We got adventurous today and rented motorcycles to take the scenic 90 mile trip south and slightly east from Chablis to Meursault, just a bit southwest of Dijon. We noticed a bit of warming as we moved south and this is reflected in the wines we taste today.
As is the case in all of Bourgogne (Burgundy), when we say white wine, we mean Chardonnay. And, frankly to a Burgundian, there is no Chardonnay outside of their beloved home that deserves the label.
Meursault is one of the most storied communes in all the white wine world. It's also is home to some of the most expensive wines in the world, some very much worth it if you have the money and others just making use of the Appellation d'origine controllee (AOC) to increase their prices.
Because we've given ourselves license to do so, as in blogland, we have unlimited wine budgets, today we are drinking only the finest that Meursault has to offer. What we are looking for are elevations between about 800 and 1,000 feet (roughly 250 to 300 meters). This is where the premiere crus are (interestingly, there are no grand cru chateaus in Meursault). There, the clay has largely given way to more gravelly topsoil, the natural drainage has improved and the typically southwest exposure gives the grapes the necessary sunlight to produce optimal Chardonnay.
What makes for great wines in Meursault is their ageworthiness. Drinking these wines before they've reached at least 10 years of maturity is anathema and many will last 20 years or more (if you want to hold onto your Chardonnay practically forever, wait until tomorrow).
All that said, drinking a fine Meursault young has still been described as a life-altering experience. In their youth, they are quite silky on the palate, a luxurious feel almost worthy of their prices. Particularly as they age, and completely unlike yesterday's Chablis, these wines have likely seen substantial levels of oak. They are balanced, rich, and buttery; perhaps opulent is the word to use.
What we typically find in Meursault wines is the rich layering.
On the nose, we get vanilla, coconut, dill, and butter. The sensation on the palate is round and creamy. We start with nutty notes of almonds and hazelnuts, followed by floral layers enveloped in honey, with the long butter cream finish.
We're drinking our Meursault today with two dishes and we can't tell which we like better. First is a prawn scampi, the butter and garlic bringing out the finest in our wines. The second is grilled whole lobster, the sumptuous claw meat drenched in warm drawn butter pairing perfectly. Oh, my cholesterol!