2012 Meursault, Vieilles Vignes, Sylvain Loichet

2012 Meursault, Vieilles Vignes, Sylvain Loichet

White, Ready, but will keep   White | Ready, but will keep | Sylvain Loichet | Code: 19972 | 2012 | France > Burgundy > Cote de Beaune > Meursault | Chardonnay | Medium Bodied, Dry | 13.0 % alcohol

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The Story

Sylvain Loichet

Producer

Sylvain Loichet

The Loichets come from Comblanchien (southern end of Cote de Nuits), as well known for its marble quarrying industry as for its vines. Indeed the previous two generations of Loichets have been stone masons rather than vignerons but they kept ownership of their vineyards (Cote de Nuits Villages, Clos de Vougeot and Ladoix blanc) which the talented Sylvain (early 20s) has taken back.

Since he does not own enough vines to make a really decent living, he has added some well chosen negociant cuvees (mostly white) which are equally impressive. The white wines are made with a great sense of precision and are full of energy. The reds are vigorous, full of fruit and look set to age very well.

Grape

Chardonnay

Chardonnay

Chardonnay is the "Big Daddy" of white wine grapes and one of the most widely planted in the world. It is suited to a wide variety of soils, though it excels in soils with a high limestone content as found in Champagne, Chablis, and the Côte D`Or.

Burgundy is Chardonnay's spiritual home and the best White Burgundies are dry, rich, honeyed wines with marvellous poise, elegance and balance. They are unquestionably the finest dry white wines in the world. Chardonnay plays a crucial role in the Champagne blend, providing structure and finesse, and is the sole grape in Blanc de Blancs.

It is quantitatively important in California and Australia, is widely planted in Chile and South Africa, and is the second most widely planted grape in New Zealand. In warm climates Chardonnay has a tendency to develop very high sugar levels during the final stages of ripening and this can occur at the expense of acidity. Late picking is a common problem and can result in blowsy and flabby wines that lack structure and definition.

Recently in the New World, we have seen a move towards more elegant, better- balanced and less oak-driven Chardonnays, and this is to be welcomed.

Region

Meursault

There are more top producers in Meursault than in any other commune of the Côte d’Or. Certainly it is the most famous and popular of the great white appellations. Its wines are typically rich and savoury with nutty, honeyed hints and buttery, vanilla spice from the oak.

Even though it is considerably larger than its southerly neighbours Chassagne and Puligny, Meursault contains no Grands Crus. Its three best Premiers Crus, however – Les Perrières, Les Genevrières and Les Charmes – produce some of the region’s greatest whites: they are full, round and powerful, and age very well. Les Perrières in particular can produce wines of Grand Cru quality, a fact that is often reflected in its price. Meursault has also been one of the driving forces of biodynamic viticulture in the region, as pioneered by Lafon and Leflaive.

Many of the vineyards below Premier Cru, known as ‘village’ wines, are also well worth looking at. The growers vinify their different vineyard holdings separately, which rarely happens in Puligny or Chassagne. Such wines can be labelled with the ‘lieu-dit’ vineyard alongside (although in smaller type to) the Meursault name.

Premier Cru Meursault should be enjoyed from five to 15 years of age, although top examples can last even longer. Village wines, meanwhile, are normally at their best from three to 10 years.

Very occasionally, red Meursault is produced with some fine, firm results. The best red Pinot Noir terroir, Les Santenots, is afforded the courtesy title of Volnay Santenots, even though it is actually in Meursault.

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