Burgundy, part 2
stop on the Burgundy trip was Jean-Philippe Fichet, who is located
in Meursault, home to some of the planet’s best expressions of
Chardonnay. Fichet is a genius, but is probably less well known than
he deserves to be because he has no premier cru or grand cru
vineyards in Meursault (although he used to have a bit of Perrières,
which he lost in 1996 when the owner died). Instead, Fichet is the
expert of bringing out the very best from village level ‘Lieux
Dits’: name-designated vineyards that aren’t considered to be of
premier cru status. With his meticulous viticulture and mastery of
long élévage, he is able to fashion complex, ageworthy wines from
these sites that put most peoples’ premier cru wines to shame.
visited with Nicolas Gachon, who has been chef du cave here for the
last couple of years. Nicolas took us first to the Meursault Tesson
vineyard, looking down across the vines to the village. It was a
beautifully sunny early June day, and the view was quite
Meursault, from Le Tesson
Fichet has 7 hectares of vines, split across 18 different parcels.
The majority are in Meursault, but
there are small holdings in Monthelie, Auxey-Duresses and
second stop we made was Meursault Narvaux-Dessous. To the left of
Fichet’s parcel were Jobard’s vines; to the right, Dominique
Lafon’s. Gachon showed us how the leaf zone had just been leaf
plucked by hand in his rows, while in those vines to the right the
same operation had been done by machine, with less tidy results.
Also, Fichet’s vines were trained 15 cm higher than the
we went to the village to visit another Fichet vineyard. It was the
0.9 hectare monopole called Miex sous le Château, with 40 year old
vines and quite a different soil type to the other parcels.
Miex sous le Chateau
pointed out just how expensive vineyards in Meursault have become.
There are 24 ouvrees in a hectare, and one ouvree of Meursault
Villages will typically sell for €65 000.
Mieux sous le Chateau
winery is quite small, and in a typical year will process 50 000
hectolitres. Most is domaine wine, with a small bit of negociant
work. Barrels are a mix of 500 litre demi muids and 225 litre
barriques, and 30% new oak is used each year. The wines initially
spend a year in oak and then they are given another 6 months on top
of this after racking. Every single wine is treated the same. Gachon
points out that it is this extra six months of élévage that gives
the extra complexity and longevity, and that this extra period is
quite hard work. He says that the aim is to produce ‘straight,
long wines’, looking for length on the palate.
tasting was brilliant, with a range of vintages back to 1992.
in the cellar, from barrel:
Gruyache – a good parcel next to Les Charmes. Tight mealy nose
leads to a savoury, minerally palate. Complex and with some breadth.
Tesson: very fine, precise minerally nose. Taut with good intensity.
Fichet Bourgogne Blanc 2007
three different parcels. Slightly creamy, broad toasty nose with
subtle minerality. The palate is dense and quite taut with savoury,
mineral notes. It’s almost structured. Nice blend of nutty
minerality with creamy richness. 88/100
Fichet Auxey Duresses 2007
two parcels. Lively, fresh, minerally, citrussy nose. Refined and
alive. The palate is fresh and minerally with lovely acidity. Really
taut and expressive with a subtle, toasty edge. Focused. 91/100
Fichet Meursault Villages 2007
three plots. Lovely taut minerally nose with some savoury toasty
depth. Intense. Expressive, open palate with lively acidity and
lovely savoury toasty notes. Real personality. 91/100
Fichet Meursault Le Tesson 2007
but full nose with lovely fresh minerality and creamy, toasty depth.
Fine. The palate is lively with good acidity and dense, creamy,
mineral notes. Long mineral finish. 93/100
Montrachet 1er Cru Les Referts 2007
toasty, bready nose is rich, creamy, aromatic and full. The palate
is intense with dense fruit and some rich oak. Broad with some fresh
minerality. Youthful, with real promise. 92/100
Fichet Meursault Chevalier 2005
broady, intense, nutty nose with savoury, toasty, mealy notes. The
palate is broad and very savoury with lovely mineral intensity.
Complex, savoury and a bit reduced with lovely complexity and
breadth. Showing a bit of evolution. Hard, grippy finish suggests
this needs time in the glass to open out: it’s like a red wine in
its complexity and structure. 94/100
Fichet Meursault Gruyache 2002
complex, open nose with notes of butter, toast, citrus and minerals.
Quite smooth and beguiling with hints of herbs and malt. The palate
has lovely minerality with rich, smooth herb, meal and toast notes.
Powerful, complex and structured, this is a beautiful white
Fichet Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru Les Referts 1999
nose showing lovely matchstick and cabbage reduction. Complex, fresh
and savoury. The palate is beautifully fresh and youthful with
lovely precision. Fresh, minerally, citrussy and expressive. It’s
a lovely savoury, mineral wine with real potential for further
Fichet Meursault Perrieres
1er Cru 1992
used to rent this vineyard until the owner died in 1996. Utterly
fantastic nose: really complex, lively and minerally with notes of
herbs, marmalade and citrus. Fresh yet complex and evolved at the
same time. The palate is fresh with lovely nutty, broad fruit and
some lemon and pear notes as well as herby vegetable characters.
Really beautiful nose, beginning to lighten up on the palate, and
drinking perfectly now. 96/100
short film of the visit:
tasted as indicated
Find these wines with wine-searcher.com