Lucien le Moine is a rarity in Burgundy. It is a garagiste producer of Grand Cru and Premier Cru Pinot Noir and Chardonnay with a cult reputation for highly individualistic wines. Its founders and owners are the husband and wife team of Mounir Saouma and Rotem Brakir, who started the label only in 2000. Saouma became fascinated with Burgundy while working in a Trappist Monastery in Jerusalem, and later studied oenology in Montpellier, France. His wife Rotem comes from a cheese-making family and she studied agriculture and oenology in Dijon. The couple owns or leases no vineyards of their own but they purchase small batches of juice or very young cuvee from outstanding Grand Cru and Premier Cru vineyards in the Cote d’Or. The couple does all the work themselves and produce, at most, 30,000 bottles a year. Robert M. Parker Jr. has written that “the richness and complexity of (their wines) are stunning.”
Côte de Nuits is the northern part of the Côte d’Or and it includes the most famous vineyards and wine communes in the world. There are more Grand Cru appellations in the Côte de Nuits than anywhere else in Burgundy. Of the fourteen communes, or villages in the Côte de Nuits, six produce Grand Cru wines. They are Gevrey-Chambertin, Morey-St.-Denis, Chambolle-Musigny, Vougeot, Flagey-Échezeaux and Vosne-Romanee. Some of the vineyards within the Côte de Nuits are tiny, which adds to their prestige. The fabled Grand Cru vineyard La Romanee is barely two square acres. Altogether there are twenty-four Grand Cru vineyards. The region takes its name from the village of Nuits-Saint-Georges. Côtes de Nuits produces mostly reds from Pinot Noir, and the wines have been in demand for centuries. During the 18th century King Louis XIV’s physician recommended that for his health the king only drink wines from Nuits-Saint-Georges. Like most of Burgundy, the soils of the Côte de Nuit can vary greatly from one vineyard to another, though most are a base soil of limestone mixed with clay, gravel and sand.
This red wine is relatively light and can pair with a wide variety of foods. The grape prefers cooler climates and the wine is most often associated with Burgundy, Champagne and the U.S. west coast. Regional differences make it nearly as fickle as it is flexible.