Christmas wines: which wines did you uncork? [Mugnier]

Ah, Christmas. Despite big meals on Christmas eve and Christmas day, Christmas food pairings get little attention from all those people who were so forthcoming with pairing advice on Thanksgiving. Perhaps it’s because there’s no national consensus on the menu. Or maybe those with pairing suggestions are all paired out. Either way, if you were celebrating Christmas or Festivus, what did you uncork and did it work?

If you care what the masses uncorked, you can always run a search on cellartracker, limited by dates opened, to see what cellartracker users opened. (Is it me, or is this list less interesting than the last time we took a look, for Thanksgiving last year?)

We opted for a younger wine this year, uncorking a Jacques-Frederique (“Freddy”) Mugnier, Nuits St. Georges, Clos de la Marechale, 2007. The Mugnier estate dates back to the late 19th century and today the estate’s crown jewel is a three-acre slice of filet mignon Musigny, which produces about three hundred cases of wine (that starts at $500 a bottle!). The past two generations have let other careers in banking, engineering and aeronautics get in the way–for shame! As a result, the family let others manage the properties and such was the case with the Clos de la Marechale, which Faively managed until 2003. This 2007 (find this wine) was showing well, with invigorating acidity, reticent fruit, and a good amount of NSG tannin on the finish. While we certainly enjoyed it (emptied!), it would likely benefit from a couple more years in the cellar–but it’s hard to resist!

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22 Responses to “Christmas wines: which wines did you uncork? [Mugnier]”

  1. THanks for asking… my favorite of the day was Nicolas Joly’s 2004 Coulée de Serrant…a present for me every year. It was very good and yes it worked with our turkey and cornbread stuffing.

  2. This year was all Spanish wines. It was a total coincidence.

    Had a Crianza from Valdepenas which was way over oaked and some fairly good cava.

  3. We had some good wines on Christmas, but my favorite was the Christmas Eve 02 Chartogne-Taillet. I’ve chosen the right time of year for my champagne “kick.”

  4. We went in amy’s direction:

    nv Andre Jacquart Brut Experience Blanc de Blancs Premier Cru. (NB: Andre Jacquart is a grower based in Vertus. Not the same producer as Champagne Jacquart of Reims.) Spectacular nonvintage brut that only costs a few bucks more than the cheapest real Champagne you can buy.

    nv Pommery Brut Apanage. Again, only a few bucks more than Pommery’s basic brut sans annee, and oh so worth it.

    Both wines were outstanding with a decidedly nontraditional Christmas dinner of Greek salad, baked steelhead, scalloped potatoes, and steamed veggies.

  5. NV Taittinger Brut La Francaise and 2006 Emmerich Knoll Riesling Smaragd Loibner Loibenberg with a dinner of Roast Pork, Spaetzle, German Red Cabbage, Apple-Onion Dressing, Brussels Sprouts and Ginger Lime Carrots.

    No specific notes, but both wines were enjoyable on their own in addition to being apt complements to the food.

    In the evening, tried a 1985 Fonseca Vintage Port. It was quite reticent that night (after double decant and a couple hours of air in bottle), but was much better last night (the 27th) — singing with dark cherries, black raspberry and black currant fruit.

  6. Christmess wine always tastes better to me.

  7. We had a fine dinner and wines at a British friend’s house. HD’s of American Sturgeon Caviar with blinis, beautiful radishes, grape tomotoes stuffed with creamy cheese served with Krug Champagne 1988 from my cellar. Also enjoyed a 2007 Chablis 1ere Cru Fourchaume(producer not remembered). With roast goose I brought a 1.5 litre of Chateau Beychevelle 1982. Drinking well and almost at prime. We finished off with our friend’s Christmas pudding with local Unionville Vineyard’s(Ringoes, NJ) Vat 10 port (Chambourcin). I am so glad I am in the wine business when I am able to drink and share wines from my cellar.

  8. Christmas eve: A traditional Polish meal of 7 kinds of fish – 2007 Guindon Musdcadet and a California Riesling.

    Christmas day: 2005 King Estate Pinot Noir, with ham.

    Last night’s dinner with son and family: Missouri Les Bourgeois brut w/ or w/o our own cassis for kir, smoked salmon pate, gougeres; 1970 Margaux with leg of lamb; Les Bourgeois Late Vidal sticky with dessert.

    The Margaux did OK despite a bad cork: good fruit at the beginning, elegant mouth feel, and a finish that was slightly blue cheesy.

  9. 2 Colorado wines: DeBeque Canyon Winery cabernet and Grande River Vineyards Viognier – they did not work. Paul Laurent Champagne – did not work. Jacques Prieur Burgundy – worked. The New Year will be better.

  10. To kick off Christmas Eve we started with a NV Simonnet-Febvre Cremant de Bourgogne Rose. Awesome affordable sparkler from Chablis! Dinner began w/ griddled polenta cakes and braised greens, crispy bacon and a roasted red pepper vinaigrette topped w/ a small dallop of crème fraiche. It paired very well with a 2006 Chambolle-Musigny ‘Les Sentiers’ from Robert Groffier Père et Fils. Had a very minty note to start with, but that faded somewhat as it opened up. Wonderful smoky black fruit with a long finish. Main course was Roast Beef w/ cheddar scalloped potatoes, and roasted turnips, parsnips and carrots. Paired w/ the 2007 ‘Les Deux Anges’ Côtes du Rhône Villages -Sablet from Domain de Cabasse. I love this wine. Dessert was pumpkin pie, and afterwards we had a local unoaked peach eau de vie from Peak Spirits in Hotchkiss, Colorado. Fantastic meal with great company.

  11. Hi from Spain.
    Here at home, I did uncork: Moscato D’Asti Casa Sant’Orsola 2009, white Albariño Paco & Lola 2009, red Remelluri Reserva 2005 and champagne Gimonnet-Gonet Brut Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru.
    I have another good wines for New Year.

  12. Had a really nice Salmon and opened a chilean Sauvignon Gris from Cousino Macul.

  13. Christmas Eve: Las Cases 1999 and 2000 Bordeaux paired with roast duck with garlic port reduction, green beans cooked southern-style with bacon and onion and baked potatoes. The ’99 was drinking very well and both went nicely with the duck. The ’00 could use a few more years IMO.

    Christmas day: Groth 2006 Cabernet as an aperitif and NV california bubbly (can’t recall producer) with a light meal of bacon wrapped, chorizo stuffed dates, shrimp and a garlic-cheese spread. The Groth was doing well, though probably could benefit from a few more years. Interestingly quite similar in structure to the Bourdeaux.

  14. A 2009 Muller-Catoir Rieslaner Spatlese… hand-carried from the winery. It was great!

  15. Pan-fried pork tenderloin with Jadot Musigny 1991: less fruit, more tannin, probably a few years long in the tooth, but still pretty good.
    Rib-eye roast with Heitz Martha’s 1985, decanted because of a pushed cork, yet excellent, not corked,smooth, creamy(atypical for Martha’s), silky and terrific. Then Martha’s 1974, beyond fabulous, earth, fruit, spices,just a hint of something not quite mint, 95+, or 19.5.
    Pumpkin, mince and pecan pies, D’Yquem 2002 Ridiculous. All bottles my last, alas.

  16. Regarding the so-called ‘cult Cabernets’ …
    Last night, New year’s Eve from 2010 –> 2011, we had a friend over for rack of lamb. We dined at home before going to a concert, rather than negotiating the wonderful but crowded restaurant venues. However we also decided to treat ourselves exceptionally nicely, and so I opened a 2003 Abreu Thorevilos cab, which I had scored on their mailing list years ago.
    This brings to mind the ancient discussion of whether a $400 wine is 10 times better than a $40 wine. Well, it obviously isn’t; but that isn’t the point. With apologies to Parker, whose comments I shamelessly steal, the point of drinking wines like these is to set and to learn benchmarks. This is what is possible if God, timing, the land, and wine imponderables all come together and smile on you. Well, they did.
    This wine is deeply colored; dark, purple-black, viscous even in the glass. It looks more like a syrah than a cab. The nose fills the room: rich black fruit, cedar, molasses, and a trace of citrus.
    Tasting this wine is a shock. I enjoy wine, I drink pretty good wine frequently, and very good wine every month or two. And then there is this … This is just … different. There is massive, mouth-filling density. This coats your upper innards in a moment. Black, sweet fruit (this is NOT a sweet wine at all!); cherries, overtones of strawberry. The extraction of fruit is intense, but this is not a fruit bomb. Long, long smooth tannin. Dust. A trace of aromatic transparency vaguely reminiscent of the Heitz eucalyptus. A finish that lasts a minute or more.
    This wine is just bloody gorgeous. It reminds me of my little stash of 1997 Bryant, whichis forever my bucket benchmark cab, and which I occasionally open for major elections, medical graduations, or births. But this Thorevilos is other-worldly. I am cursed with sub-optimal “wine memory”– I have to keep drinking good things to be reminded of them– but the whole evening of lamb, concert, and New Year is eclipsed by how beautiful this creation was.
    Would I spend $400 for this (at auction retail–I hesitate to think what it might go for in any restaurant’s wine list!)? I don’t know. It is an idle question– we are not wealthy, and I am not accustomed to buying a wine like this for immediate consumption. But having bought this years ago, the moderate financial discomfort has evaporated, the wine has financially appreciated; but the timing was right. This simply breathtaking experience is why one occasionally drinks wine of this magnitude.

  17. New Year’s eve 2010: cold supper of smoked trout pate’, smoked turkey, tongue, olives, six kinds of cheese.

    Sylvain Bouhelier Celtissime Cremant de Bourgogne bought at the domaine and carried back in our luggage last May.

    Flowers on toast; too bad it’s only available in France.

  18. Before dinner I decided to go low-brow, and offered a Luccio Moscato and Baron de Seillac Blanc de Blancs. Both were immense crowd pleasers and opened up the whole house to laughter and lively discussion.
    For dinner: Ham and beef roast, asparagus and genuine scalloped, smoked potatoes. Wines on the table were Robert Chevillon’s 2004 Bourgogne Passetoutgrain (so glad we waited to open this!)which was a dead knock-out causing many to swoon and moan out-loud in ecstacy; a dud was a Chateau Bel Air 2001 Haut Medoc that might not have cellared right(other tasting notes I read report warm smokey aromas, which I remembered well from the the 2000, but this was neither warm nor smokey), I had their 2000 (tasted in 2007) and it was sublime. Funny though, the ’01 didn’t taste or smell of TCA. It was just very bright.

    Along side was a Caymus Private Select Cab Sav, 2005. After that was uncorked it was obvious that the Ham was suddenly less popular than the roast. But I do love leftover Christmas ham.

    The Jacques-Frederique (“Freddy”) Mugnier, Nuits St. Georges, Clos de la Marechale, 2007 you mentioned in your post sounds delightfully familiar to a bubbly I tried at a “Taste of Luxury” event held in town. Looking back I wish I had offered something of that sort against the ham. I’m sure it would have paired.

    Thanks for the fun post, love to share these things and read other successes and duds! I mean, I’m from a family started from abject poverty, and I am not surrounded, generally, by the type of person I can actually talk about wine this way with. One of my relatives, after tasting the Caymus actually remarked “Man, this is better than that white stuff you were pouring earlier.”

    I’ll have to come back to this blog often.

  19. @John of Portland

    Thanks for sharing that romantic account! It was a pleasure to read and I couldn’t agree more. Decadence is decadence, but if you put in the labor of learning, relentlessly re-learning and forgetting the benchmarks of wine, from the poor to the transcendent, only then can you reach that nirvana of a wine, that for it’s moment in your journey, is ‘perfect’.

  20. @jesselukes comment made me smile. I too enjoy this fantastic resource that is Dr. Vee’s wine blog. In the spirit of the now finished holiday season, a big ‘thank you’ to Tyler Colman!

  21. @George Kaplan – Glad to hear ’74 Martha’s Vineyard is still going strong!

    @ John of Portland – That’s great you had such fun. Btw, where was the recent discussion you allude to about whether a $400 wine is 10x better than a $40 wine?

    @jesselukes – Thanks for sharing! Come back as you schedule permits.

    @ Jarrod H – Thanks so much for the kind words!

    Happy new year to everyone!

  22. The Mugnier sounds superb.

    We ended up having 90 people over (I know). A wine by the name of OMG (Syrah/Cabernet Franc)was the big hit, while the Cabernet Sauvignon, 2007. Tulip Hill was a close second. For whites, the Lugana, 2008. Pratello and Kopke White Port were naturals with the variety of desserts we had.


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