Domaine Michel Lafarge, Vendanges Selectionee, AOC/AOP Meursault, Cote de Beaune, Burgundy, France, 1998 (the 1999 was oxidised, tasting like a fino, with bruised apple and nice almond notes).
This wine: An ostensibly entry-level Meursault wine, varietal chardonnay, 13% abv, natural cork closure, Gauntleys bin end £26 (2015).
A note on Burgundy labelling:
- Village wines, named with the village, possibly named with a vineyard that is neither GC nor PC, known as lieux-dits. For example Meursault, then Appellation Meursault Controlee, with, in smaller print Les Narvaux below.
- Premier cru wines, labeled with the village then the premier cru site. For example Meursault 1er Cru, then the site in smaller print Les Charmes, then Appellation Meursault 1er Cru Controlee.
- Grand cru wines – there are none in Meursault, so let’s go to Gevrey-Chambertin. The village need not be named, just the vineyard, for example Clos de Beze, BUT a prefix as Chambertin Clos de Beze is also permitted; Grand cru may be mentioned on the label, along with Appellation Clos de Beze Controlee, or simply Appellation Controlee – the idea is that the cognoscenti should know that Clos de Beze is a grand cru site, in the village of Gevrey-Chambertin, in the Cote de Nuits. Note that Gevrey-Chambertin grand cru sites can also be suffixed with Chambertin, for example Charmes-Chambertin or Mazoyères-Chambertin.
WSET style tasting note
Appearance: clear and bright, deep intensity gold, showing tears.
Nose: clean on the nose, pronounced intensity, fully developed, with aromas, as they come, of dried apricot, thick honey, dried peach, over-ripe quince, dark marmalade, damp hay, anise, cinnamon and a hint of vanilla, baked orange, baked caramelised apple, warm butter and toast, dried pineapple, sweet roast hazelnuts.
Palate: a dry wine, with medium (+) acidity, medium (+) alcohol, medium body, pronounced intensity, a smooth texture with a light grip, with flavours of dried apple slices, honey, breakfast tea, warm hay, overripe quince and dried citrus. A long length with a clean honeyed dried fruit lightly grippy finish, with a slight bitterness on the end.
Quality: an outstanding quality wine, with balanced acidity with alcohol, harmonious with the rich intensity of well-developed flavours. A rich intense palette of secondary spicy toasty notes from oak ageing, following into tertiary notes of dried fruit and nuts from long bottle ageing – so a high level of complexity which is echoed on the long length. The slight bitterness on the end detracts a little.
Readiness for drinking/potential for ageing: can drink now, not suitable for further ageing. This wine is fully developed, and may keep for a year or so, but will not improve.