Potinet-Ampeau Meursault 1er Cru 'Les Perrieres' 2010
If there were to be a Grand Cru in Meursault (and the proposition has been tabled) it would be 'Perrieres'. There are many styles of Meursault, but it's always 'Perrieres' that gets us. And the traditional methods of the Potinet-Ampeau production are exactly what this great vineyard needs to shine. Exceptional complexity, vibrant fruit, with exotic notes and good firm minerality. It's one of those we call a 'grown-up's wine'!
Burgundy 2010 is a small harvest, even smaller than expected. Uneven flowering and a subsequent cold snap in early summer meant that all but the best-exposed vineyards gave greatly diminished yields. The exceptions are…exceptional. Michel Arcelain in Pommard (who completed his 64th harvest that year!) told us that while his village Beaune ‘Siserpe’ was down a third in quantity, his Beaune 1er Cru ‘Clos des Mouches’ gave him the same as last year. It’s the exposition, he says. And that, in short, is what makes it a premier cru.
A hot and cold summer combined with (in the Côtes) too much moisture brought the threat of rot, and meant that the growers had to be particularly vigilant with their treatments, and then again at the sorting tables. Meaning even less crop. Most unusual of all, the harvest did not come to maturity by color. Usually it's red and then white. In 2010 growers alternated harvesting between Pinot and Chardonnay as the parcels reached maturity. Some even sent their pickers home for a few days in mid-harvest.
But the good producers did not complain (much), because the quality is there. With good natural sugar levels, and remarkably tame acidity, the wines were promising right from the outset. Both Pinot Noir and Chardonnay like to come to maturity slowly, and 2010 gave them this opportunity. So if the phyto-sanitary side was seen to (which is what it means to be one of the good producers), we are looking at rich bright voluminous wines, both red and white, and from south to north.Chardonnay
2010 is a year for whites. From the north to the south of Burgundy, the whites show the whole range of expression of Chardonnay. These are balanced wines with freshness and purity, and refined minerality. This is a Chardonnay as the Burgundians like it. The Chablis are superb!
Delicious reds in a classic style, with excellent balance between fruit, acidity and tannins.
Compared to 2009, the 2010s are less rich but more precise. Compared to 2008, they are richer and more balanced. Precision and purity, character and depth; and above all elegance. Many producers have told us that they prefer their 2010s to their 2009s. Again, 2010 is Burgundy as the Burgundians like it.
COTE DE BEAUNE
The hard comblanchian limestone that disappears deep underground around Nuits-Saint-Georges reappears here in the southern part of the Cote de Beaune where red wines give way to whites. Nowhere in the Côte de Beaune does the Chardonnay grape do better than it does in the 'golden triangle' of Meursault, Chassagne-Montrachet and Puligny-Montrachet. A small amount of red wine is produced here, though white definitely dominates.
Produced only in the commune of Meursault, appellation Meursault includes 19 premiers crus.
There are appreciable differences in and among the wines of the different Meursault climats. And even more important differences in the perceived style of Meursault among the producers. This translates into two distinct types of Meursault, and then, because the climats themselves are so distinctive, we see almost a spectrum of variety in wines that are all appellation Meursault.
The first of the two distinct styles, what many would call 'traditional', is greeny-gold in color, almost yellow, and going to bronze as it ages. Limpid and fat, its bouquet in youth is grapey toasted oak. This gives way to less fruity but honeyed notes and big buttery volume. Classic Meursault is toast, butter and honey.
The other style, what might be called 'modern' plays more on minerality and acidity. The robe is greeny-gold, but with silvery hints and, while brilliant is notably leaner. The young wine is nutty, floral, gun-flint smoky and above all lemony. Honey notes develop with age, but are carried by the fruit and minerality. Because less new oak is used in the winemaking process, structure is less obvious, but no less an important part of the finished wine. Meursault is perhaps the greatest white Burgundy for aging, and this can be said of either style.
The best soils are found at heights of 260-270 meters with exposures along an arc between east and south. They consist of jurassic marls and marly limestone. There are some patches of magnesian limestone. Ancient callovien limestone and argovien marls appear in the premier cru climats.
Nearly all whites - Chardonnay
Red wines - Pinot Noir
Production surface area
1 hectare (ha) = 2.4 acres
Whites : 383.03 ha (including 103.43 ha premier cru)
Reds : 11.02 ha (including 1.77 ha premier cru)
Power and balance between alcohol and acidity make Meursault potentially noble. A great one has a natural affinity with noble fish or meat where it can match without overpowering. It goes well with roast veal and poultry, and creamy sauces work well here. Still better are grilled lobster, shrimp and famously, crawfish in sauce. Foie gras is often served with the traditional style Meursault, as are rich cheeses like Roquefort. The modern style Meursault is more apt to less rich and extravagant flavors.
On the label, the appellations 'Meursault' and 'Meursault 1er Cru' may be followed by the name of a specific vineyard, known as a climat.
The following climats are classified as premier cru:
Clos des Perrières
La Pièce sous le Bois
Les Gouttes d'Or
Les Santenots Blancs
Les Santenots du Milieu
Sous le Dos d'Ane
The following climats are village wines from a single vineyard, known as a lieu-dit:
Au Moulin Judas
Au Moulin Landin
Au Murger de Monthélie
Clos de la Barre
Clos des Mouches
En la Barre
La Barre Dessus
Le Bois de Blagny
Le Buisson Certaut
Le Meix sous le Château
Le Meix Tavaux
Le Pré de Manche
Les Chaumes de Narvaux
Les Clous Dessous
Les Clous Dessus
Les Gorges de Narvaux
Les Grands Charrons
Les Meix Chavaux
Les Narvaux Dessoux
Les Narvaux Dessus
Les Petits Charrons
Les Peutes Vignes
Les Santenots Dessous
Les Terres Blanches
Les Vignes Blanches
Les Vireuils Dessous
Les Vireuils Dessus