Melon de Bourgogne is an assuredly old Burgundian grape – though you would be forgiven for only ever having come across it in your glass when labelled as Muscadet – or Muscadet sur Lie.
Le Melon, as the (rare!) aficionados call it, has all but vanished from Burgundy – only about 2 hectares remain in production – 60% with one producer (in two plots) just outside of Beaune and the rest in the Yonne, near Tannay. Not yet in production, Armand Heitz (of Chassagne) has also just planted a plot!
This is a late-ripening variety with recorded local roots in the 13th century. Philip II of Spain, who was also Duke of Burgundy, banned its plantation in 1367 – not disloyal just not good! – but even back then, the locals didn’t like being told what to do! There were still around 40 hectares recorded in the Côte d’Or in 1960 but 30 years later there was just 1 hectare left!
Partly responsible for this decline is that Le Melon is not one of the ‘allowed‘ grapes of Burgundy – as you may note from the label, above, this wine is an IGP Saint Marie la Blanche – the words ‘Burgundy’ or Bourgogne’ are not allowed anywhere near the label!
Anyway, 3 notes for you here and an ‘allowed’ grape or not, I’ll add a section on Le Melon here later in the growing season – when I’ve images of something worth photographing 😉
Plenty of colour. A narrow nose but deep and suggesting a faint oxidative salinity. Wide, vibrant, yes a slightly oxidative style – almost apple flavour – a grain to the texture almost a grainy complexity. I find the finish rather spicy – it’s supposed to be the same as muscadet but not here – nop!
A little extra green tinge to the colour. Also a deep nose but here it’s due to a faint reduction. Fuller, a faint impression of oak – extra freshness – nicer fruit here. There’s only 2% barrel elevage the rest is in tank – this rather creamy but I assume I’m tasting something other than those barrels.
In bottle 1 month.
This the most higher-toned and floral nose – it’s very attractive and certainly the freshest. In the mouth too – vibrant, fresh, more saline and intense – lovely acidity here. Whilst I loved the creaminess of the last, the nose was slightly sullen – this is a great around wine though!
If you are interested in something a little different, just 7km form the centre of Beaune, you can buy this wine (and their other Bourgognes (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Aligoité, Crémant)) at their domaine shop, here