Jean-Michel Gaunoux Premier Cru Les Perrieres Meursault 2007
Henri’s grandson, Jean-Michel, went to work side by side with François in 1978. In 1990, Jean-Michel split with his father and started his own domaine with vineyard parcels from his mother’s family. In 1991, he put in a new, very deep and cold cellar and aging room. The domaine farms nearly six hectares, or 14.5 acres, in the villages of Meursault, Pommard, Puligny-Montrachet, and Volnay.
Production is just about evenly split between Pinot and Chardonnay, and Jean-Michel is equal to either variety. The distinguishing characteristic of his wines is—and I hope you appreciate this term—their regal nature. These are self-assured wines, without need of flash or pizzazz (you won’t find big extractions, high toast oak, or the like here). They know themselves and are solidly built, pure, long, very mineral, and age-worthy.
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.