Overview of the Wine
A noble terroir has reclaimed its birthright. Once esteemed above all other Burgundy villages for its white wines, Meursault fell from grace in the late 19th century—despite having a greater diversity of superb Chardonnay soils than any other place in Burgundy, and possibly any other spot on earth.
Today, Meursault is back on top, and a new generation of winemakers is capitalizing on its diverse soils to make some of Burgundy’s most exciting white wines. “Expression” is the order of the day, and wines of unprecedented individuality are emerging from such cellars as Comtes Lafon, Guy Roulot and Arnaud Ente. But if there is one winemaker who points the way to the future, it may be Jean-Philippe Fichet.
“(This is) real Meursault, if so unlike the buttery cliché that I and my contemporaries were brought up to expect.”
- Jancis Robinson
More than any of his peers, Fichet is testing the limits of transparency, to find the very soul of Meursault’s terroirs. It was Meursault’s destiny to have its soils revealed in this way: their intense stoniness is magnified by an exceptionally low water table, forcing the vines’ roots deep underground.
Fichet's work is a direct outgrowth of a breakthrough that happened three decades ago: René Lafon's decision to bottle his Meursault “Clos de la Barre” on its own. For a century before, such a thing had been unheard of, as only the most famous vineyards—the premier crus—were ever bottled individually; everything else was blended into Meursault villages.
Lafon’s innovation not only proved that a lieu-dit (a non-classified vineyard) could say something profound, it drew attention to Meursault’s incredible soils—paving the way for the later accomplishments of Jean-François Coche, Jean-Marc Roulot and, of course, René Lafon’s son Dominique. But Fichet has carried Lafon’s revolution to another level—studying every square inch of earth and stone in his domaine, to make Meursault’s purest set of single-climat wines.
Fichet’s methods reflect his philosophy: he is famously meticulous and abhors taking short cuts. His low yields, the foremost key to quality, are achieved through severe winter pruning rather than by green harvesting. And he believes his wines’ expressiveness is enhanced through a patient eighteen- month élevage, with little new oak employed, and by avoiding aggressive lees stirring.
WINEMAKING NOTES Viticulture is “lutte raisonée” (reasoned organic). JeanPhilippe aims to know his vines, and to work with them to find a healthy equilibrium. He eschews chemical fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides. Fermentations take place in barrel, except for Bourgogne blanc and Aligoté (barrel and tank). All wines go through malo in barrel. Batonnage is limited depending on the health of the lees and the nature of the vintage. The wines enjoy an unhurried 18-month élevage. A six-year barrel rotation is employed, with only a few wines (in top vintages) seeing more than 20% new wood.
Meursault—Based on three beautifully situated parcels on the southern slopes of the village: les Cloux (60-year-old vines); les Chaumes de Narvaux, just above Bouchères and Gouttes d'Or; Limouzin, directly below Genevrières, plus a little Criots.
Grape / Blend
(from 7 different lieux-dits). Notes of hazelnut and matchstick add breadth to the ripe white orchard fruit aromas. The seductive middle weight flavors are impressively intense with an abundance of dry extract that is balanced off by citrus-inflected acidity on the chiseled finish that is quite dry in the context of what is typical for the vintage.
"Fichet's 2017 Meursault Village exhibits notes of ripe citrus fruit, white flowers, beeswax and a subtle framing of wood, followed by a medium to full-bodied, satiny palate that's pure, precise but giving. It's more accessible and immediate than his more intellectual lieux-dits bottlings."
Product size: 750ml