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Jean-Phillippe Fichet, Meursault 2019
This is a superb example of village Meursault from six well placed lieux-dits (including les Clous and Narvaux) and old vines averaging 50 years old. It offers good weight on the attack, buttery, apricot fruit, with a balancing mineral character and silky finish.
Do not destalk. Pneumatic pressing with stems for 3 hours and then juice settles for 12 hours to eliminate big lees. Fermentation between 15 degrees C and 18 degreesC in 0-8 year 228L barrels and 600L demi-muids using natural yeast and for 4 months. Chaptalises by 0.5% if needed (according to vintages). Full malolactic fermentation. elevage in 228L barrels and 600L demi-muids (0 to 8 years old) for 12 months with one racking and some lees stirring (batonnage) every 15 days for 4 months. After those 12 months the wine spends 6 months in tank before bottling. One domaine bottling in March with fining (bentonite) and no filtration. Production is 15000 bottles.
Jean-Philippe Fichet is one of a new generation of winemakers capitalizing on the diverse soils of Meursault to make some of Burgundys most exciting white wines. Perhaps more than any of his peers, Fichet is testing the limits of transparency, to find the very soul of Meursaults terroirs. It was Meursaults destiny to have its soils revealed in this way: their intense stoniness is magnified by an exceptionally low water table, forcing the vines roots deep underground. Fichets work is a direct outgrowth of a breakthrough that happened three decades ago. Fichet has studied every square inch of earth and stone in his domaine, to make Meursaults purest set of single-climat wines. Even if uneconomical, Fichet would rather produce a very small amount of wine from his best sites than to lose their unique character in a blend. In 1998, his Meursault-Tesson vines yielded little more than four barrels; anyone else would have blended so little wine into their village cuvee. But the Tesson was so magical that Fichet bottled it separately, exclusively in magnum. He began as a grower in 1981 but was forced to rebuild his domaine from scratch in the 1990s, having lost all his best fruit sources including a piece of Meursault-Perrieres for lack of long-term contracts. But he learned from this experience. By 2000, he had used carefully negotiated long-term fermageand matayage agreements to create an extraordinary new domaine, brimming with exceptional sites. Fichetas methods reflect his philosophy: he is famously meticulous and abhors taking short cuts. His low yields, the foremost key to quality, are achieved through severe winter pruning rather than by green harvesting. And he believes his wines expressiveness is enhanced through a patient 18-month elevage, with little new oak and by avoiding aggressive lees stirring. The wines that Jean-Philippe Fichet is making today have few rivals for their class in Burgundy, and they could be unmatched in their transparency and expressiveness. As good as Fichet s wines have been up to now, the best lies ahead. His winemaking gets better each year, and so do his holdings, with a coveted piece of the iconic Meursault-Genevrieres premier cruacquired in time for the 2006 vintage. Jean-Philippe Fichet is one of Burgundys greatest talents and his wines are every bit as extraordinary as he is.
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