Vincent Girardin Meursault Les Narvaux 2017
A wine from a village level but with a premier cru complexity. Considered a premier cru among the professionals.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Slightly more expensive than the Les Vieilles Vignes, the 2017 Meursault Les Narvaux comes from vines just above the Premier Cru lieu-dit of Les Genevrières. Brought up in 15% new French oak, it has a rocking bouquet of caramelized green apples, crushed citrus, toasted nuts, and flinty minerality. These give way to a medium-bodied Meursault that has racy acidity, beautiful balance, and building richness that comes through on the finish. It’s going to put on weight with another year in bottle and keep for over a decade. It’s a brilliant effort that I’d be thrilled to have in the cellar.
The 2017 Meursault Les Narvaux has also fulfilled the promise it showed from barrel, wafting from the glass with scents of citrus oil, Anjou pear, hazelnuts and stuck flint. On the palate, the wine is medium to full-bodied, deep and satiny, both more textural and more introverted than the Tillets—and note that it was among the last wines in the cellar to be bottled—with racy acids and a long, saline finish.Rating:92+
This wine contrasts the richness of hazelnut butter and smoke from oak aging with high-toned, lemony acidity. That acidity is a little intense at first, calming with air as it draws out the mineral essence of the wine’s crunchy citrus flavors. There’s complexity here to develop over the next several years in bottle.
The history of Maison Vincent Girardin is relatively recent. In 1980, at the age of 19, Vincent Girardin, the son of a family of winegrowers based in Santenay since the 17th century, decided to strike out on his own and began producing wine from five acres of vines that he had inherited from his parents. From his earliest youth, Vincent had a passion for working with vines and great respect for the potential that they represent, and his ambition was to produce his own wine. The quality of his wines was quickly recognized by connoisseurs all over the world, and this enabled him to expand his activity, focusing primarily on the great white and red wines of the Côte de Beaune. To cope with the growing demand for his wines, he developed an approach that was new in Burgundy: he purchased grapes from producers who shared the same philosophy and the same high standards. In 2012, Vincent Girardin sold his operation to a long-standing partner of the Maison. Jean-Pierre Nié, President of the Compagnie des Vins d’Autrefois in Beaune, naturally decided to continue with the small team of nine people that had been faithful to the Maison for many years. Today, Eric Germain continues to uphold the style of the wines, and Marco Caschera markets them all over the world.
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.