The Clos de Vougeot was farmed by monks for nearly a thousand years before more earthly beings began to take over. We now have ample historical evidence to be one hundred percent certain that this site is capable of making some of the world’s finest and longest-lived Pinot Noir. It is also one of the few grands crus (like Corton) large enough to have multiple lieux-dits within it. Jean-Nicolas Méo owns vines in the lieux-dits of Grand Mapertuis and Près le Cellier (two very good ones). The 2017 vintage was the first time since 2009, however, that he bottled the lieux-dits separately because they finally had enough wine to do so! His Vougeot is marked by richness, concentration, velvety structure, broad aromatics, length, and power. It is a complete wine.
Méo-Camuzet is one of the most celebrated domaines of the Côte d’Or, located in the heart of prestigious Vosne-Romanée. The domaine boasts fourteen hectares of land in some of the most spectacular appellations and crus of Burgundy. Méo-Camuzet bottles four astounding grands crus, ten premier crus, several village wines, one Bourgogne Rouge, and only one white. Vigneron Jean-Nicolas Méo aims for balance and purity of fruit, which he accomplishes with terrific success. Though delicate and fine, even in their youth, the paradoxical concentration and intensity of these wines make them ideal for long cellar aging.
In eastern central France, Burgundy is nestled between the wine regions of Champagne to the north, the Jura to the east, the Loire to the west, and the Rhône to the south. This is the terroir par excellence for producing world-class Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
The southeast-facing hillside between Dijon in the north and Maranges in the south is known as the Côte d’Or or “golden slope.” The Côte d’Or comprises two main sections, both composed of limestone and clay soils: the Côte de Nuits in the northern sector, and the Côte de Beaune in the south. Both areas produce magnificent whites and reds, although the Côte de Beaune produces more white wine and the Côte de Nuits more red.
Chablis is Burgundy’s northern outpost, known for its flinty and age-worthy Chardonnays planted in Kimmeridgian limestone on an ancient seabed. Vézelay is a smaller area south of Chablis with similar qualities, although the limestone there is not Kimmeridgian.
To the south of the Côte de Beaune, the Côte Chalonnaise extends from Chagny on its northern end, down past Chalon-sur-Saône and encompasses the appellations of Bouzeron in the north, followed by Rully, Mercurey, Givry, and Montagny.
Directly south of the Chalonnaise begins the Côte Mâconnais, which extends south past Mâcon to the hamlets of Fuissé, Vinzelles, Chaintré, and Saint-Véran. The Mâconnais is prime Chardonnay country and contains an incredible diversity of soils.
Trust the great winemakers, trust the great vineyards. Your wine merchant might even be trustworthy. In the long run, that vintage strip may be the least important guide to quality on your bottle of wine.—Kermit Lynch
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