Tasted in Ozenay with Jean-Luc Lavaille, 22nd April 2015.
Château de Messey
Tel: +33 3 85 51 33 83
This producer is part of a group owned by the same family which also includes Domaine Belleville in Rully (with 28 hectares) and the négoce operation Manoir Meursaultiens. Overall they sell 30 different appellations including Côte de Beaune and Côte de Nuits.
This, as already noted, is a family domaine, run for the last 4 years by Jean-Luc Lavialle and it was started by his father. Most of the vines are in Cruzilles, “There have been vines here since the monks of Cluny,” notes Jean-Luc – “also the wines are made here” – but what is here? Well the ‘château’ is a beautiful old house set in a 100 hectare block of mainly farmland. The house is used as an office and chambres d’hote – you can even rent the whole château! There’s also a fine vigneron’s house here “Because there were over 50 hectares planted here before the 2nd world war – now it’s between 6 and 8 hectares.”
The cellar is from the 12th century and predates the old house above. Here are the barrels and foudres (about 2000 litres). The cellar is essentially a number of interconnecting spaces. Jean-Luc notes that “Normally we do about 4 pressings per day during the harvest; there is just a little gamay here, but otherwise it’s all chardonnay. The first and second presses are matured separately, some years the 3rd pressing is also retained, but that’s rare. We make a classical elevage; so elevage on lees which is less typical for Mâcon, and both fermentations are in oak, with about 25% being new – we use Damy barrels from Meursault – but for micro-oxigenation, not flavour. Bottling is in July, so it’s about 9-10 months in barrel, depending on the vintage. We’ve had some very poor vintages in terms of volume, but I’m happy with what we got in 2014.
“Isabelle Laurent is our oenelogue, she came to do a stage, and never left!
“Commerce is not so easy for us in the context of Mâcon wine, because we don’t make our wine the same way as those volume-focused producers, we can’t make wine for 5 Euros, we make wine classically from good terroirs – all manually harvested and never really approaching the yield limits – just as if it was a Meursault. But once people taste our wines life gets easier…”
There is some export here; Japan is quite important, some airline contracts too. Wines are also available from the domaine.
Simply excellent wines. I haven’t seen a tariff but the quality in the bottle is there. I asked Jean-Luc about the style of his 2013s: “The 2013 style, is gourmand, a lovely expression of aromas and very generous.”
i.e. from the village of Chardonnay, not the varietal.
Fresh, a little round, very inviting aromas. Quite large, and certainly concentrated, but with a nice definition and freshness – good weight in the finish to – long. Impressive wine.
This clos is about 6 hectares.
Very modest oak and a very pretty roundness – an almost floral aromatic. A little oak flavour but it’s drowned out by a fine intensity of concentrated, direct, citrus flavour with fine acidity. Very silky too – this is excellent!
This is essentially a barrel selection but not one that’s made every year; it’s been produced in 2008,2009,2012 and 2013. A somellier bottle for this one. 75% sold in Paris…
Bright, fresh, detailed, if modest aromatic. Direct, intense, with faint accents of barrel but a waterfall of flavour over the palate – this excellent! A little agrume fruit flavour that lasts impressively in the finish. “Much nicer after 2-3 years because it gains a more interesting balance” Says Jean-Luc.
A little deeper lemon colour. Just a suggestion of gunflint, with a fresher background that hints to flowers. Bigger in the mouth, a more intense ripeness to the lemon fruit, again, very silky. Holds really well in the finish – super length. Excellent.