Meo-Camuzet Clos de Vougeot 2008
Pinot Noir from Burgundy, France
Is this a wine which expresses the Cistercian rigour which gave birth to it? No, its image is rather that of a refined gentleman: the grapes mature early here, but still give wines of great finesse, with a lace-like texture, which lines the palate, with superb length.
The Wine Advocate - "Meo's 2008 Clos Vougeot smells of charred, roasted red meats; smoky-sweet machine oil; metal shavings; and blackberry preserves. A correspondingly dark; sweet; smoky; subtly caramelized and bitter palate impression takes on aspects of medicinal herbal concentrate and saline, savory soy as you aerate the wine in your mouth. This is plush to an extent that covers over its tannins until they emerge grippingly in a finish whose sappy, subtly oily, sweet intensity no one is likely to deem "elegant," but which is certainly impressive in its powerful way. Look for 12-15 years of high performance from bottles of this. "
Burghound.com - "This is aromatically quite pretty with a perfumed and floral nose of fresh and solidly nuanced crushed wild red berries that slide gracefully into precise and tension-filled middle weight flavors that offer a discreet sense of minerality on the firm and ever-so-slightly edgy finish that should round out in time as there is good underlying sap. "
International Wine Cellar - "Medium red. Sweet cherry, spices, chocolate and earth on the rather tight nose and palate. Distinctly less open and more tannic than the Nuits Boudots, with strong peppery acidity currently keeping the fruit under wraps. This will need several years of aging. Assistant enologist Coralie Allexant agrees that the 2008s need time, but believes they will probably be best for mid-term aging.
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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. The vineyard land in Burgundy is highly parceled out among families, which makes it rare for anyone to have enough vines to be able to bottle one grand cru, let alone the four that the Méos have. The early beginnings of the domaine left it in the hands of métayeurs, or share-croppers. The last twenty years have brought substantial changes that have fostered a new chapter for the Méo family.
Founder Étienne Camuzet was not only a passionate vigneron, but a full-time politician, and spent most of his time in Paris, representing the Côte d’Or. In order to keep his land in use, he offered it to capable share-croppers to farm. By the time his daughter had inherited the estate, she found herself with no successors, so the estate was passed down to her closest relative, Jean Méo. Jean was also deeply involved in national politics—he served as a member of Charles DeGaulle’s cabinet. Consequently, he, too, had to direct the domaine from afar. In the early 1980s, as many of the métayeurs were starting to retire, it became clear that the domaine needed a new direction. Jean’s son, Jean-Nicolas had also spent most of his life in Paris. By 1985, it was his turn to take the helm. In lieu of continuing to rent out their highly-pedigreed vineyards, he made the bold decision to slowly start reclaiming the land for the domaine’s own bottlings. He called upon the resident expert, one of Burgundy’s greatest winemakers of all time, Henri Jayer, for guidance. Henri had spent over forty years farming parcels from Méo-Camuzet under his own label, while enjoying celebrity status in the Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant portfolio. For three years, he mentored Jean-Nicolas during the transition and finally decided to retire in 1988. Though Jayer passed away in 2006, his legacy endures to this day. View all Meo-Camuzet Wines
Burgundy is a small region, only about a fourth the size of Bordeaux. The narrow thread of vineyard land stretches from the city of Dijon to Lyon. The five main districts of Burgundy are – from North to South - Chablis, Côte d'Or, Côte Chalonnaise, Maconnais, and Beaujolais. Chablis is far removed geographically (above Dijon) and adheres to its own classifications. Beaujolais is its own region due to grape variety, vinification methods and regulations. Leaving us with the Côte d'Or, Côte Chalonnaise and Maconnais as the heart of Burgundy.
Grapes of the region are easy to remember - Pinot Noir for reds, Chardonnay for whites. Burgundy can be called home for both varietals, despite their increasing presence in every winemaking country. In this area red wines out number whites, although the quality for both is unparalleled.
A bit of History...Once owned and run by the church and nobility, the vineyards of Burgundy were seized during French Revolution and sold off piece by piece. Further separation occurred with Napoleonic Law, which ordered that inherited land be divided among children equally. These two factors put Burgundy where it is today – a myriad of vineyards and villages, each with a number of growers and producers.
NégociantsBurgundy is organized by plots of land and labeled as such. About half of Burgundy works on a négociant system. Growers of small plots sell grapes, or more often, barrels of already made wine, to négociant houses who then blend it with other wines from that region and put it under their label. While the négociant system may sound like a way to produce mass amounts of anonymous wines, that is, luckily, not the case. Wines are labeled with a sense of place, so you know what land you are getting. There are some négociant houses that are much more renowned and consistent than others, and for the most part, the system works. But times are changing. Some growers are purchasing more land and making the wine on their property, under their label, for more consistency. On the other side, négociant houses are buying up their own vineyards so they will have more control over winemaking.
Classification SystemThe classification system is similar to a pyramid. At the base of the pyramid is the most basic of the classifications, the Burgundy AC, meaning grapes can come from anywhere in the Burgundy region. Next up is a village wine, such as Côte de Beaune or Côte de Nuits, or the villages within these regions, like Givery-Chambertin or Puligny-Montrachet. The label will say Appellation Puligny-Montrachet Controlée. At the next level is the premier cru. A wine that says Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru will still be Appellation Puligny-Montrachet [premier cru] Controllée, but may include the premier cru vineyard name, such as Les Pucelles. At the tip of the pyramid are the grand cru vineyards. There are only 30 in the Côte d'Or and the name of the vineyard is the appellation name.
About France - Other regionsWhen it comes to wine, France is a classic. Classic blends, grapes and styles began in the country and they still remain. Think about it - people ask for a Burgundian style Pinot Noir, they refer to wines as Bordeaux or Rhone blends - Champagne even had to pass a law to stop international wineries from putting their region on the label of all sparkling wine.
The top regions of France are: Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Languedoc-Roussillon, Loire, Rhone. And these regions are so diverse! It makes sense that wine regions throughout the world try to emulate their style. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah are no longer French varieties, but international varieties. They may not be the leader of cutting edge technology or value-priced wines, but there is no doubt that they are still producing wines of great quality and diversity.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.
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