2015 Domaine Comte Georges de Vogue Bonnes-Mares Grand Cru

Year: 2015
Appellation: Cote de Nuits
Country: France
Wine Advocate: 94-96
Vinous Media: 92-94
Burghound: 92-95
Red Wine
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$499.95

DUE IN: OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2017

"The 2015 Bonnes-Mares Grand Cru came across subtly on the nose compared to the les Amoureuses and required more patience when tasted from barrel. It is not a flamboyant or ostentatious Bonnes-Mares, prioritizing precision and classicism, not to imply that it shortchanges you on the intensity ones expects from this vineyard. The palate is fresh from the start: a wonderful structure and especially for Bonnes-Mares, outstanding mineralité in situ and very tensile with so much energy from the blueberry and blackberry fruit that you can feel this wine two minutes later. Bridled with impressive grip and structure, this is a bona fide grand vin.

In 20 years professionally tasting wine, frequently with early morning appointments, I have never once overslept...until today. I had a 9:00am appointment with Frédéric Millet, winemaker at Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé. Alas, a flat mobile phone battery nefariously cancelled my wake-up alarm. Rubbing my eyes, I awoke at 8.30am, swore my way frantically around my hotel room, grabbed a croissant at the buffet and headed up from Beaune to Chambolle-Musigny. Miraculously I was only 15 minutes late. After profuse apologies to Frédéric, we could get on with tasting his 2015s.

“In 2015 we had a drought in June and July but it was not that long, not like in 1976. In August the rain unblocked the maturation cycle, though there was not too much. It was a heatwave like in 2003, but the rain on August 15 rebalanced the ratio between the solid and the liquid. We picked on 3 September before the rain [on 12 September]. The fruit was ripe. We didn't see any reason to postpone the harvest and the picking conditions were very nice. The picking took 5 days as bunches were very clean, therefore there was hardly anything to sort. The drought had concentrated the wine and the freshness, which was a very good surprise, imparting this mineralité and energy. At the time of the drought everyone was worried about the freshness but it is not an issue. The tartaric acidity was preserved even if there was a low amount of malic, around 1gm/L instead of 3gm/L. The pH levels are beautiful. They create sorbet fruit and floral aromas - if the vintage is respected. I think it is a 'terroir vintage,' which is not evident at the start. The Musigny Vieilles Vignes is not as aged as the Bonnes-Mares [that is to say, the progress of the Musigny in barrel is lagging behind the rest] and it will probably be bottled later than the others. I hope 2015 does not overshadow 2014, even if it does not have the same concentration.”

This was another impressive array of wines from the domaine. Perhaps most impressive was the Chambolle-Musigny les Amoureuses that had clearly resolved not to be outshone by either of the Grand Crus. I feel there is now more precision and detail in their wines, something that was occasionally lacking during the 1990s. Some argue that they lack the “soul” of say, Christophe Roumier or Frédéric Mugnier’s wines, though it is more the case that de Vogüé’s wines always take a longer period to reveal their personalities. One thing I would say is that even though it was a uniform vintage across vineyards, this year I felt there was some considerable, tangible difference between the Chambolle-Musigny Village and Premier Cru, the latter often representing one of the domaine’s best values. Next time I visit the domaine, I will make sure my mobile phone is fully charged before setting the alarm." (WA)

"Full ruby-red. Intense aromas of blueberry liqueur and chocolate mint; this smells thick and deep in a way that reminded me of the estate's 1990 version at the same stage. Densely packed and very ripe, with a chocolatey quality leavened by strong acidity and complex menthol and herb terroir nuances. Conveys a strong impression of sucrosité without loss of freshness. The big, tongue-coating tannins arrive late, allowing the blueberry and blackberry fruit to mount on the aftertaste." (VM)

"Deep ruby color. The extract of black cherry nose is interwoven with notes of earth, violet, spice and plum liqueur scents. The very dense and serious yet vibrant and relatively refined big-bodied flavors brim with dry extract that serves to mostly buffer the powerful and very firm tannic spine on the once again naturally sweet, sappy and massively long finish. This is the first vintage in several years where this wine appears to be qualitatively equal to the Amoureuses, at least at this early juncture." (BH)