I tasted in Meursault with Jean-Philippe, the 09 October, 2018.
Domaine Jean-Philippe Fichet
2 Rue de la Gare
Tel: +33 3 80 21 69 34
Jean-Philippe on 2018:
“Of course after a vintage like 2018 I’m very happy. It started with some difficulties of-course – but what vintage doesn’t have some challenges? But in the end the triage wasn’t really a triage – let’s call it a finesse. All was good. There was wine from all the vines this year – even the old ones – it was really quite something. We started harvesting on the 30 August.”
Jean-Philippe on 2017:
“Well, if you weren’t happy you should probably change your job! I think that it should be very good quality and the yields were correct, – maybe 15% less yield than average – as a couple of spots were touched by frost; we can work as well as possible but nature has to be in tandem, it will never be as easy when nature is perturbed by frost or hail. I started harvesting on the 1st September.
As a writer I should always display a certain detachment, an inscrutable balance, yet a visit to Jean-Philippe Fichet remains a highlight for me, each and every year – and each year I am equally rewarded. Humble in the face of nature, passionate about his work and always over-delivering in terms of his wines.
Vines in the commune of Meursault – from the north and south of the village. Elevage in a mix of 500 and 600 litre barrels – here the soils have the most clay of the domaine – ‘I’m looking for something easy to appreciate – a tasty wine.’
Hmm, aromatically there is pretty fruit of clarity, faintly touched by florals. Round, resplendently flavoured – the sweets of my youth – delicious and full-flavoured – of perfect balance – great Bourgogne.
From Pellans and Millerandes. All in 500 and 600 l barrels.
Also a beautifully perfumed nose, inviting, here with a little narrower stance. More direct, flashes of pure flavour. A certain middle concentration that is worthy of villages aoc. Long, lingering, delicious finishing. The first is the more charming today, but here there is more ‘core’ – Bravo…
2017 Hautes Côtes de Beaune
Usually 65% domaine grapes, in Auxey and Nantoux (bought) a big restaurant clientelle for this in north-west France to go with their fruit de mer dishes…
A width of freshness. More direct again, more acidity but also tension – there’s no lack of balance – unsurprisingly more mouth-watering. Gushingly mouth-watering finishing flavour – long, too. More summer wine than the last – but again, absolutely delicious.
From bought grapes – started with this in 2014, from a good grower who accepted to sell some – ‘I much prefer to buy some villages from someone good, as to buy from someone less good who has 1er crus.’
A hint of reduction, some yellow fruit that’s less directly ripe. Lots of volume, a little reduced here, lots of freshness to match the volume – super mouth-watering again. Bright and wide – the latter half impressively finishing – easily the most attractive part of this wine. Super!
Vines with a lovely position with their back to the north – it’s hot in the afternoons. The grapes are always golden here. White clay soil. An aperitif wine for Jean-Philippe, made from young 10-year-old vines; ‘They need more time, maybe another 5-10 years.
Always an extra floral lift to the perfume with this wine. A little extra richness but a line of acidity forms the spine of this wine. Tenacious flavour, melting, comforting, but slowly fading. Not a grand wine, but a great wine all the same – a wine of pleasure…
From Les Nampoillons from the side of Auxey towards St.Romain. Here the soil is more limestone and schist. The last vines to be harvested, tasted directly after one of the first to be harvested. Plus Les Closeau – assembled…
A nice depth and texture to this nose, almost but not quite suggesting Meursault. Width but again with a bead of acidity in the middle – mouth-watering, a little tension here, a vibration – excellent again…
Bought as must, an assembly of 6 parcels, from ‘a great domain that bottles not so much – they are more vignerons than winemakers.’ Working with them since 2014. Just one new barrel from 6.
Ooh – there’s directly a class to this nose, depth and freshness too. Fresh, but there is material here, complexity, depth – ooh great villages – indeed better than villages – still a touch of oak in the middle and finish that needs to fade. This will be a great villages.
From Les Clous, Chaumes de Narvaux, Limozin and others – 2-thirds hillside, one-third from the plain.
Here is a little mineral vibration in the width of aroma. Actually quite racy after the Chassagne – direct but melting, a modest agrume-style reduction – lithe and fresh – not fat. Beautifully defined and Meursault-flavoured in the finish with its ginger spice. Textbook modern, architectural Meursault…
Jean-Philippe: “I’ve really tried to make Meursault in this style since 1996, precision and less oak was my starting point.”
2017 Meursault Meix sous Château
From a Clos in the middle of Meursault village. Limestone on high, clay below, ‘the most buttery of the domaine.’
More weight of aroma – yes there’s more clay in the soil here – clearly Meursault in style. Hmm, vibrant, more overtly mineral – richer but fresh and layered, extra mid-palate and finishing intensity – density even. There’s a great core to this wine – more to contemplate than the previous but so drinkable…
2017 Meursault Gruyache
Now 90-year-old vines, that sit under Les Charmes.
A more discrete nose but with some attractive depth of aroma. Fuller, extra freshness, more silk to the texture, freshness and precision – ingraining, fine texture – lingering beautifully – almost great!
Plenty of depth, a nose less in place, certainly more discrete vs the others today. Rounder, more weight, extra minerality countered by extra richness. Layers, always mobile flavour – it keeps changing and moving. A fabulous wave of finishing flavour – 1er cru quality… Bravo.
Ooh – a top quality nose – mineral reduction, clarity – bravo! Directly more freshness, good volume, sherbet, melting flavour – effervescent after the contemplation of the last wine – chalk and cheese – but both are equally great Meursault.
2017 Puligny-Montrachet 1er Les Referts
‘Always hard to drink after the Meursaults…’
Round, complex – fine, tiny complexities – you have to search more than with the Tessons, but you will certainly find them. Hmm, beautiful texture, mineral but fresh, here is a wine that oozes class and absolutely delicious flavour – an extra sucrosity. This wine certainly has that certain extra smile…
“I don’t look for either colour or extraction – cuvaisons of 12-14 days – I work for the aromas and flavours, not the colours.”
2016 Bourgogne Rouge
Vines in Meursault towards Volnay.
Hmm, fine fresh depth of dark-red cherry fruit, of freshness and a touch of mineral – graphite-coal. Round but fresh and with drive, some growing depth of flavour but essentially a wine of delicious, fresh line with no aggressive traits – just delicious ones. Santé. I note a suggestion of tannin that adheres to my cheeks, but only after the wine is gone!
From Largillas – old vines from 1923
A finer textured width of aroma, depth too – never a wine that shouts. Extra volume and depth of flavour too – round, textured with modest tannin, mouth-watering. Lip-smacking flavour – JP always says licorice – and yes, maybe in the finish there’s ‘stick’ licorice. Long, verily enjoyable wine…
2017 Monthelie 1er Les Clous
Classified as 1er cru in 2006
A little extra perfume here. Hmm, getting better, finer and more focused. More volume, width, freshness and fineness of texture too – very silky – more noble tannins. Little waves of vibrant finishing flavour. Just a wine to savour…