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February’s 29 days of Chardonnay

a collaborative project


Meursault, It’s Chardonnay…kind of

Authored by Michael Caputo

I love French wines but I find that I do not write much about them since my site focuses on obscurities and lesser known areas. I am delighted to write this piece about Meursault and the corresponding wines from Domaine Buisson-Charles.

If you do not already know, Meursault is a commune in Burgundy located in the southern part of the Côte d’Or and more specifically in the rough center of the Côte de Beaune. Meursault is bordered by the commune of Puligny-Montrachet in the south and the communes of Auxey-Duresses, Monthelie, and Volnay in the north.

Unlike Puligny-Montrachet which contains 4 Grand Cru vineyards, Meursault contains no Grand Cru vineyards. There are, however, 19 Premier Cru vineyards that produce outstanding wines. The vineyard Les Perrières is noted as one of the most famous of the Premier Cru’s in the commune and arguably could be considered a Grand Cru if there were a reclassification.

Meursault is flat at its base and ramps up to a higher elevation. The lower portions of Meursault are less suitable for grape growing and the best vineyards are located higher up on the hill. The soil is mainly marlstone with outcroppings of limestone. Within the commune, the water table is lower relative to its neighboring communes. This allows for cellars to be dug deeper into the ground and for temperature of wines during secondary fermentation and aging to be more stable. All in all this leads to increased depth, structure, and aging potential.

The majority of the wine produced in Meursault is based from Chardonnay, but red wines based from Pinot Noir are also being produced in smaller amounts (namely in the appellations around Blagny). Under current AOC laws, white wines in Meursault are allowed to be produced from both Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc. Although, most white wines are produced from 100 percent Chardonnay. Red wine production also allows for up to 15 percent of the blend being Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc.

Domaine Buisson-Charles is a small producer located in the commune of Meursault. They produce around 3,000 cases of wine each year with roughly 75 percent of the production being white wine. The Domaine owns multiple parcels in Meursault (including 4 Premier Cru vineyards), as well as parcels in Pommard and Volnay. The vines average an age of around 65 years old with the oldest vines being over 100 years old. The Domaine is being ran by the fourth generation Buisson family members.

Domaine Buisson-Charles

I was introduced to the wines from Domaine Buisson-Charles by Scott Paul Selections, in Carlton, OR. Scott Paul imports 6 different Chardonnays from them and I fell in love with the 2008 vintage. Of course, when I saw that there was a tasting of 5 Chardonnays from the 2009 vintage, I did not hesitate to invite my parents to join me in this tasting. All of the wines tasted are produced by Domaine Buisson-Charles, are from the 2009 vintage, and are from Meursault. In addition, all wines were tasted at room temperature out of Riedel White Burgundy stemware. The wines were as follows:

Vielles Vignes ($59): On the nose there is flint, citrus, and green apple. The body has notes of custard and caramel. There is a nice acidity. The finish is long with a bright acidity and a hint of lemon peel.

Les Tessons ($72): The nose has notes of butterscotch, dried apricot, and pineapple. The body is full, rich and has a beautiful acidity. The finish is long with notes of grapefruit.

Bouches Chères 1er Cru ($88): On the nose there are many mineral notes, mostly of river rocks and limestone. The body is full with a nice acidity and vibrant notes of citrus. The finish is long with notes of lime zest.

Les Charmes 1er Cru ($88): The nose is reduced with notes of matchstick. As it opens up a little there are notes of toasty oak. The body is full of green apple and there is a medium mouthfeel. The finish is medium to long with a nice acidity.

Goutte d’Or 1er Cru ($88): The nose has notes of Bartlett pear and minerals. The wine has a full body with a fluid and elegant acidity. The finish is very long and the acidity is crisp and mouthwatering.

After tasting through the flight of Chardonnay from Domaine Buisson-Charles I was not quite as impressed with the 2009 vintage as I was with the 2008 vintage but I still enjoyed the wines. All of the wines exhibited beautiful acidity and lushness on the body. I would suggest that anyone who is in the Carlton area to check out Scott Paul’s tasting room for some delightful imports from Burgundy.

Bio: Michael is the founder and the manager of The Weekly Crush.  He graduated from Oregon State University with a degree in chemistry and a minor in fermentation science. He has spent the last 4+ years working in the wine industry and has been involved in every part of the production from the vine to the bottle. He is currently employed at WillaKenzie Estate in Yamhill, Oregon.  His job in both the vineyard and the cellar keep him busy and involved in the day to day happenings of a winemaker.  He is very passionate about wine and he loves what he does.  He believes that it is important to always try new wines and to never focus too much on a specific region or varietal.

[Editors note: Too bad this post is included in a project focusing only on Chardonnay]