  vine age 40 – 68 years;  wine-searcher valuation $277;  www.mongeard.com ]
Almost past its best, aromas and flavours tend towards the dried ripe fruit end of the spectrum.  Clear, pale garnet, almost a tawny brown near the rim, not quite as bright as some of the others.  Clean nose with fully developed and very ripe aromas of beef stock, savoury tomato soup, raisins, prunes and kirsch.  Attractive layering of vanilla, cinnamon spice and toffee notes.  Palate is dry with high acidity and rich flavours, little primary fruit remaining.  Flavours of dried thyme, leather and cedar on the palate.  Surprisingly with some tannic grip remaining and heat from alcohol.  A medium-plus finish.  RD 08/16

2007  Domaine Mongeard-Mugneret Grands Echezeaux   15 ½  ()
Vosne-Romanée Grand Cru,  Cote de Nuits,  Burgundy,  France:   – %;  $ –    [ cork;  vine age 40 – 68 years;  wine-searcher valuation $265;  www.mongeard.com ]
Wine with very firm acidity and chewy tannins.  Clear in the glass, with a pale brick-like garnet hue, tending towards orange tones.  Clean aromas of rose and violet florals, red cherry, toffee, nougat and vanilla, alongside rich savoury notes (cooked sweet tomatoes, dried thyme and oregano).  Dry on palate, tight high acidity, tannins present are chewy with grip and roughness.  Light body, medium alcohol and medium length.  Sweet dried prunes, sweet roast tomatoes, dried red cherries and violets on the palate.  RD 08/16

2008  Domaine Mongeard-Mugneret Grands Echezeaux   15  ()
Vosne-Romanée Grand Cru,  Cote de Nuits,  Burgundy,  France:   – %;  $186   [ cork;  vine age 40 – 68 years;  wine-searcher valuation $298;  www.mongeard.com ]
Simple wine, red fruit dominant.  Colour is in between garnet and pale tawny, very orange, clear and bright.  Clean bouquet of fresh red apples, kirsch, roast peaches and violets.  Fully developed, not one to cellar, dry on palate with extremely high acidity, rather austere.  Light body with medium-minus tannins, some grip and a rough texture.  A rather angular wine.  Medium alcohol and medium length, straightforward on the palate, once again with red apple and quite pronounced malolactic characters including butter and dairy cream.  RD 08/16

2009  Domaine Mongeard-Mugneret Grands Echezeaux   15  ()
Vosne-Romanée Grand Cru,  Cote de Nuits,  Burgundy,  France:   – %;  $220   [ cork;  vine age 40 – 68 years;  wine-searcher valuation $330;  www.mongeard.com ]
On initial inspection this wine had a lovely meaty richness and savoury bacon fat characters:  it could have been marked up to 18.  However, within a few hours the wine fell apart and these characters turned to more obvious Brettanomyces and green banana notes.  On the positive side, clear pale garnet colour, pretty and bright.  A very rich wine, positive fruit notes include red cherry and kirsch.  Forest floor and dairy cream tones add complexity.  Dry and complex palate with medium-plus acid, great level of ripeness and plush silky tannins.  Oak is quite apparent with youthful grippy medium-minus tannins.  Rose, cherry and truffle on palate.  Those who are tolerant of Brettanomyces will enjoy this wine most.  RD 08/16

2003  Domaine Mongeard-Mugneret Grands Echezeaux   14 ½  ()
Vosne-Romanée Grand Cru,  Cote de Nuits,  Burgundy,  France:   – %;  $ –    [ cork;  vine age 40 – 68 years;  wine-searcher valuation $381;  www.mongeard.com  ]
Interesting wine but lacks typicity.  Clear in appearance with a bright garnet colour, still pale but slightly deeper than the 2002.  Clean nose, unusual combination of red apple, raisins, cherry brandy and dark fruit characters (blackcurrant and strong dark prunes).  Molasses, coffee liqueur, dark chocolate and rich cassis filling out the nose.  Dry with high acidity and marginally overripe fruit.  Obvious oak on the palate, not well-integrated and slightly rough.  Medium-minus body and lacking complexity, missing the mid-palate.  Quite a bit of heat from alcohol and a short finish.  RD 08/16

2011  Domaine Mongeard-Mugneret Grands Echezeaux   13 ½  ()
Vosne-Romanée Grand Cru,  Cote de Nuits,  Burgundy,  France:   – %;  $205   [ cork;  vine age 40 – 68 years;  wine-searcher valuation $294;  www.mongeard.com ]
Appearance is clear with a pale garnet hue, almost ruby, very bright.  Not a popular wine, although interesting, very different from the others, generally regarded as under-ripe.  Clean nose but with unusual green notes: cucumber, celery and pine needles.  Youthful with low intensity, the only detectable fruit on the nose is plum.  Palate is dry and stalky with tarry notes, green capsicum and celery.  Chalky texture with grippy young tannins and a light body.  Lacks fruit.  Medium alcohol and short finish.  RD 08/16

2006  Domaine Mongeard-Mugneret Grands Echezeaux   11  (-)
Vosne-Romanée Grand Cru,  Cote de Nuits,  Burgundy,  France:   – %;  $190   [ cork;  vine age 40 – 68 years;  wine-searcher valuation $258;  www.mongeard.com ]
Unfortunately marred by Brettanomyces, although some fruits and florals detected underneath.  Clear pale garnet colour, bright.  Unclean nose with barnyard, green banana and leather, very pungent.  Can detect a hint of vanilla and violet underneath.  Dry on palate with flavours of bandaids and green banana.  Chewy and drying tannins with a rough texture.  Heat from alcohol and lacking acidity.  Overall not a pleasant wine.  RD 08/16