2018 Meursault, Clos des Perrieres, 1er Cru, Albert Grivault, Burgundy
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Domaine Albert Grivault
This could be one of the great domaines of Meursault, especially with its substantial holding of Les Perrières and the monopoly of the Clos des Perrières, purchased by the original Albert Grivault in 1879. He built up an estate of 15 hectares, though he subsequently gave his holding of Meursault Charmes to the Hospices de Beaune. Other vineyards were later sold, including a hectare of Clos de Vougeot in 1931, and today the domaine consists of six hectares across five appellations - perhaps soon to be four as they have applied to have their hectare of Bourgogne Blanc upgraded to Meursault. Another proposal to upgrade the Clos des Perrières seems unlikely to succeed (see under Meursault Perrières).
Michel Bardet, grandson of Albert Grivault, has been running the domaine along with his sister, but the reins are being handed on to his daughter Claire and son Henri-Marc. The management of the vines is in the hands of various tâcherons, i.e other vignerons who are paid for the job they do rather than as salaried employees. The whites are bottled just before the next harvest after being matured in 20% new wood for the premiers crus. The red wine is aged in total for 18 months, having been vinified without stems. Domaine Grivault’s white wines are generally regarded as of a very high calibre, and are described as having a bright, acidic nature with astounding levels of clear minerality, although these traits reach their peak only after several years of aging.
Rather than dealing with the vines directly, Michel employs tâcherons to handle the physical aspect of the winemaking. The white wines are bottled just prior to the next harvest, having been matured in 20% new wood for the premier crus. The red wines are matured for 18 months, once they have been vinified with the stems removed.
Domaine Grivault regularly performs well amongst competitors, and when the French wine magazine Bourgogne Aujord’hui conducted a survey to find out the superior white wine of the white premier crus, Grivault’s Meursault ‘Clos de Perriéres’ came out on top.
The domaine is also trying to have its appellations upgraded in some cases, such as attempting to level its Bourgogne Blanc hectare up to Meursault, and, more ambitiously, proposing that its Clos des Perriéres deserves Grand Cru status.
Jasper Morris MW, Burgundy Wine Director and author of the award-winning Inside Burgundy comprehensive handbook.
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.
- 305 hectares of village Meursault. The best vineyards include Clos de la Barre, Tesson, Chevalières, Rougeot, Narvaux
- 132 hectares of Premier Cru vineyards (17 in all). The finest vineyards include Les Perrières, Les Genevrières and Les Charmes
- Recommended producers: Comte Lafon, Arnaud Ente, Coche Dury, Guy Roulot, Jean-Philippe Fichet, Patrick Javillier, François Jobard, Michel Bouzereau
- Recommended restaurant: Le Chevreuil
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.
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