It is no secret that we at Champion Wine Cellars love wines from Burgundy, but for me, I didn’t really understand the magic until December 31, 2007.
It doesn’t happen often, but every once in a while, you taste a wine and it changes your world. Like the scene from Ratatouille where Remy sees fireworks and hears music while tasting food; it’s like unlocking a secret new part of your brain that you didn’t even know existed. And, you can never go back. For me, that happened on New Year’s Eve when I had a bottle of 2005 Jean-Philippe Fichet Meursault. It was rich but focused, mineral-driven and full, with notes of hazelnuts and orchard fruit, and a long and lingering finish that damn near broke my mind.
Jean-Philippe Fichet is a third generation winemaker in Meursault, located in the Côte de Beaune, whose focus is on exploring Meursault’s specific terroir. Jean-Philippe has been making wine since 1981 when his father handed over a sharecropping agreement, and in 1991 he took over four hectares of vines in Meursault and Auxey-Duresses. His website boasts, “one region, one passion-thoroughness and know-how.” He is very involved in the vineyards, entrusting a loyal team to handpick all grapes according to his stringent standards. During harvest, with each evening meal, bottles of older vintages from plots harvested that day are tasted so that the pickers see in that wine the work they produced in previous years (should I move to Burgundy and beg him for this job next year?). And, he believes that vinification should allow the nature of each site to come through. He would rather produce a small amount of wine from his best sites than lose their unique characteristics in a blend. And, he was featured in the New York Times in 2019 as a top tier but undervalued Burgundy producer.
Meursault is known for full-bodied, sultry, and age-worthy dry white wines. The best wines from Meursault are intoxicating not because of the alcohol content, but because of the fruit, minerality from the limestone soils, fullness, creaminess, acidity, and nutty notes that linger on. And, Jean-Philippe Fichet makes Meursaults that sing with energy and precision. These are the kinds of wines that you take your time with; they’ll stop you in your tracks and have you murmuring expletives under your breath about how hedonistic it feels to be enjoying a bottle of Jean-Philippe Fichet.
The 2018s just came in and we’ve got limited quantities of Fichet’s: Bourgogne Blanc, Bourgogne Blanc Vielles Vignes, Meursault Blanc, Rully Blanc, and Chassagne-Montrachet. 2018 started out with a wet winter in Burgundy followed by a hot and dry summer. The winter water reserves helped prevent vines from becoming overly stressed during the summer months and led to an early harvest. The result was plush and ripe grapes and wines that have managed to retain tension, richness, and freshness. Check out our website for more information on each of the individual wines that we brought in!