These were shorter visits (only about 2.5 hours each), so I’ll combine them in one post. Topline - both Grivault and Lamy-Pillot made wonderful wines in 2008 and the 2009 barrel samples we tried are very promising indeed. And, the Grivault 2007s (which should arrive in another few weeks) are simply fantastic.
Domaine Albert Grivault
The estate of Albert Grivault is fairly small - only about 13HA total - but includes the 1HA 1er Cru Clos Des Perrieres, as close to Grand Cru as Meursault gets. All of the 2009 whites had already finished malolactic fermentation but between recent additions of sulfur and/or some slight reduction were very hard to judge. We tasted the 2008 and 2007 Bourgogne Blanc back to back. Both of these wines are grown just behind owner Michel Bardet’s home on a vineyard that is 1/3 village Meursault and 2/3 Bourgogne - a division that’s a legacy of an old property sale. The 2007 is one of the very best Bourgogne Blanc level wines I’ve tasted. It’s a dead ringer for a very good village Meursault, loaded with nuts, butter, white fruits, stones, and character. The 2008 is better yet, with the riper fruit tending more yellow in character and a long, complex, juicy finish. It’s hard to fathom why this wine doesn’t cost more.
Next, 2008 and 2007 Meursault. The 2007 is also outstanding, layered, complex, and very fresh. The 2008 is richer and has more fat, but is also tighter and a little less accessible today. I love the mint and yellow orchard fruit both wines show along with their butter, nut, and mineral character.
2008 and 2007 Meursault 1er Cru Perrieres. Last year, I wasn’t impressed with the 2007, so we didn’t order any for the store. Now, I think this may have been a mistake. The wine has 2007’s characteristic focused acidity and mineral tone, but also has more richness and fruit than I detected last year. The 2008 is, again, a clear step up, a classic marriage of richness and mineral drive and cut.
Then, 2006, 2007 and 2008 1er Cru Clos Des Perrieres. A Grand Cru-quality site should show its class in every vintage, and that’s what happens here. In the ripe 2006 vintage, a wine that has started to lose its baby fat and is now unctuous in texture but tight, tight, tight on flavor. Wait at least 5 more years. In 2007, focused minerality over rich fresh butter, nuts, mint, and orchard fruits with a delicious salty caramel note on the finish. In 2008, clearly a great wine from first sniff. Pear, honey, butter, grilled nuts, and tropical fruit, opulent round texture, and then a laser beam of acid and mineral at the end. A monumental wine.
Finally, the 2000 Clos Des Perrieres. If you own this wine and don’t love it, please call me - I’ll buy all you have. Not really a great vintage for Meursault, but a great wine. On release, many complained that this wine was too acidic and tart. With time, it’s now rich and complex, with the bright acidity perfectly balancing the ripe, deep, fruit. No hurry - this will last another 10 years.
I have the sketchiest notes of any estate visit for Lamy-Pillot. It was our last stop of the Burgundy portion of our trip, and I’ll confess to being distracted by the thought of getting to Lyon to meet Meg’s train from Paris. We had a lovely two hour visit with brothers-in-law Daniel Cadot-Lamy and winemaker Sebastien Caillat. Sebastien’s winemaking gets more focused and pure with each passing vintage. In every vintage, he uses oak very judiciously, limiting new oak to 30% or so max and working hard to avoid any detectable oak flavor. In the super-ripe 2009 vintage, Sebastien eschewed new wood entirely - none of Lamy-Pillot’s whites saw any new wood in 2009.
Our tasting focused on the recently bottled 2008s. I was terrifically impressed with the whites from Chassagne-Montrachet. The village wine from the lieu dit Pot Bois is always exciting, and this year is no exception. An exotic nose of ripe citrus, quince, honey, lavender and anise leads to a round and complex palate lifted by a beam of citrusy acidity. Very close to 1er Cru quality. The 1er Cru Grande Montagne is a wine we’ll buy this year. Wild and luscious aromatics, great concentration, and fine acidity and minerality.
And then there is the 1er Cru Cailleret. This vineyard sits in the middle of the Chassagne slope, right where you’d expect to find a Grand Cru. Tasted blind, you’d be hard pressed to call this anything other than Grand Cru in its intensity and richness, and the spearmint and fresh green herb on the finish make me think this will develop very well indeed in bottle.