Jasper Morris MW, Inside Burgundy (January 2022)
About this WINE
Jean-Philippe Fichet made his first vintage in 1981. After a few challenges, he settled into his current – and rather splendid – cellars at Creux du Coche, by the Hôpital de Meursault.
About Jean-Philippe Fichet
Over the years, Jean-Philippe has built up an array of Meursaults, all from lieux-dits. He has no Premiers or Grands Crus in the village, though there’s a small parcel of Premier Cru Referts in Puligny.
In the vineyard
Jean-Philippe is very much a vigneron; it’s the time in the vineyard that counts. He believes that soil health is critical, and for 15 years he’s been making and applying his own compost to his vineyards.
A small village in a side valley off the Côte de Beaune, with a slightly cooler local climate making for a more austere style of Burgundy. Nonetheless this can be an excellent source of relatively inexpensive wine in warmer years, or from top producers. At the moment production is about 75:25 red to white. The reds can age well, while the whites can have a most attractive minerality.
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.