Chambolle-Musigny, Burgundy.

hambolle-Musigny will always have a special place in my heart. The very first bottle of Burgundy I had was a Chambolle-Musigny, a Les Charmes by Domaine Ghislaine Barthod. It obviously made big impression on me – I am writing this, dedicating a whole web site to Burgundy.

This is a small and quiet village, with lots of charm. The only commerce is a small shop selling a few of the local grower's wines and two restaurants. In Côte d'Or terms Chambolle-Musigny is a young village. It first appeared in records in 1112, as Cambola. The name derives from Campus Ebulliens or Champ Bouillant, which means boiling fields. This refers to the stream Le Grône's tendency to overflow out in the vineyards.

Musigny - Domaine Comte Georges de VogüeChambolle was dependant on Gilly, just east of the village, up till 1500, when the locals were granted permission to build a church. The Moisson family, ancestors to the Comte de Vogüé family, were the driving force behind the project. The church took six years to build and was finished in 1506.

In 1878 the village added Musigny, the name of its most illustrious vineyard, to its name.

Chambolle-Musigny has two grand crus – Musigny and Bonnes Mares – one on each side of the village. Musigny is found south of the village, bordering to Vougeot while Bonnes Mares is north of the village, on the Morey side. About ten percent of the latter belong to the neighbouring Morey-Saint-Denis. The two are often described as opposites, with Musigny having the elegance and Bonnes Mares having the power.

– The true character of a Chambolle-Musigny is fresh, structured, plump but with elegance, says Michel Digioia at Domaine Digioia-Royer in Chambolle-Musigny. The tannins are silky and elegant. The premier crus have more of everything and Le Musigny is pure structure and elegance.

There are 24 premier crus. Many of these are small and relatively unknown, often bottled together as Chambolle-Musigny Premier Cru. Les Amoureuses, down-slope east of Musigny itself on the Vougeot border, is considered the finest among the premier crus and has a style close to its mighty neighbour. One step down the ladder we find the quartet of Les Charmes, Les Beaux-Bruns, Les Cras and Les Fuées.

Chambolle-Musigny, Burgundy.

With one small exception all Chambolle-Musigny is red. Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüe has a small parcel of Musigny planted with chardonnay, producing just around 100 cases of Musigny Blanc a year. This was replanted 1987-1997 and as a result the wine is being marketed as Bourgogne Blanc for the time being.

Coming from Morey-Saint-Denis on the Route des Grands Crus you have Bonnes Mares on your immediate right. Then just before you enter the village you pass Les Fuées as well as the northeastern tip of Les Cras. On the left side of the road you have a string of premier crus – Les Sentiers, Les Baudes, Lavrottes (with Les Noirots just below), Les Gruenchers and Derrière la Grange.

The Route des Grands Crus then makes a long turn up through the village. Right in front of Château de Chambolle-Musigny, the headquarters of Domaine J-F Mugnier, it makes a turn to the left past the church and then downhill out of the village.

On this side of the village, along the long down-slope towards Vougeot, you find further premier crus such as Les Feusselottes, Les Charmes and Les Amoureuses. If you turn right at the intersection mid-slope you soon find yourself above the Château de Vougeot, with Le Musigny on your right.

© 2013 Ola Bergman