2018 Stephane Magnien Coteaux Bourguignons Pur Pinot Noir
It was with great interest that I tasted with Stephane Magnien – no relation to Frederic or Michel – at his winery in January. And once I had tasted through his wines, it was with extreme excitement that I bought them – they are superb, subtle, old-fashioned red Burgundies that showcase their terroir. They are also extremely underpriced – this is Burgundy value at its highest! Let me break it down a little bit:
The domaine is Stephane Magnien, a very small one of about 4.5 hectares, almost entirely based in the village of Morey-Saint-Denis. Morey-Saint-Denis is sandwiched right between Gevrey’s grands crus and Chambolle’s grands crus. And maybe because of that it always seems to get a bit lost in the shuffle. But not here!— here is the elegance, depth, and endowment that showcases just how exquisite Morey Saint Denis’ wines can be.
Stephane is proud to say that for four generations now, he and his ancestors have not used pesticides nor herbicides of any kind, and all the vineyard work is done by horse and plow to preserve microbiological activity in the soil, forcing the vines to grow deep roots.
This, the Coteaux Bourguignons “Pur Pinot Noir” comes from vines planted by his grandfather in 1960 just below the village of Morey-Saint-Denis. Here, there is an old-vine clone, “Pinot Tordu,” which produces incredibly small but intensely aromatic berries resulting in high juice-to-skin ratio. This creates a noble amount of structure in the wine and a pitch-perfect sense of terroir.
To get technical, these vines are within the village Morey-Saint-Denis boundaries, but not the AOC Morey-Saint-Denis boundaries, hence the designation of Coteaux Bourguignons. “Pur Pinot Noir” simply means pure Pinot Noir, as the Coteaux designation sometimes allows for blending in the grape Gamay, which this is not. The results are impeccable and delicious:
The wine opens with a beautiful note of ripe raspberries, red cherries with touches of the spices clove and cinnamon. There is an alluring note of truffle that floats as a bottom note in the glass, encouraging the imbiber to quaff the entire glass down just to learn its mysteries. The palate is definitely old school – the tannins are perfectly integrated but are also present – and it is clearly old-vine material. Thus, while the price may suggest a “little” Bourgogne, the palate lets you know who’s the boss. Definitely decant this 30 minutes ahead of time or hold it for three years in the cellar, and then drink for at least 10 more beyond that. This is Pinot Noir to be taken seriously, with great enthusiasm as you explore its depths.
And then there is the price. When Stephane noted the price, I nearly choked on my sample. This good of Burgundy, from this pedigree, at $20? That’s Burgundy value insanity – like we somehow magically rolled back the tariffs! After careful swallowing, I bought all that he would let me have. Here is true blue-blood Burgundy, at an exceptional value. Enjoy!