Chambolle Musigny under the radar: tasting with Domaine Digioa-Royer’s Michel Digioia

Chambolle-Musginy, Michel Digioia of Domaine Digioia-Royer

This was a favorite visit on a great trip to Burgundy some years ago. We drove into a very small courtyard with enough room to park a couple of cars and maybe a step van. It looked like the kind of place where you would see a goat tied to the fence with a rope. I kid you not.

We got out of the car and stretched and then very carefully descended the few stairs below the limestone lintel and found ourselves in one of the tiniest cellars that actually produced wine. It looked more like a cellar to store a collection than a working domain. Michel Digioia’s tiny cellar holds just his Chambolle Musigny wines, and there were perhaps 30 barrels stacked two barrels high jammed in the two small rooms.

What magnificent pure Chambolle it is! He makes 4 different Chambolle Musignys, the AC is from vines averaging 60 years old, a Fremieres from 85 year old vines, a Gruenchers from 35 year old vines and the very rare Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru Groseilles from 75 year old vines. (Groseilles means red currants but who knows where the name derives from.) These wines are precise, pure, transparent and light on their feet.  In a word, really lovely wines.

I remember the first time I met Michel at a tasting in NY. I tasted the Bourgogne Rouge and was really impressed. I asked where the fruit was sourced. He answered that his Bourgogne Rouge comes from 4 parcels in Chambolle Musigny and one in Morey St Denis. Michel told me that it was essentially “95% Chambolle”. My kind of Bourgogne Rouge!  Beautifully perfumed and rich for a Bourgogne Rouge, it is very Chambolle in all but name. This is a remarkable Bourgogne Rouge and should not be missed. We bought all 20 cases that came to NY State.

There are 12 bottles each of the 2012 Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru Groseilles and 2012 Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru Gruenchers.

The 2012 Chambolle Musigny AC is full of “sap” and it is very pretty, very open, precise and transparent. It has real “cut” and definition. Should put on weight as it ages. This is a favorite of mine along with JF Mugnier and Roumier’s Chambolle AC – wines that I can sadly no longer afford or even find.

The Chambolle Musigny les Fremieres Vieilles Vignes is a special wine. The vineyard abuts 1er Cru Aux Beaux Bruns. Michel owns .69 hectares of this vineyard – the vines were planted in 1930. This is lovely to drink now.

After tasting with Michel Digioia we went to taste at Domaine Comte de Vogue.  Francois Millet, the winemaker asked who we had visited in Chambolle.  I said Digioia.  He excitedly asked about the Groseilles!  He said that it was a great wine of Chambolle.  A few years ago our friend Raj Vaidya, head sommelier at Restaurant Daniel, went out to lunch in Beaune with his boss, wine director/importer/impresario Daniel Johnnes and the great Chambolle winegrowers Fred Mugnier and Christophe Roumier.  Daniel Johnnes ordered a Digioia Royer wine off the list. There were no complaints.  Digoia-Royer isn’t yet a household name, unless your house includes another top grower or sommelier.

We bought all of these wines that we could — in some cases, all that came to New York.  But still, it’s not much wine.  We will offer them first to our Newsletter subscribers.  Whatever is left we will sell in the shop and online.  If you’d like to be added to our email list to get access to these wines and wines like these (at special discounts) please email me here.

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