Domaine Buisson-Charles Meursault Vieilles Vignes 2014
Several years ago, Michel Buisson, the third-generation vigneron of Buisson-Charles, turned over the reins of this 6.3-hectare domaine to his daughter Catherine and son-in-law Patrick Essa. They, in turn, have now handed them to their son Louis, who vinified the 2019 vintage.
Under Patrick’s leadership, the house has reached new heights, producing wines that show beautiful balance; they are concentrated and rich, yet pure and expressive, featuring both the crystalline purity and opulence of Meursault. Vines are tended organically, and the wines see no chaptalization, acidification, or SO2 added during vinification. They are bottled without fining or filtration.
Louis has followed in his father’s footsteps, espousing the estate’s philosophy that many Meursault are harvested too early and, as a result, are too lean, highly sulfured, and one-dimensional. The picking dates and other growing milestones, such as pruning, are later than most peers to extend the overall vegetative cycle. Following these methods, Bouisson-Charles’ finished wines are richer in style than most while also possessing excellent acidity and tension. Buisson-Charles has holdings among the top vineyards in the Côte de Beaune, including parcels of Meursault vines more than a century old. Both Patrick and Louis believe the terroir, not the winemaking, should determine the taste of the wine, and these creations reflect the essence of their appellations.
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 it tends to flourish in most environments, Chardonnay from its Burgundian homeland produces some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. California produces both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines. Somm Secret—The Burgundian subregion of Chablis, while typically using older oak barrels, produces a bright style similar to the unoaked style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy Chablis.