As we continue our tour of the illustrious wines of Domaine Direct, this week we have an embarrassment of riches from one of the most talked of Côte de Nuits producers – Frédéric Magnien.
Frédéric Magnien has wine in his blood as the fifth generation of the famed Magnien family. His father, Michel Magnien of Domaine Michel Magnien, taught him the ropes although he clearly has a natural ease with winemaking and has a hands-off approach in the winery. Alongside being the winemaker of Domaine Michel Magnien, he established his own label in 1995 with one objective: to show off the work of winegrowers.
He acts as a consultant to the winegrowers, spending his days cycling between them, and through this long-term advisory role, has built up a reputation that allows him to buy the very best grapes. He is adamant in his principals of having his own teams picking the grapes. Having grown up in Burgundy, he knows not only the vineyards like the back of his hand, but which individual row of vines within these famed vineyards to use. The rows of vines in Bonnes Mares he uses border Roumier and Clos des Tart’s, and are sadly now being vinified by Bruno Clair, thankfully we have snaffled some of the back vintages (and some magnums).
When possible, his ethos leans him to only buy from organic and biodynamic plots. Since 1996, each step in the winemaking process follows the patterns of the moon, as per biodynamic practices. For his biodynamic vineyards, Frédéric is pioneering the use of clay amphorae whilst maintaining a traditional Burgundian approach. The hand-turned terracotta jar, aromatically neutral, was chosen for the partial ageing of wines from the exceptional vintage 2015. The jar allows Frédéric to raise a wine that respects the purity of the fruit and the truth of its soil. From 2015 onwards, the wine-ageing is shared between wood and terracotta.
One of the benefits of being a Négociant is that Frédéric Magnien can offer a comprehensive view of some of the best vineyards of Burgundy as per below.
Frédéric Magnien Exploration Case
For a comprehensive view of Frédéric Magnien, and a rare chance to buy mature bottles of grand cru without a huge price tag, we would highly recommend this mixed case to try at home.
2015 Côte de Nuits Villages ‘Croix Violette’
2012 Morey-Saint-Denis 1er Cru ‘Ruchots’
2013 Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru ‘Lavaut-Saint-Jacques’
2015 Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru
2010 Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru
2011 Chambertin Clos de Bèze Grand Cru
– £517.58 per 6 bottles, duty paid, inc vat –
Côte de Nuits Villages ‘Croix Violette’
This wine really stood out at a recent tasting for the bright fruit and great structure. He has been producing this since 2002, using 50-95 year old vines found in the mid slope. Massively punches above its weight. The plot is in the north of Gevrey-Chambertin.
2015 – £215 per case of 12 bottles IB
Morey-Saint-Denis 1er Cru ‘Ruchots’
A beautifully situated vineyard sandwiched between Clos de la Bussière and Clos de Tart, on the Chambolle side of Morey. Arguably the best 1er vineyard of Morey St Denis. Certainly, when Allen Meadows tried Frédéric Magnien’s Ruchots he found it “displays with conviction why it’s the best 1er in Morey”. The vines he buys from were planted back in 1973. Organic.
2012 – £480 per case of 12 bottles IB
2016 – £540 per case of 12 bottles IB
Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru ‘Lavaut-Saint-Jacques’
The 2013 Lavaut-Saint-Jacques was another stand-out of the tasting as well as a personal favourite of Frédéric’s (we did not have the good fortune to try the 2014). This plot has been organic since 2008. Although a powerful wine, there was a lovely prettiness to it. An exemplary example of this vineyard showing great typicity of this cool fine-boned site.
2013 – £600 per case of 12 bottles IB
2014 – £600 per case of 12 bottles IB
Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru
In 2015 he made his wines with no new oak, just clay amphoras and old wood. He considers the ‘2015s a big step up for me” due to the widespread use of jarres for the first time. “The wines all sing in a different key; they show clear terroir differences. In my range, 2015 is not a heavy vintage”. Certainly, both vintages presented below are a refined, stylish and sensual expression of Clos de Vougeot.
2015 – £600 per case of 6 bottles IB
2009 – £1,080 per case of 12 bottles IB
Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru
What an absolute treat to have Grand Cru of 2015 and 2010 in stock! This climat is said to be home to the oldest vines in the commune, planted in 1881. As is true across the range, Allen Meadows awards these wines with 91-94 and 91-93 Burghound points respectively.
2010 – £1,200 per case of 12 bottles IB
2015 – £600 per case of 6 bottles IB
Chambertin Clos de Bèze Grand Cru
Frédéric Magnien commented that he did quicker ferments in 2011 due to the low potential alcohol levels, providing the wines with a cleaner, purer profile. Clos de Bèze is a regal Grand Cru in the heart of the village and to find it at this price is a complete non-brainer.
2011 – £660 per case of 6 bottles IB
Also a very limited number of magnums, £1350 case of 6 magnums, IB
Bonnes-Mares Grand Cru
Last but not least, such is Frédéric Magnien’s reputation and pedigree, he started making Bonnes Mares in 2006 with vines situated between Clos des Tart’s and Roumier’s. His vines come from the Morey side. Sadly he has stopped making it now, with 2015 as the last vintage – worth snapping up when you can find one of the 9 vintages of this wine! Delighted to say we have a tiny number of magnums to offer alongside the bottles.
2011 – £600 per case of 6 bottles IB
2011 Magnum – £1,260 per case of 6 mags IB
2014 – £1,380 per case of 12 bottles IB
2014 Magnum – £1,410 per case of 6 mags IB