Meursault is the name given to the wines produced in the commune of Meursault, Cote de Beaune Burgundy, France. This region has been making wines for over 1000 years. Meursault white wines are considered by many to be some of the very best white wines produced in France. The AOC Meursault may be used for both red and white wines using Chardonnay and Pinot Noir as the main grape variety.
In 2008, there were 394 hectares (973 acres) of vineyard surface was in production for Meursault wine both at village and Premier Cru level, and 18,530 hectoliter of wine was produced, of which 18,170 hectoliter were white wine and 365 hectoliter red wine. Some 13.5 hectares (33.6 acres) of this area was used for the production of red wines in 2007. The amount produced corresponds to almost 2.5 million bottles, of which slightly less than 50,000 bottles were red wine.
For white wines, the AOC regulations allow both Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc to be used, but most wines are 100% Chardonnay. The AOC regulations also allow up to 15 per cent total of Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris as accessory grapes in the red wines, but this not practised by many winemakers.
A third of the production in Meursault has a Premier Cru label, with the major ones being:
Meursault was made an AOC in 1970, but even before then it was quite a famous village for it's fine white wines. Wine has been produced here since as early as 1050. Over its long history, Meursault has been largely overlooked by regulators, none of its vineyards were ever granted Grand Cru status, and it was overlooked in the first wave of AOC creations. As a result, Meursault had to establish its reputation for great white Burgundy wines almost entirely on its own.
Meursault's wine growing region covers an area of 1090 acres. The village of Meursault has favorable weather conditions, a high elevation, and very well-concentrated soils. It is right at the base of the sloped Cote d'Or. Meursault is fairly well protected from wind and many of the weather conditions that trouble some of the poorer white Burgundy villages. The best soils here can be found at heights of 850 to 885 feet and consist of Jurassic marls and marlylimestones, with some patches of magnesian limestone.
There are a number of Meursault Premier Cru areas with the most well known ones being:
Les Caillerets: Coche-Dury produces by far the best white wine from this Premier Cru vineyard. This wine is outstandingly made and with good cellaring can offer wonderfully rich, classically styled Meursault in 5-6 years.
Charmes: One of the three big boys of Meursault wine, Charmes has become very reliable for its style. The wine, while not lacking in power, is usually fairly feminine in style, with a soft texture, buttery flavors with some nutty, spicy notes, and can easily be drunk at a young age. Rich, sweet and round, the cuvees from Bouchard, Boillot, Colin-Morey, Lafon, the stunningly creamy Jobard, Giraud, and Roulot are all examples of this. The expensive Comte Lafon Charmes is probably the best produced here.
Perrieres: There are almost too many great wines to list that are located in this Premier Cru that are worthy of having their Chardonnay designated with Grand Cru status. While overall personality varies too much to be generalized, the wines are usually amazingly powerful with characteristic apricot and peach notes. While sometimes a mineral edge can get in the way at a young age, they are just as rich as any Meursault and often much more concentrated after 5-6 years of aging. Wines are often labeled Meursault-Perrieres.
Meursault typically are greeny-gold in colour or canary yellow. They tend to have strong aromas of ripe grapes. The young wine is redolent of toasted almonds and hazelnuts in a floral, typically bracken, elder, mayflower, and flinty mineral setting. Butter, honey, and citrus fruits are also present. On the palate it is rich and fat with a taste of hazelnut present. Long and structured, these wines need time to mature, and are usually at their best after 5 or 6 years cellaring. These fabulous wines are best enjoyed with Seafood dishes such as lobster, or fish in white sauce. They also pair well with many cheeses including blue cheese.