MEURSAULT’S NEXT BIG THING?

The relatively new importer that brings in this exciting Meursault domaine states that he believes this is the first time the wine has been in the country.  We cannot speak to that but can tell you this is our first go-round with this house and what a find it appears to be!  The domaine is centered in the village of Meursault and current winemaker/grower Francois Buisson represents the fifth generation at the helm of this estate comprised of a mere 8 acres of vines spread across 14 different appellations.

The style of winemaking here is based on what the vintage delivers.  There is no specific ‘stamp’ the winemaker feels must be present stylistically but rather they guide the wine to achieve what Nature has given it through minimal intervention.  Francois is sensitive to the vineyard and the ecosystem.  They plow rather than use herbicides and, while they might use a synthetic product in the case of some specific vineyard issue, are generally organic in treatments and harvest everything by hand. 

These wines have classic Meursault character of high-toned minerality, hazelnut, dried honey and crème brulee in the nose to varying degrees.  To us that is the signature of the appellation.   Stylistically these all come in towards the racier end of the spectrum with plenty of sleek fruit sitting atop refined acidity, plenty of energy and deceptive extract.

The Buisson-Battault Bourgogne Blanc 2016 shows its colors out of the gate.  The fruit is sourced from the Les Clous Perrons and les Magnys lieu-dits. The vine age ranges from 15-65 years of age and the wine is aged 1 year in barrel, 10% of which is new oak.  As Bourgognes actually sourced from Meursault terroir go, you can pay a lot for something from a Coche Dury or Roulot.  This one delivers that identifiably classic profile and, at $29.98, is a relative bargain for the juice inside the bottle.

The Buisson-Battault Meursault Vieilles Vignes 2016 comes from two lieu dits, Les Malpoiriers and Les Pellans, that are on opposite sides of the village of Meursault.  They weren’t kidding about the ‘old vines’ (vieilles vgines) as these were planted in 1930 and 1935.  The nose is a classic tapestry of brioche, honey, buttered toast and toffee, and all of that presents itself on the palate in a rich-but-lifted fruit component of apple and quince, with an elegant cut of salinity to the finish.  We have tasted a lot of Meusaults that, while they have the correct terroir notes and mouthfeel up front, don’t finish with sufficient flourish.  This one absolutely seals the deal in an expressive but harmonious way.

This Premier Cru vineyard has been the source of a number of favorites of ours over the years.  For some reason the Goutte d’Or wines come across as particularly and gloriously ‘Meursault-y’.  The Buisson-Battault Meursault 1er Cru Goutte d’Or 2016 came from a variety of plots within the vineyards, some owned by the domaine and others controlled through metayage for a total of five hectares, a sizeable piece in a vineyard this size.  The plantings range over a period (1955 – 1968 – 1974 – 2005) and everything is, of course, harvested by hand and put in French oak for 12 months, 25% new.  This one has it all and, again, the price is justified given the performance.  We have identified more than a few houses that went on to be a really big deal and, given this impressive first encounter, these guys may well be one of those.

MEURSAULT MAGIC: BOYER-MARTENOT MEURSAULT LES TILLETS 2014

BOYER-MARTENOT MEURSAULT LES TILLETS 2014

There’s something about Meursault. There are always comparisons made between Chardonnays made all over the world against the ‘motherland’ of white Burgundy, and an occasional case can be made that something might loosely resemble a Puligny or Chassagne. But the distinct, specific streak of toasty, resiny minerality combined with an insistent grilled nut character, is pretty unique. Nothing tastes like Meursault.

We did not know this small estate when it was presented to us though we were familiar with the top-of-the-hill lieu dit ‘les Tillets’ from Guy Roulot bottlings we had years ago (Roulot has since become a Meurault superstar a la Coche Dury, so we don’t see much of any of it these days). Boyer Martenot owns land in several Meursault climates and a couple in Puligny. The family estate is over 100 years old and Vincent Boyer is the fourth generation of winemakers and definitely something of a ‘Meursault whisperer’.

We had him in the store for the video but he is clearly a man of few words who lets his juice do the talking. He is a terroirist, choosing to sit back and gently facilitate the dirt doing the talking. What’s his secret? He’s not saying. His approach in the vineyard is ‘hands on’ lutte raisonée (the short explanation being ‘failsafe’ organic), all the fermentations are done with the indigenous yeast, and the majority of the bottlings from the single parcels. The wines are, across the board, bright, precise, intensely expressive of the terroir but delicate and refined in every other way.

Our attraction to the Tillet among his stellar lineup is the very ‘Meursault’ profile from predominantly thinner, chalkier soils at the top of the hill, and the price performance. This is Meursault in its purest, most native, “less-is-more” sense with the subtle perfume of nuts, mineral, oyster shell, and stone fruits wafting from the glass, a bright, vigorous palate with plenty of verve, and a long, unmistakably classic finish for this particular village. We have had $80 wines from big time names that are considerably less pure and compelling, which kind of makes this one a bargain for the genre as well…$52.98