Perhaps the finest and most memorable lesson that I received in Burgundy terroir came at the hands of Pierre Morey. We tasted through a large range of 2007 wines from Meursault, each with its own distinct personality. It was easy even for a novice like me to understand the differences - the 2007 vintage offers nothing if not transparency. A vintage like 2007 in the hands of Pierre Morey, who farms organically and biodynamically (since 1997), and who vinifies all of his wines in an ultra-clean style - this makes for absolutely thrilling wines. And we were thrilled and awed. Peter, Tista, and I walked out from our morning visit and sat in the car for a few moments in stunned silence, the experience sitting there making its own noise.
Pierre Morey is considered to be one of the very finest wine makers in Burgundy. Although he started his own Domaine in 1971, he was for many years the quiet force behind the wines of Domaine Leflaive. He also makes the wines of Morey-Blanc, a négoce operation he created in 1992 order to work with an expanded group of vineyards. He works with farmers who employ largely the same vineyard practices that he does.
And you know what else - Pierre Morey was so immediately likable, so genuinely pleasant. Humble and soft spoken, earnest and curious, warm and gracious. A real gentleman and clearly a scholar. He should probably be nominated for France's version of "Living National Treasure."
We began in the cellars of Morey-Blanc, tasting through the lineup of reds. We then moved on to Morey-Blanc's whites, and then drove several blocks to Domaine Pierre Morey's cellars to taste his whites.
According to my own very unofficial talley, there are more wines labeled as lieux-dits (single vineyard wines, but from villages-level vineyards) than in any other Burgundy village. Perhaps this came about because there are no Grand Cru vineyards in Meursault (although most people acknowledge the Grand Cru-esque quality of 1er Cru Perrieres) and so the quality of 1er Cru and villages-level vineyards is emphasized this way. Perhaps it is because many producers feel that singular wines can be crafted from villages-level vineyards such as Les Narvaux, Les Tessons, and Les Chevalières.
Morey Blanc Meursault - the nose integrates fresh apple fruit, spice, and mineral. The palate is graceful and balanced, there is nice acidity, and the finish is long with apple skins and pie crust. This is a great villages wine that should drink well when young.
Morey Blanc Meursault Les Narvaux - similar aromatic and flavor profile as the above wine, but denser, spicier, and more intense. And somehow, leaner.
Morey Blanc Meursault 1er Cru Les Bouchères - leaner nose than Les Narvaux, yet richer on the palate. Dense and muscular with rich fruit, great acidity, and a frangrant finish. Delicious wine.
Morey Blanc Meursault 1er Cru Les Charmes - the most elegant nose so far, very mineral, with clean and focused fruit. The palate is a bit closed, but there is a nicely herbal finish.
Morey Blanc Meursault 1er Cru Les Genevrières - density again on the nose with prominent lemon peel. Lots of stuffing, a bit creamy on the palate, and a long minty finish.
Pierre Morey Meursault - smokey herbal nose and a rich palate with precise flavors of apple skins, lemon, and stones. Another lovely villages wine.
Pierre Morey Meursault Terres Blanches - apple skins, herbs, brown sugar, and earth on the nose. Palate is already well integrated light and energetic fruit flavors, great acidity, and a long prickly finish.
Pierre Morey Meursault Les Tessons - very reduced, and hard to get past that on the nose. Seems like there is nice fruit here, but I'm still no good at tasting reductive wines.
Pierre Morey Meursault 1er Cru Les Perrieres - also a bit reduced, but less so. Herbs, lemon oil, stones, and lovely white flowers on the nose. Rich and deep in the mouth but in a piercing and economical way, nothing is wasted. Balanced and long, just so obviously a beautiful wine. If I am lucky enough to see this in a store someday, and lucky enough to have the approximately $130 it will cost, I will buy a bottle and put it to sleep for my older daughter, who was born in 2007.
Pierre Morey Bâtard-Montrachet - resinated layers of fruit on the nose, very noble, a bit closed, but still expressive. Pear and honeyed nuts in the mouth, great acidity and length, very complex. Beautiful wine, certainly one of the finest whites that I've tasted.