Meursault wine is perfect for celebrations. It’s so rich, lavish, and elegant that many wine enthusiasts save their bottles for special occasions. For example, last year, Bay Grape wine shop owner and GuildSomm podcast regular Stevie Stacionis finally paid off her student loan debt. As she describes in the GuildSomm podcast’s “Year in Review” episode, when a group of regular customers at the wine shop learned about Stacionis’ achievement, they offered to buy her any bottle of wine in the store to celebrate. Out of all of the wines in the shop, she chose a bottle of 2015 Domaine Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey Meursault Poruzots. For Stacionis, nothing could be more celebratory in that moment than a fine bottle of Meursault.
The reason so many wine enthusiasts adore Meursault wine is that it is opulent yet approachable. These wines taste luxe and silky even in their youth, making them some of the easiest wines in the world to collect. You don’t have to worry about opening your Meursault too early, as even the youngest wines have spectacular balance and layers of flavor. Whether you’re starting a Meursault collection for the first time or you want to explore a few lesser-known producers or styles from this area, this guide will help you discover all that this region has to offer.
A Guide to Meursault Wine Styles
When most people think of Meursault wine, they picture rich, balanced whites. That’s because this region is known for its high-quality, full-bodied Chardonnay. Producers in this region often use extended oak aging to make white wines that are buttery, round, and nutty in flavor. You won’t find many examples of lean or tannic Chardonnay in this area. As a result, most Meursault wines drink well when they’re young because they are creamy and don’t have any roughness or bracing acidity. I usually drink wine from Meursault within the first five years of release, but some of these wines can age for up to 15 years, depending on the quality and ripeness of the grapes. On the whole, however, compared with other areas of Burgundy, such as Montrachet, Chardonnay from Meursault isn’t as suited to long-term aging. Yet, like Chardonnay from other parts of the Côte de Beaune, Meursault wines are layered and baroque. If you enjoy an opulent style of white wine, then you’ll find some of the best examples of it in Meursault.
Pinot Noir only makes up about five percent of the total grape production in Meursault, and as a result, these wines are exceptionally rare on the secondary market.
It should be noted that Chardonnay isn’t the only variety grown in Meursault; some producers also make fascinating bottles of Pinot Noir that have great aging potential. Last year, one of my friends took a vacation to Burgundy and traveled around the region sampling wines from dozens of producers. His travels eventually took him to the Côte de Beaune, where he had the opportunity to try some incredible wines from Meursault, including the 2013 Maison Leroy Meursault Premier Cru Les Perrières and a few bottles from Les Charmes. However, for him, the standout wine wasn’t a classic bottle of white Burgundy, it was a rare bottle of 2015 Meursault rouge from Domaine Pierre Morey. Made from 100 percent Pinot Noir, the wine was light, juicy, and very tannic. While it could have used more time to mature fully, my friend was so impressed with its liveliness and complex flavors that he bought several bottles to keep in his cellar long-term.
Pinot Noir only makes up about five percent of the total grape production in Meursault, and as a result, these wines are exceptionally rare on the secondary market. Domaine Jacques Prieur makes some of the finest examples of this particular style of Meursault, so if you’re curious to try Pinot Noir from this region, I recommend starting with wines from this producer.
Whether you’re seeking classic white Burgundy or unusual bottles of Pinot Noir from Meursault, the terroir in which the grapes are grown has an immense impact on the quality, value, and aging potential of Meursault wine. For this reason, it’s worth becoming familiar with Meursault’s top subregions.
The Most Important Meursault Subregions You Should Know
Meursault wines are much richer than those made in other areas of Burgundy because of the region’s location. Located at the foot of the Côte d’Or, Meursault is sheltered from the wind by sloping hills, resulting in grapes that are very concentrated. However, while all subregions of Meursault produce rounded, opulent wines, some subregions are more highly rated than others. For example, when Jancis Robinson reviewed a bottle of 2010 Domaine Jean-Michel Gaunoux Meursault Premier Cru Les Perrières, she noted that the Perrières terroir is so exceptional that it “might well have been classified as a grand cru.” There are no grand cru wines made in Meursault–only premier cru–yet the area’s terroirs frequently receive such praise from the wine world’s most discerning critics.
Generally speaking, Perrières, Clos des Perrières, and Charmes make the most valuable wines, so if you’re looking to resell your bottles on the secondary market, invest in producers from these three terroirs.
Knowing which subregions of Meursault are most renowned will help you find the best wines to add to your own collection. Here are some notable premier cru terroirs to consider when you shop for Meursault wine:
- Perrières: This subregion is considered by most critics to be the finest in Meursault. The Chardonnay made here is very intense, concentrated, and powerful. Wine from this terroir often has strong stone fruit flavors, yet it also has some minerality that sets it apart from wines made in other Meursault terroirs. Perrières wines benefit from a few years of storage–five years minimum.
- Clos des Perrières: This small terroir is located within the larger Perrières region, however, it is so high in quality that it deserves its own mention here. Clos des Perrières is a monopole of Albert Grivault, a producer that makes floral, racy wines. Chardonnay from this terroir is subtler in flavor than wines made in other parts of Perrières and is especially age-worthy.
- Charmes: Wines made here aren’t quite as age-worthy or high in quality as those made in Perrières, but you can still find a number of delicious, collectible wines from this subregion. The Chardonnay made here isn’t especially intense or powerful, but is more supple and soft, with buttery, nutty flavors.
- Genevrières: Wines from this subregion are the perfect representation of the classic Meursault wine style. They are heavily oaked, creamy, and very round. Wines made here are usually much nuttier in flavor than those made in other areas of Meursault.
- Les Gouttes d’Or: The limestone in the soil here prevents the vines from retaining too much water, resulting in perfectly ripened Chardonnay grapes. Because of this, wines made in this terroir are very rich and full-bodied. You’ll also find many approachable fruit-forward styles here.
- Le Porusot: Meursault from this area is more medium-bodied than that made in Les Gouttes d’Or, but is similarly fruit-driven. Le Porusot wines also have a hint of smoke and spice that lends them a layered flavor profile. Many of them age well and can become much more complex and silky after a few years in storage.
- Les Bouchères: Bottles from this region aren’t very valuable on the secondary market, but the terroir does produce delicious wines that are worth drinking young. Chardonnay made in Les Bouchères is usually full of butterscotch flavors and citrus notes. These wines tend to lack acidity, so choose bottles that were made during especially cool growing seasons if you’re looking for the highest quality vintages.
- Les Caillerets: This area is one of the few in Meursault that produces both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Both the white and red wines made here are usually austere, rich, and age-worthy.
- Les Cras: This terroir is also home to both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The rocky terrain allows for ample ripening and gives these wines a characteristic minerality. Like the wines of Les Caillerets, these are very rare and often have excellent aging potential.
The list above is by no means comprehensive, but all of these subregions are known for producing collectible, intriguing premier cru wines. Generally speaking, Perrières, Clos des Perrières, and Charmes make the most valuable wines, so if you’re looking to resell your bottles on the secondary market, invest in producers from these three terroirs. Or, if you’re looking to try more unusual styles of Meursault wine, consider seeking out rare Pinot Noir from Les Caillerets or Les Cras. There are exceptional wines made in all of the terroirs on this list, so it’s worth the time and effort to find and try wines from every major premier cru subregion to discover which ones you enjoy most.
The Best Meursault Wine Producers
One of my colleagues has been collecting wine for more than 40 years, and in this time, he’s noticed a significant increase in the quality of Meursault wine. Just a few decades ago, there were only a handful of producers making wines worthy of perfect scores. There were plenty of notable producers, like Domaine Bouchard Père et Fils, Domaine Antoine Jobard, and Domaine Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey, but there were also dozens of producers making relatively uninteresting wines. In the past, lower-quality Meursault wines were often over-oaked and so round that they lacked character. Now, producers around the region are moving away from flabby styles and heavy oak in favor of more subtle, complex flavors. There’s never been a better time to invest in white Burgundy, particularly Meursault, especially if you know which producers are currently making the most exciting wines on the market. Here are just a few of the best producers in the region today:
- Domaine Bouchard Père et Fils
- Domaine Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey
- Domaine Jean-François Coche-Dury
- Maison Louis Jadot
- Domaine Latour-Giraud
- Domaine Pierre Morey
- Domaine Arnaud Ente
- Domaine Jean Boillot (as well as Domaine Jean-Marc Boillot and Domaine Henri Boillot)
- Domaine des Comtes Lafon
- Domaine Jean-Philippe Fichet
- Domaine Rémi Jobard
- Domaine Antoine Jobard
- Domaine Guy Roulot
- Domaine Leflaive
- Maison Roche de Bellene
- Domaine Buisson-Charles
- Domaine Morey-Coffinet
- Maison Louis Latour
- Maison Leroy
- Domaine Bernard-Bonin
- Antoine Petitprez Uliz
The top producers in Meursault craft wines of exceptional quality almost every year. However, if you want to invest in Meursault that will age well for a decade or more, it’s a good idea to factor in vintage quality.
Which Meursault Wine Vintages Are Highest in Quality?
Because Meursault is primarily known for its rich Chardonnay, the best vintages are those in which the grapes were allowed to fully ripen without becoming overripe or flabby. In other words, look for vintages where the weather was warm, yet not too hot, with cooling winds and a bit of rain in the late summer. These cooler conditions boost the grapes’ acidity, making the wines taste more complex and improving their aging potential.
The vintage you choose depends on the type of wines you typically enjoy.
Here are the best Meursault vintages in recent history:
- 2014: The season started off drier and warmer than usual, but cool, damp summer conditions brought acidity levels back up in the grapes. This resulted in perfectly ripe fruit and rich, concentrated wines with excellent aging potential.
- 2005: The weather this year was consistently warm, but never too warm, resulting in ideal grape ripening. Wines from this year are even more concentrated than usual and have greater aging potential than most white Burgundy. These wines are expected to age for at least another ten years, if not more.
- 2002: The growing season was ideal, with plenty of sunshine and warmth balanced out by occasional summer rain. The wines from this vintage are very full-bodied, rich, and opulent, making them a perfect representation of classic Meursault.
The vintage you choose depends on the type of wines you typically enjoy. If you love a rich, intense style of Chardonnay, opt for the 2005 and 2002 vintages, as these were warmer than usual and resulted in more concentrated wines. If, on the other hand, you prefer a more subtle white Burgundy, seek out wines from 2014, as these were more acidic and balanced overall.
How to Collect Meursault Wine
The best method for reselling valuable Meursault is to keep it in storage for about five years–this is long enough to put some age on the wine but short enough so that it will still appeal to collectors looking to drink the wine young. Excellent vintages from top producers may be worth cellaring between five and ten years before resale. Keep in mind, however, that some collectors are still worried about premature oxidation in white Burgundy. While modern Meursault very rarely has this problem anymore, buyers may be cautious about purchasing white Burgundy that’s more than a few years old. If you’re concerned about this issue affecting resale, sell your Meursault when it’s five years old or younger.
That said, many of the best Meursault wines age for 15 years or more and have no premox issues, so there’s no need to sell or open your bottles right away if you enjoy aged white Burgundy. As long as you purchased your wine from a trustworthy seller and keep it stored in an environmentally controlled facility, your Meursault should be able to evolve slowly over the next decade or more, allowing you to enjoy mature Meursault in all of its rich and savory complexity.
Image source: ESTELLE RANDON [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons