Burgundy is one of the most hallowed places in the world- Mounir Saouma has made quite a name for himself producing incredible premier and grand cru releases from these top vineyards. His wines are strong, ethereal, and completely unique to anything we have ever tried.
Thursday evening, we tasted through Mounir’s top Grand Cru bottlings as well as several Premier Cru wines paired side by side with their Rhone counterparts- YES, you heard that right! A blind comparative tasting! Wow! He inspired the room by time and again showing the incredible quality and age ability of his Rhone Wines. These wines are poignant and deep- full of flavors and in the aged white line up 2013 Magis against the Morgeot from Chassagne Montrachet it won!
The tasting was not meant to terrify or even make any one feel out of place- it was meant to show how against the best and highest quality vineyards in the world, his Rhone wines hold their own! His first love was Pinot Noir and Chardonnay which is why, when he left his native Lebanon, he began his career in Burgundy! His Micro-Negociant label “Lucien Le Moine (Monk of Light)” has become acclaimed the world over being served in Michelin Star restaurants and the best of the best in Paris. He loves his Burgundy project, but as with many winemakers- he wanted more. He wanted to own the wine from the vineyard all the way through to bottling- so he and his wife Rotem looked to the Rhone Valley and the classic winemaking techniques of years past for their newest expedition so called “Rotem & Mounir”.
The wines are truly remarkable- Simon can’t get enough of the Magis Mounir’s Chateauneuf du Pape Blanc made from predominantly Grenache Blanc- two reds and a white made from the Grenache variety that challenge every notion we have had about the Southern Rhone. The Omnia is his earthy, hedonistic Chateauneuf du Pape Rouge which evokes notes of ripe raspberries, hen of the wood mushroom, bergamot and clove- Simon calls this his “gypsy” wine and it is undeniably wild! Arioso is Mounir’s refined Chateauneuf du Pape Rouge that reminds this writer of her car in high school! Now, stay with me here- Clove cigarettes, leather, and the fresh turned earth from my soccer cleats tossed in the backseat immediately launch from this glass so expressive is this wine that I have yet to see it not evoke an emotional response from anyone who has tried it- paired next to Clos de Vougeot it came out favorite 9/10 times. Remarkable!
Mounir’s visits are among my favorite- his passion is so clear. His vision is unique and he is so dedicated to his mission to create wines honest to their terroir and to their variety. It is refreshing to have someone push a glass into your face so enraptured with the bouquet of a wine that he just has to share it. This man is not just a winemaker- he is an artist, a poet, a romantic soul that impacts everyone around him.