The micro-négociant Maison Frédéric Magnien was established in 1995. Frédéric purchases small parcels of fruit from dedicated growers across the Côte de Nuits, and makes the wines at this family winery in Morey-Saint-Denis. Most of the vineyards are over 40 years old and he is persuading many of the growers to convert to organic viticulture, to improve the health of the land and the quality of the fruit. Additionally, an increasing amount of the vineyard work is being synchronised to lunar cycles, to harness nature's biorhythms.
Land prices in the Côte D'Or are prohibitively high, some estimates quoting in the region of 3.2 million pounds per hectare. A lot of the region's wine, therefore, is made by négociants, who will buy wine or fruit from small estates and craft it to their own style. The role of a larger, traditional négociant may be to buy grapes, to blend or mature existing wine or even simply to add their name to the label. The micro-négociant, on the other hand, works on a much smaller scale and will often have more to do with farming, harvesting and winemaking.
Frédéric Magnien makes all of his wines in the same way, to shed light on the differences in terroir between the various areas whence they are sourced. The Chambolle-Musigny Premier Cru Les Borniques vineyard sits at 260 metres above sea level, and its soil is a combination of limestone and clay.
Frédéric was born in 1969, into the 5th generation of his family to make wine. He worked alongside his father at Domaine Michel Magnien from 1987 to 1991, subsequently travelling around the New World to work vintages at some of the major Pinot Noir producers, including Calera in California and Bannockburn in Victoria, Australia. Returning in 1993, he took a degree in Oenology at the University of Bourgogne and started his business in 1995. He also runs the family estate.
Fruit for Chambolle-Musigny Premier Cru Les Borniques is hand harvested and carefully sorted both in the vineyard and at the winery. The wine is fermented slowly with natural yeasts and aged for 16 months in François Frères oak (20% new) before being bottled with neither fining nor filtration.
It has ripe and somewhat perfumed aromas of raspberry and cherry, mingling with savoury notes of dark spice and undergrowth. The palate is of medium weight, with red fruits at the front and approachable tannins that bring a long and continually developing finish. It would be ideal with any number of game birds.