Romancing with Les Amoureuses
A feature on Burgundy? The Holidays are a slow time for wineries to ship wine for review so I thought I would
tap into my cellar for some wines that might interest pinotphiles. As you realize, the PinotFile is devoted to
domestic Pinot Noir, but I have drank and cellared red Burgundy through the years. Although this experience
gives me some reference, red Burgundy is a completely different wine than domestic Pinot Noir. It is also
outrageously expensive and led me to quit buying red Burgundy for the most part after the 2005 vintage.
Referencing Clive Coates MW in The Wines of Burgundy, Remington Norman in The Great Domaines of
Burgundy, and Steen Öhman at winehog.com, I have sourced some information about the climate, Les
Les Amoureuses is a 5.40 hectare (13 acres) Premier Cru vineyard in the commune and appellation of
Chambolle-Musigny in Côte de Nuits. One of 25 climates in Chambolle-Musigny, it is considered the best of the
Premier Cru vineyards. The two Grand Cru climates in Chambolle-Musigny are Bonnes Mares and Le Musigny,
but many wine experts consider Les Amoureuses the equivalent of a Grand Cru. It certainly commands the
prices of a Grand Cru.
The name, “Les Amoureuses,” is thought to be derived from a place where young lovers would go to embrace,
although Jasper Morris suggests that because the soil thickens in the rain and sticks to your boots, the soil
clings like young lovers. The latter is a less likely explanation since many vineyards in Burgundy show this clings like young lovers. The latter is a less likely explanation since many vineyards in Burgundy show this
Les Amoureuses is situated down slope and adjacent (north of) to Le Musigny (see map above). The soil of Les
Amoureuses is similar in style to Le Musigny but is shallower than the lower sections of Le Musigny above.
Some have labeled Les Amoureuses as the “younger brother to Musigny,” claiming that Les Amoureuses lacks
the power and depth of Le Musigny. Wine writers emphasize the wines of Les Amoureuses reveal finesse
rather than power or weight. Steen Öhman said, “Chambolle-Musigny Les Amoureuses is the delight of
Burgundy…filigree, sensual, cool and refined. The female pendant to Musigny with the same type of regal
mineralogy - yet more delicate and light footed - without the sheer power and depth of the might Musigny. Les
Amoureuses has a delicacy and sensuality not found in Musigny and is perhaps the most delicate wine of
The alluring descriptions of Les Amoureuses led me to purchase a number of bottles over the years.
That said, the description of Les Amoureuses as delicate and feminine may be an oversimplification based on
my recent tasting of several examples. Depending on the producer and the vintage, I found some wines quite
powerful and concentrated. I also found large differences among the various producers indicating that
winemaking approaches vary noticeably.
Les Amoureuses, like red Burgundy in general, is a much more savory wine than domestic Pinot Noir. The
most impressive feature for me of the wines reviewed here was the intensity and length of finish on almost all
of these bottles. I did not score the wines, preferring to use a one word descriptive of quality. I believe my
palate is so “domesticated,” with a preference for freshness and fruitiness, that perhaps I don’t appreciate
these wines like a Burgundy aficionado would. I think domestic Pinot Noir offers more consistency of quality.
Some wines were downright disappointing considering they cost well over $100 a bottle several years ago.
Among the vignerons whose wines were reviewed here, Groffier, with over 1 hectare, is the largest owner.
The Les Amoureuses wines are labeled either Chambolle-Musigny Premier Cru (1er Cru) Les Amoureuses, or
Chambolle-Musigny Premier Cru in which case the wine may be blended from several Premier Cru vineyards
within the ACC. In some cases, the vineyard is simply designated as Amoureuses.
All wines were acquired upon release and perfectly cellared at 55º. I have included current prices (shocking)
from auction or retailers on wine-searcher.com.
1996 Louis Jadot Chambolle Musigny Les Amoureuses 1er Cru
13.5% alc.. $837 (current price) Imported
by Kobrand, NY, NY.
Moderately dark garnet color with the slightest bricking of the rim. Aromas of burnt cigar,
old leather and old trunk initially. Fruit aromas of black cherry and pomegranate show up later. Intense, mid
weight flavors of black cherry, blueberry, pomegranate and herbal oak. Impressive attack and finishing
persistence. Welcome underlying acidity but still retaining aggressive tannins that leave a bit of astringency on
the finish. Drink up.
1999 Domaine B. Serveau et fils Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Les Amoureuses
13.0% alc.. $492 (current
price) Imported by Village Wine Imports Ltd., NY, NY.
Moderate garnet color in the glass with slight rim bricking.
Match stick aromas initially that resolve over time but fruit never surfaces on the nose. Mid weight flavors of
purple and black fruits with a sulfuric thread in the background. There is significant char and smoke tones that
mimic a smoke-tainted wine (? Brett). The tannins stick out a bit on the finish. Drink up.
Score: Not Rated
2002 Joseph Drouhin Chambolle-Musigny Amoureuses
13.0% alc.. $560 (current price) Imported by Wine
Brokers International, Incline Village, Nevada for a private collection.
Moderately light garnet color in the glass.
Pleasant aromas of cherry and toast arrive over time. Rather delicate in style, with a tasty core of fresh dark
red berry and black cherry fruit accented with subtle spice and oak. Very long in the mouth and on the finish
with compatible tannins in the background. I was impressed by the seeming youth and freshness of this 16-
year-old wine, yet the nose lacked virility. The finish went on and on. I can really get into a wine like this. Drink
2002 Vincent Girardin Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Les Amoureuses
13.5% alc.. Imported by Vineyard
Brands, Inc., Birmingham, Alabama.
Dark garnet color in the glass. I have extensive notes on this wine.
Engaging aromas of black cherry, Asian spices, undergrowth, rose petal, toasty oak and charcoal grill. Broad-
shouldered and powerful, with mid weight plus flavors of blackberry, cassis, and dark chocolate. There is a
noticeable savory and earthy side to this wine as well. Highly flavorful and beautifully balanced with a creamy
mouth feel, although the finishing length did not quite match up to several other wines in this review session.
That said, this was a highly nuanced wine that showed the more gutsy side of this vineyard. Drink now-2025.
2002 Robert Groffier Père & Fils Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru “Les Amoureuses”
13.5% alc.. $250-$450
(current auction price). Imported by Atherton Wine Imports, CA.
Moderating garnet color in the glass with slight
rim bricking. Perfumed with aromas of black cherry, tobacco, piquant spices, green bean and toast. Discreetly
concentrated flavor of earth-kissed black fruits with a slight feral and vegetal underpinning. Juicy and
expansive in the mouth, with merged tannins and admirable balance. Drink now to 2022.
Score: Very Good
2002 Frédéric Magnien Premier Cru Chambolle-Musigny Amoureuses
13.5% alc.. $431 (current price).
Imported by Premier Cru, Emeryville, CA. Unfiltered.
Dark garnet color in the glass. Complex nose offering
scents of black cherry, dried herbs, earthy flora, and floral bouquet increasing in grandeur over time in the
glass. Mid weight plus in concentration, with an intense attack of boysenberry, blackberry and cassis fruit
flavors and subtle citrus, earth and green herbal threads in the background. Silky in the mouth, with merged
tannins and a very lengthy finish. Drink now to 2022.
Score: Very Good
2003 Lucien Le Moine Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru “Les Amoureuses”
13.5% alc.. Imported by Atherton
Wine Imports, San Jose, CA. Unfined and unfiltered.
Dark garnet color in the glass. Very ripe but not over ripe
fruit aromas and flavors predominate. The nose offers scents of black cherry, blackberry, prune, spice, dried
rose petal, mulch and char. Mid weight plus in concentration with flavors that echo the aromas. Sappy in attack,
length and finish with a sleek texture and compatible backing tannins. Delicious in a fruit-driven Caliesque style
with plenty of sweet fruit that is not tiring and pumps out goodness over a considerable length of time. Drink
now to 2023.
2004 Domaine Louis Jadot Chambolle-Musigny Les Amoureuses
13.5% alc., $135 (purchase price and
current price). Imported by Kobrand Corp, NY, NY.
Moderate garnet color with slight rim bricking. Funky, even
over time, with aromas of old cork, dank cellar, old leather, toast and a hint of Bing cherry. Slightly sulfured at
first but disappearing over time, revealing the delicate flavor of chocolate imbued cherry with savory and char
notes. Silky in texture, with restrained tannins and some length on the finish. Good acid drive, even leading to a
slightly tart finish. The wine just doesn’t deliver enough charm. Drink up.
2004 Francois Bertheau Chambolle-Musigny Premier Cru Les Amoureuses
13.5% alc.. $378 (current
price). Imported by Kermit Lynch, Wine Merchant, Berkeley, CA.
Moderate light garnet color with slight rim
bricking. Pleasant aromas of cherry, dried rose petal and spice. Very delicate and elegant in style with a lively
acid underbelly, offering flavors of redder fruits and complimentary oak overlay. The wine finishes with a tart
cherry persistence. This wines shows the finesse side of this vineyard. Drink now to 2024.
Score: Very Good
2004 Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé Chambolle-Musigny Les Amoureuses Premier Cru
$478-$616 (current price). Imported by I & B Imports Chicago, IL. (Note - I recently tasted all five Vogüé wines from the 2004 vintage - but that’s for another feature)
Moderately light garnet color in the glass.
Gorgeous nose over time offering aromas of sous-bois, spice and cherry. Redder fruited in a mid weight style
with impressive length in the mouth and an extended finish. Silky and sexy, with add flavors of iron, baking
spices and savory herbs. This beauty is struck through with earth and mineralogy. Drink now through 2030.
2005 Domaine Lucien Le Moine Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru “Les Amoureuses”
13.5% alc.. $373-$582
(current price). Imported by Scott Paul Selections, Portland, OR.
Moderately dark garnet color in the glass.
Persistent aromas of black cherry, sous-bois, rose, vanilla and toast satisfy and maintain over time in the glass.
An array of black fruits are composed in a mid weight style with underlain savory oak highlights. Not as giving
as the 2003 vintage by this producer and less sappy, but still sporting a very long finish. More underlying acidity
and tannic backbone in this vintage. Much better when re-tasted later in the day. Drink now to 2030.
Score: Very Good
2005 Domaine B. Serveau et fils Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Les Amoureuses
12.5% alc.. $130
(purchase price), $180 (average current price). Imported by Esquin Imports Inc., San Francisco, CA.
Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Shy aromas of black cherry, dried herbs and a hint of iodine. There
was a suggestion of Brett upon opening. Elegant styled with a middleweight core of black cherry fruit. The silky
texture is the wine’s best feature. A woody thread plies the background and the tannins arise on the quenching
finish that is not particularly long and a bit tart. Drink now to 2025.
2006 Domaine G. Roumier Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Amoureuses
13.5% alc.. $1027 (current auction
price). Imported by Diegeo Chateau & Estate Wines, NY, NY.
Moderate garnet color in the glass. Shy, but
pleasant aromas of red cherry, cranberry, tobacco, spice and sandalwood. Light to mid weight styled with very
appealing flavors of fresh red cherry and red and purple berry. Suave in texture with a healthy tannic backbone
and a long, but not extremely long finish. This wine may need more time to integrate the tannins and oak. Drink
now to 2026.
Score: Very Good+
2008 Joseph Drouhin Premier Cru Chambolle-Musigny Amoureuses
13.0% alc.. $382-$449 (current
price). Imported by Dreyfus, Ashby & Co, NY, NY.
Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Aromas of baked
cherry, fruit compote, cardamom spice, oak and stem lead off. Light to mid weight styled with well-ripened
cherry and cranberry flavors along with accents of vanilla, toast and spice. Inviting charm and balance with
sinewy tannins and a remarkable finish that saturates the aromatic memory for a minute or two. Drink now to