Jean-Philippe Fichet, Meursault   
visiting Burgundy, part 2

Second stop on the Burgundy trip was Jean-Philippe Fichet, who is located in Meursault, home to some of the planet’s best expressions of Chardonnay. Fichet is a genius, but is probably less well known than he deserves to be because he has no premier cru or grand cru vineyards in Meursault (although he used to have a bit of Perrières, which he lost in 1996 when the owner died). Instead, Fichet is the expert of bringing out the very best from village level ‘Lieux Dits’: name-designated vineyards that aren’t considered to be of premier cru status. With his meticulous viticulture and mastery of long élévage, he is able to fashion complex, ageworthy wines from these sites that put most peoples’ premier cru wines to shame.

Nicolas Gachon

We visited with Nicolas Gachon, who has been chef du cave here for the last couple of years. Nicolas took us first to the Meursault Tesson vineyard, looking down across the vines to the village. It was a beautifully sunny early June day, and the view was quite magical. 

Meursault, from Le Tesson

Altogether, Fichet has 7 hectares of vines, split across 18 different parcels. The majority are in Meursault, but  there are small holdings in Monthelie, Auxey-Duresses and Puligny-Montrachet. 

The second stop we made was Meursault Narvaux-Dessous. To the left of Fichet’s parcel were Jobard’s vines; to the right, Dominique Lafon’s. Gachon showed us how the leaf zone had just been leaf plucked by hand in his rows, while in those vines to the right the same operation had been done by machine, with less tidy results. Also, Fichet’s vines were trained 15 cm higher than the neighbouring rows.


Finally, we went to the village to visit another Fichet vineyard. It was the 0.9 hectare monopole called Miex sous le Château, with 40 year old vines and quite a different soil type to the other parcels. 

Miex sous le Chateau

Gachon pointed out just how expensive vineyards in Meursault have become. There are 24 ouvrees in a hectare, and one ouvree of Meursault Villages will typically sell for €65 000.

Mieux sous le Chateau

The winery is quite small, and in a typical year will process 50 000 hectolitres. Most is domaine wine, with a small bit of negociant work. Barrels are a mix of 500 litre demi muids and 225 litre barriques, and 30% new oak is used each year. The wines initially spend a year in oak and then they are given another 6 months on top of this after racking. Every single wine is treated the same. Gachon points out that it is this extra six months of élévage that gives the extra complexity and longevity, and that this extra period is quite hard work. He says that the aim is to produce ‘straight, long wines’, looking for length on the palate.

The tasting was brilliant, with a range of vintages back to 1992.

2008s in the cellar, from barrel:

Meursault Gruyache – a good parcel next to Les Charmes. Tight mealy nose leads to a savoury, minerally palate. Complex and with some breadth.

Meursault Tesson: very fine, precise minerally nose. Taut with good intensity.

JP Fichet Bourgogne Blanc 2007
From three different parcels. Slightly creamy, broad toasty nose with subtle minerality. The palate is dense and quite taut with savoury, mineral notes. It’s almost structured. Nice blend of nutty minerality with creamy richness. 88/100

JP Fichet Auxey Duresses 2007
From two parcels. Lively, fresh, minerally, citrussy nose. Refined and alive. The palate is fresh and minerally with lovely acidity. Really taut and expressive with a subtle, toasty edge. Focused. 91/100

JP Fichet Meursault Villages 2007
From three plots. Lovely taut minerally nose with some savoury toasty depth. Intense. Expressive, open palate with lively acidity and lovely savoury toasty notes. Real personality. 91/100

JP Fichet Meursault Le Tesson 2007
Delicate but full nose with lovely fresh minerality and creamy, toasty depth. Fine. The palate is lively with good acidity and dense, creamy, mineral notes. Long mineral finish. 93/100

Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru Les Referts 2007
Oaky, toasty, bready nose is rich, creamy, aromatic and full. The palate is intense with dense fruit and some rich oak. Broad with some fresh minerality. Youthful, with real promise. 92/100

JP Fichet Meursault Chevalier 2005
Very broady, intense, nutty nose with savoury, toasty, mealy notes. The palate is broad and very savoury with lovely mineral intensity. Complex, savoury and a bit reduced with lovely complexity and breadth. Showing a bit of evolution. Hard, grippy finish suggests this needs time in the glass to open out: it’s like a red wine in its complexity and structure. 94/100

JP Fichet Meursault Gruyache 2002
Beautifully complex, open nose with notes of butter, toast, citrus and minerals. Quite smooth and beguiling with hints of herbs and malt. The palate has lovely minerality with rich, smooth herb, meal and toast notes. Powerful, complex and structured, this is a beautiful white Burgundy. 94/100

JP Fichet Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru Les Referts 1999
Wonderful nose showing lovely matchstick and cabbage reduction. Complex, fresh and savoury. The palate is beautifully fresh and youthful with lovely precision. Fresh, minerally, citrussy and expressive. It’s a lovely savoury, mineral wine with real potential for further development. 94/100

JP Fichet Meursault  Perrieres 1er Cru 1992
Fichet used to rent this vineyard until the owner died in 1996. Utterly fantastic nose: really complex, lively and minerally with notes of herbs, marmalade and citrus. Fresh yet complex and evolved at the same time. The palate is fresh with lovely nutty, broad fruit and some lemon and pear notes as well as herby vegetable characters. Really beautiful nose, beginning to lighten up on the palate, and drinking perfectly now. 96/100

A short film of the visit:

Joseph Drouhin
J-P Fichet
Pierre Morey/Morey Blanc
Louis Latour
Domaine Dujac
Sylvain Cathiard
Clos du Tart

Wines tasted as indicated  
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