Even the most casual glance at any guide to Burgundy reveals that there's something a little different about the Domaines Mugneret-Gibourg & Georges Mugneret in Vosne-Romanée. It's not the word domaine, which simply means that this property is the usual complicated tangle of vines and cellars owned and operated by one of the hundreds of families who owe their living to this corner of eastern France. It's the unique phrase underneath the name and address: "Fermé le mercredi"--closed on Wednesdays.
Working out this telltale piece of information, however, requires some knowledge of the French educational system. To the dismay of many parents, French schools are open on Saturdays but closed on Wednesdays, so as to give the pupils (or teachers?) a midweek break. Domaines Mugneret-Gibourg & Georges Mugneret are closed on Wednesdays because it is run by three mothers who have deliberately chosen to put children before their work.
But theirs is no hobby operation. The mothers in question are the widow and daughters of the late Dr. Georges Mugneret. All are women for whom the French word sérieux, with its connotations of diligence and responsibility, seems to have been coined. Madame Mugneret is distinctly pretty, with a ready smile and the air of one who has delightedly let go of the reins. Marie-Christine and Marie-Andrée are more earnest and anxious to do what is right. Both scientists by training, they are the sort of people you would choose for companions in a lifeboat rather than for a night on the town. Marie-Andrée, I would guess, is the more romantic of the two. She says she dreams often of Noirmoutier, an island off the Atlantic coast where the family often vacations and where she met her husband. "Burgundy has everything," she sighs, "except the sea."