Our tasting impressions
It is uncommon for for a young 1er Cru white Burgundy to demonstrate this much precision. A rich, almost creamy wine that is as impressive for its deliciousness as its complexity. Hard to resist but the best is yet to come. Chassagne and Puligny might be more famous but many Burgophiles will tell you, “ain’t nothing like a first-class Meursault.”
About this wine
Despite having no Grand Cru vineyards, Meursault is considered one of the big 3 Chardonnay appellations of the Côte de Beaune. The 1er Cru vineyard Charmes is in the southern portion and is one of the best (maybe top 3).
The grapes are from a small Chardonnay plot planted 45 years ago in clay & limestone soil. The exposure is east/southeast and elevation 235 meters.
Grapes were handpicked on 9/27 and yields were just 30 hl/ha. Whole clusters were fermented by native yeast. Aging was in oak barrels (30% new). Malolactic fermentation was done and bottling took place on 11/22/17. 1,200 bottles were produced. Potel added nothing to this wine other than sulfite.
About the grape
Chardonnay is the most popular wine variety in the world - and in the US. Winemakers love the green-skinned grape as well because it’s so easy to grow and adapt to many different production techniques. Grown everywhere, Chardonnay’s greatest expressions are widely believed to come from Burgundy. Indeed, this is believed to be where the grape originated. Chablis, in Northern Burgundy and Champagne also offer superlative examples of Chardonnay.
About the vintage
High spring temperatures meant early budding, so the late April hail and frost was very destructive. Renewed heat helped to put things back on track, but many vines were lost. As is often the case, the remaining fruit was highly concentrated. Ripeness and balance were strong.
On your table
Serve with a slight chill. Sometimes, I think Meursault paired with steamed lobster is a cliche but I’d welcome it with this one.
Suggested Glassware: Grassl Cru
Roche de Bellene was established in 2008 by Nicolas Potel. It is a diversified and global wine production and trading company. The company includes Domaine de Roche Bellene, which offers wines from estate owned vineyards in 10 different Côte d’Or appellations.
Maison Roche de Bellene is the company’s négociant arm. Potel and his team source grapes from respected and consistent sources throughout the Côte d’Or. All are very old vines from which Roche de Bellene produces white and red wines. Another part of the Maison operation is the Bellenum Collection. Potel purchases collections of outstanding wines from the vintages 1959-2006. After ensuring the quality, he rebottles these treasures before making them available for purchase.
Nico is the son of the legendary Volnay producer, Gerard Potel. In addition to learning “at home,” he trained at excellent estates in Australia, California and Burgundy. Potel is widely respected by his peers for his remarkable wine production talents, as well as his keen sense for sourcing grapes and wines.