Lucien Muzard Burgundy, France.
Nine generations of Muzards precede Claude and Hervé, who today control Domaine Lucien Muzard across 16 ha of vineyards in Santenay, Chassagne-Montrachet and Pommard. The family can trace its roots back to 1645, but it was not until the two sons took over the domaine in 1995 that it began bottling at the estate rather than selling to négociants. Today 95% of the production is red wine but the white wines are gaining in stature with each passing vintage.
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 raisonée, 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 Maladière. The reds are bottled unfined and with only a coarse filtration as required.
Top 10 Best Value Producers in Burgundy
Wine Report 2009, Clive Coates MW
2015 Lucien Muzard Meursault Les Meix Chavaux
From a 0.75 ha parcel bordering Auxey-Duresses, with one third each of the vines planted in 1935, 1988 and 2001. Wild yeast ferment followed by elevage on lees in 50% tank and 50% barrique (30% new). Classic red-apple Meursault fruit is given minerality and tension by the cooler site.
2015 Lucien Muzard Bourgogne (Stelvin Lux)
This comes from parcels in Maranges and in Santenay, plus a one hectare parcel in the Hautes Côtes. Raised 30% in tank and 70% in barrel (15% new). Lovely volume of red fruit with a hint of slatey minerality. Always an exceptional value, in 2015 it is just off the charts.
2015 Lucien Muzard Santenay Vieilles Vignes
This comes from several parcels, the biggest being Clos des Hâtes. Total surface is 1.40 hectares and production averages just 750 cases per year.
2015 Lucien Muzard Santenay Champs Claude Vieilles Vignes
Champs Claude borders the Chassagne-Montrachet appellation with some serious pedigree, coming up under the greater Morgeot vineyards to abut the 1er cru Clos Chareau. The vines date from the 1920s and average a venerable 75 years of age. The domaine owns 2.69 hectares and makes 1,400 cases in a normal year. 40% whole-bunch adds perfume and a savoury edge to the vibrant red fruit from a top vintage like 2015.
2015 Lucien Muzard Santenay 1er Cru Clos Faubard
North of the Village, Clos Faubard sits up high, where the slope climbs into scrubland. The soil here, has the same Bajocian marl limestone that is found in the Côte de Nuits and not found elsewhere in the Côte de Beaune, giving Faubard’s wine a distinct spicy minerality. The domaine, one of only three owners of this vineyard, has 1.47 hectares here and makes roughly 750 cases each year. 40% whole bunch followed by 12 months elevage in 30% new barriques. Vibrant red fruit leads to a densely packed, mineral inflected palate of great purity and terrific length.
2015 Lucien Muzard Santenay 1er Cru Maladiere
Maladière takes its name from malady, or illness. The hill of Maladière rises steeply up behind the lower village and gets bathed in sunshine, thus long ago this hillside was considered a healthy place to house the leper colony. Maladière has some of the same Côte de Nuits limestone as Faubard, contributing to the minerality that underpins the wine. The Muzards have 4.82 hectares of 40+ year old vines here and produce as much as 2,500 cases in a good year. 40% whole bunch followed by 12 months elevage in a mix of foudres, hogsheads and barriques. The cooler site gives a more elegant and perfumed wine though still with plenty of fine-grained tannin, finishing with lovely balance and length.
2014 Lucien Muzard Santenay 1er Cru Clos de Tavannes
One of the smaller 1er cru’s at 5.32 hectares which can also take the labels of Santenay Clos de-Gravières Tavannes or Les Gravières. There is the same limestone and clay of the other 1ers except that there is also a little sand in soil.
‘My personal favourite remains the Santenay Premier Cru Clos de Tavannes; a supple wine of roundness and mouthwatering pinot flavours; it can be a precocious wine but one that, should you wish, will age very well indeed.’ Bill Nanson, The Burgundy Report.
2015 Lucien Muzard Pommard Les Cras
Les Cras comes from the word ‘craie’ which translates as lime and is a relatively low-lying vineyard towards the border with Volnay. From a small 0.5 ha parcel of low-yielding vines planted in 1922, Les Cras produces wines with a densely concentrated palate, marked by sweet blueberry and plum fruit, fine yet powerful tannins and a long minerally finish.