Variety: Pinot Noir
Country Region: France, Burgundy, Cote-de-Beaune
Appellation: Santenay Premier Cru
Near Gravières – above; a ‘well sited nearly 2 hectares’ with just a little white too. Very red soil here, still with plenty of small stones. Made with inclusion of about 30% whole bunches in the ferment and aged mostly in recent large format oak with some barrel making about 15% new oak in the final wine. Very fine tannins, very long and beautifully composed.
Nine generations of Muzards precede Claude and Herve, who today control Domaine Lucien Muzard across 16 ha of vineyards in Santenay, Chassagne-Montrachet, Puligny Montrachet and Pommard. The family can trace its roots back to 1645, but it was not until the two sons, Claude and Herve took over the domaine from Lucien in 1995 that it began bottling at the estate rather than selling to negociants. Today 85% of the production is red wine but the white wines are gaining in stature with several key premier cru parcels in Santenay being replanted with Chardonnay. Santenay borders Chassagne Montrachet to the north adjoining notable premier crus such as Morgeots, Les Embazees and Les Baudines. Clearly there is potential for white wines with much limestone apparent in a complex series of fractured geological faults where the Cote d'Or ends and turns the corner towards Maranges signalling the end of the Cote d'Or slope. Santenay contains a great variety of soil differences and vineyard expositions, the potential of which deserves discovery.
Reducing vine yields and adoption of some modern wine-making techniques has resulted in spotlessly pure, great value Burgundy. They started using small bins for harvesting, a vibrating sorting table and conveyor belts rather than pumps to keep crushing to an absolute minimum as well as acquiring a new temperature controlled fermentation facility with new wooden vats and a new precision controlled press. In 2005 they began managing the vineyard organically and ultimately gained certification for biodynamic farming in 2011. Following the incessant rains of spring 2012 however they relinquished this certification and today follow a lutte raisonee, or sustainable farming path.
They continue to plough their rows and shun any use of herbicides or pesticides, let alone chemical fertilizers. In the winery these days, more whole bunches are included, typically about a third, while there are no additions of yeast or enzymes. In tandem with the move to more whole-bunch, the extraction regime has moved away from punch-downs towards a gentler remontage (pump-over) approach, while elevage is moving towards both larger oak and a subtler new-oak influence. Indeed for the first time in vintage 2015, two large foudres were included in the elevage of the Maladiere. The reds are bottled unfined and with only a coarse filtration as required.