2016 Meursaults from an Under-the-Radar Master: Jean-Philippe Fichet

Posted on: 06/19/18 12:41 PM


If you like bracing wines of depth and complexity, Fichet is your man. What Fichet is doing in Meursault is analogous to what Thomas Pico is doing in Chablis, and there’s a reason both producers have garnered a slavish, cult-like following. Like Pico, Fichet has no claim on the finest sites in Burgundy, and there are no Grands Crus to clamor over, not even a lowly Criot-Bâtard-Montrachet. (Ok, that may have a little too cheeky by half!) Beyond that, there are not even any 1ers Crus – save a Puligny Referts which exists in frighteningly miniscule quantities. Rather, Fichet has only the humble handful of lieux-dits through which to express Meursault. And, yet, for many, he is accomplishing just that, with profound results, and at an almost punishing personal cost.

You see, in the end, there’s really almost no wine to be had. 0.3 hA here; 0.15 hA there; another 0.27 hA elsewhere in the village. It would be much easier to bottle all these lieux-dits together and make a simple Meursault, but no one ever accused Jean-Philippe Fichet of taking the easy way out! Rather, he bottles nearly everything separately, crafting some of the most exciting white Burgundies being made today.

Retaining full control of the vineyards, all work is done by hand and organically. A severe winter pruner, the yields he harvests are punishingly low, but the fruit is gloriously ripe and pure. In the cellar, fermentations are, de rigueur, natural yeast and the élevage is long and slow – 18 months in mostly neutral oak. In fact, today, no more than 20% is new, and he has been experimenting with none at all, as well as larger formats, especially demi-muids. Lees stirring is sparingly used, depending on the vintage, and it goes without saying that the bottling is without fining or filtration.

The wines are gloriously intense, pure and balanced. The minerality can be shocking to those expecting a “fat Meursault,” but the freshness that accompanies these layered and complex wines is exactly what makes them so profound. In fact, the house style recalls another of Meursault’s rock stars – Jean-Marc Roulot. The same mineral, austerity in youth; the same layered complexity; the same unmistakable terroir signature in each wine. It is also worth noting that, up until a few years ago, Jean-Marc Roulot flew well under the radar, too.

The 2016s have a lot of offer – concentration, breadth and tension. It is a very fine vintage, even if quantities are minuscule. Regardless, you want some of these.

2016 J.-P. Fichet Allocations

2016 Fichet Bourgogne Blanc 
2016 Fichet Auxey-Duresses Blanc 

2016 Fichet Meursault
2016 Fichet Meursault Chevaliers 
2016 Fichet Meursault Tesson 
2016 Fichet Puligny-Montrachet 1er Referts 

Posted in Burgundy List By Ian Halbert