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Copyright © 2012
Forkmedia LLC



by Fred McMillin
for October 11, 2000

 

muhr-so Magic


Prologue

Meursault (muhr-so) is an ancient wine village of Burgundy, famous for its white wines. Some from the area are regarded as the finest whites in the world, and are among the most expensive. They are made exclusively from the Chardonnay grape.

We have an affordable Chardonnay from Meursault for you. Let's look at its origins.


The Rest of the Story

1098 A.D. The Duke of Burgundy gives a white-robed Cistercian monk a gift of land including vineyards in Meursault.

1108 A.D.—The red wines cannot match the whites, which rapidly gain fame. Later, a Cardinal in Mme. de Pompadour's time always celebrated Mass with Meursault because "I do not wish to grimace when I face the Lord."

Jean-Claude Boisset

1787 A.D.—Thomas Jefferson visits Meursault and notes that vineyard workers in red wine districts are given good wheat bread, but at Meursault it's rye. "I asked the reason for this difference. They told me that white wines fail in quality much more often than red and remain on hand. The farmer therefore cannot afford to feed his laborer so well. At Meursault only white wines are made because there is too much stone [in the soil] for the red; On such slight circumstances depends the condition of man!"

1961—Fifteen miles north of Meursault, 18-year-old Jean-Claude Boisset,(pictured), decides to become a vintner. Did he ever. Today Boisset is one of the largest houses in Burgundy. Adding in his other wineries, at last count he had a total of twenty five brands.


Something is Missing

In spite of this phenomenal success, Jean-Claude wasn't totally satisfied with his stable of Burgundies. He had no Meursault. Now, one of the best known names amoung Meursault landowners is Ropiteau. Not so long ago, a plot became available, and Jean-Pierre grabbed it, Hence, here's our...


Wine of the Day

Ropiteau Chardonnay, 1996, Bourgnone
"A Meursault, Cote d'Or, France"
Availability—Contact the office of Lisa Heisinger, (415) 979-0630, FAX (415) 979-0305
Character—With this much history, all my students were anxious to taste it, and gave it a solid RECOMMENDED.
Importer— Boisset, U.S.A., President Jean-Charles Boisset, the son.
Price—It doesn't cost much to taste this Chardonnay from far away...only $12!


Postscript

The Ropiteau label is on some more expensive bottles, too. For example, last New Year's Eve at Versailles Ropiteau Chassagne-Montrachet white was poured for 1,000 lucky diners. The total cost of that wine? I dunno, but a bottle of good Chassagne in the U.S. Of A. commonly brings at least $50!

 

About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers. For information about the wine courses he teaches every month at either San Francisco State University or San Francisco City College (Fort Mason Division), please fax him at (415) 567-4468.

 
 


 
 

This page created October 2000

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