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Domaine Bitouzet Prieur Mersault Premier Cru Les Perrieres 2013
Vincent Bitouzet's ancestral roots in Burgundy cover at least the last two centuries. His great-great grandfather, M. Gillotte, arrived in Auxey Duresses in 1802 and was mayor of that village. In 1804, the Bitouzet line settled in Volnay. The Bitouzets were one of the first of the family domaines in this region to bottle their wines. Vincent's grandfather had already garnered medals for his winemaking talents in 1860. Vincent's wife, Annie Prieur, has equally distinguished antecedents. Her family (both Prieurs and Perronnets) was long established in Meursault and Ladoix. The resulting "merger" of the Bitouzet and Prieur family holdings has created a domaine of distinction and breadth. Francois Bitouzet, the only son of Vincent and Annie, is now working hand-in-hand with his parents as he maintains the deep Burgundian roots of his ancestors.
Known to offer a magical balance of smoothness and freshness, Meursault's quality is hard to rival. The village lies in the middle of Côte de Beaune, just south of Volnay. Meursault is said to mean “mouse’s jump” because in the past the plots producing Pinot noir and those producing Chardonnay were no more than a mouse’s jump from one another. Today the village is almost exclusively Chardonnay. A tiny bit of Pinot noir is produced here with the best coming from Les Santenots on its northern side near Volnay.
While there are no Grands Crus, Meursault’s numerous acclaimed Premiers Crus can compete with any other top-notch white Burgundy. Some to know are Les Perrières, Les Genevrières, Les Charmes, Le Poruzot, Les Bouchères and Les Gouttes d’Or.
Meursault produces outstanding village level wines as well. In general great Premiers Crus and even village level Meursault (Chardonnay) have enticing aromas of lime peel, tropical fruit, crushed rocks, spice and hazelnut. On the palate there is a wonderful balance of brightness and a seductive length with flavors of white peach, pineapple and citrus.
One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it is grown and how it is made. While practically every country in the wine producing world grows it, Chardonnay from its Burgundian homeland produces some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. As far as cellar potential, white Burgundy rivals the world’s other age-worthy whites like Riesling or botrytized Semillon. California is Chardonnay’s second most important home, where both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines enjoy great popularity. Oregon, Australia and South America are also significant producers of Chardonnay.
In the Glass
When planted on cool sites, Chardonnay flavors tend towards grapefruit, lemon zest, green apple, celery leaf and wet flint, while warmer locations coax out richer, more tropical flavors of melon, peach and pineapple. Oak can add notes of vanilla, coconut and spice, while malolactic fermentation imparts a soft and creamy texture.
Chardonnay is as versatile at the table as it is in the vineyard. The crisp, clean, Chablis-like styles go well with flaky white fish with herbs, scallops, turkey breast and soft cheeses. Richer Chardonnays marry well with lobster, crab, salmon, roasted chicken and creamy sauces.
Since the 1990s, big, oaky, buttery Chardonnays from California have enjoyed explosive popularity. More recently, the pendulum has begun to swing in the opposite direction, towards a clean, crisp style that rarely utilizes new oak. In Burgundy, the subregion of Chablis, while typically employing the use of older oak barrels, produces a similar bright and acid-driven style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy its lighter style.