This exceptional lieu-dit from the famous village of Meursault truly performs like a premier cru; there are a couple factors that serendipitously came together to make this possible. First, the tiny, well-tended parcel of land is planted to vines that are all over eighty years old. Second, the wine is crafted by sixth-generation steward of Domaine Michelot who delivers wines that are simultaneously textured and opulent while fresh and terroir-driven. This 2012 Domaine Michelot Meursault, “Sous le Velle,” delivers everything I search for in a fine Burgundy and then some. It is ready to drink in its youth, like many 2012 whites, and will drink well over the next 3-4 years.
Domaine Michelot has been producing great examples of Meursault for six-generations now. The family reached a tremendous pinnacle under the grand patriarch, Bernard Michelot; under his stewardship, Domaine Michelot’s Meursaults were firmly in the exclusive company of greats like Comte Lafon and Coche-Dury. In the 1990’s, however, their glory days began to fade—shifting family dynamics can be extremely intricate in the charming world of Burgundy. Thankfully, Domaine Michelot has been reinvigorated in the incredibly capable hands of Jean-François Mestre, husband to Bernard’s daughter, Odile. He is consistently crafting wines that rival their legendary vintages of old once more. These days, Domaine Michelot wines hit the sweet spot between mineral-driven lithe examples and voluptuous nectar of immense depth.
Under Jean-François’ guidance, the vineyards have been undergoing conversion to biodynamic practices and are approached with a serious focus on the balance of the delicate ecosystem of the vineyards. The Sous La Velle parcel, sourced from old vines planted in the 1930s by Bernard’s father, delivers a wine that is one of the best lieu-dit of the Domaine’s lineup. This special 1.39-hectare vineyard is nestled at over 700 feet in elevation and enjoys clay terroir with a gravel subsoil. Vinification has returned to tradition and the wines undergo fermentation and malolactic fermentation in cask. Under Jean-François only a third new oak is used, which allows the pure expression of the specific terroir to come into balance with the new oak. The wine goes through extended lees aging and batonnage, which greatly contributes to the textured mouthfeel and incredible depth on the palate. Following twelve months in cask, the wine spends an additional six months in climate-controlled stainless steel tanks. The age of the vines from this special site, coupled with astute winemaking, consistently delivers a wine of immense concentration and character year after year.
This wine displays a concentrated light golden core with green and gold reflections on the rim, just starting to show signs of age. The aromatics reveal incredibly concentrated notes of classic white Burgundy including: yellow apple, white peach, lemon blossoms, lime zest over intricate notes of hazelnut crème, white mushroom, spun honey, white tea and vanilla bean driven by oyster shell and crushed chalk. The near full-bodied palate deliver a round, slightly oily texture with flavors of beautifully concentrated yellow apple, lemon zest, white tea and very finely crushed limestone. Although this wine is beginning to peak, it will keep well for the next 3-5 years if cellared properly, becoming more complex each year. Depending on producer, I do not believe many 2012’s should be kept for the long haul because of their youthful richness and opulence. To enjoy this wine, serve just below cellar temperature and allow the wine to open for 5-10 minutes before serving in Burgundy stems. This wine is firing on all cylinders at the moment and will be so enjoyable, you will wish you had more. For a pairing that stands up to the depth you’ll find in this glass, try this Chicken in Truffle Cream Sauce.