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Musigny


Wine By Region Right Europe Right France Right Burgundy Right Côte de Nuits Right Chambolle-Musigny Right Musigny


The Musigny vineyard, which lies completely within the grandiose village of Chambolle-Musigny, is among the best places for Pinot Noir in the world, along with the most exclusive and expensive vineyards of Vosne-Romanée, such as Romanée-Conti and La Tâche. Most people will never be able to afford a great Musigny, and so the luxurious wine is reserved almost entirely for the wealthy or those privileged enough to be in the wine industry.

Those who favor Musigny's flavors know that the wines' character is generally compared to "an iron fist in a velvet glove." This metaphor, which has also been applied to Margaux, portrays the immense, overwhelming power and depth of the wines, and how this character is absorbed by a velvety, soft texture to give the wine no impression of heaviness. This is no easy feat, and only a few vineyards in the world are able to achieve it.

The vineyard, which is about 25.5 acres, is high on a hillside above the Chambolle-Musigny village. Strangely, white wine is also allowed there, but very little is produced. The total figures are about 3,500 cases of wine per year, slightly less than 300 of which are white. Just for comparison purposes, this entire vineyard, with all its producers, produces only about half of what an average vintage of Château Cheval Blanc might yield. Château Cheval Blanc is considered one of the most exclusive wines in the world.

History

In 1936, Musigny was officially recognized as a Grand Cru vineyard and therefore AOC within the Côte de Nuits. However, its history had begun long before that. In the 1880s, the vineyard was famous enough already for its Pinot Noirs so that the village Chambolle which contained the vineyard took on its name in a hyphenated form. And in 1929, prior to the application of AOC, the vineyard's boundaries were officially delineated and rules were specified for the wines grown there. Since then, Musigny has maintained its fame and cult status as one of the best vineyards for Pinot Noir in the world.

Climate and Viticulture

The Musigny vineyard, located above the Chambolle village, doesn't have any apparent advantage. At first sight, it seems like just another vineyard. Of course, weather conditions like rainfall patterns and temperature are perfect, but aren't they in the neighboring Premier Cru vineyards as well?

Musigny's advantage is derived through the soil. There's some extremely rich iron in the soil here, giving the wine much of its ripeness and richness. But the soil is very calcareous, meaning that the calcium carbonate levels in the soil are extraordinarily concentrated. The calcium generally takes the form of limestone, making for wine of exceptional concentration and power. These two, iron and limestone, ideally combine to create a fabulous combination of weight and weightlessness--in short, the perfect Pinot Noir.

Grape Varieties

Major Producers

There are very few producers in Musigny, as even some of the best négociants cannot afford the exclusive, rarely sold land here. As a result, the wines here are very expensive, even by Grand Cru standards, with $300 seemingly a bargain here and $700 being about par.

Although almost all Musignys produced, from whatever domaine, are outstanding, we have singled out seven that are generally considered the best here.

Subregions

Although Musigny has certain technical subregions, there are no lieux-dits and any wine here will be labeled Musigny or Le Musigny only.