They’re Back! “Almost Magical, Lost-In-Time”: Unique 2016 White Burgunies From Domaine De Chérisey

Posted on: 01/10/19 3:04 PM


Domaine de Chérisey is one of my favorite white Burgundy producers and one of the finest addresses Kermit Lynch imports. In fact, despite being founded in 1811, the Domaine is somewhat new to the scene, and poised to become a cult address, for a number of reasons.

Historically the wines were always sold off in bulk to the négociants. However, beginning in the 1980s the address started bottling under their own labels. The quality of the wines were strong enough to compel both Becky Wasserman AND Kermit Lynch to vie for the honor of importing them! Kermit was able to lure Laurent away from Becky after 2005. And in one of the perversities of the trade, this new arrangement seems to have coincided with Meadows’ ceasing his relationship with the house, which, until then, had been a swooning courtship of hearts and mid-90+ ratings.

So why is the house poised for cult status? Well, not only is the wine stunning; not only are the yields low and the vines extremely old; not only is the press currently not touting the wines; not only are the quantities available miniscule (2000 cases annually), but this is also one of those remarkable houses that has an X-factor, namely the strange and somehow still misunderstood and overlooked Burgundian oddity known as Blagny.

The little hamlet of Blagny, as Kermit rightly says, recalls something magical and distinct in Burgundy: somehow it goes a little unknown and unheralded, despite the fact that it is wedged between Puligny and Meursault. Higher up on the hill, at higher altitudes (300-360 m) and with a complicated series of expositions due to the combe (valley) in which the vineyards lie, the incredibly high content of marne calcaire (chalky marl) here gives the wines a distinctly mineral note that shimmers electrically through the wines’ equal parts Puligny tropical elegance and Meursault’s deep creaminess.

While Laurent and de Chérisey have slivers of Pulignys 1ers Garenne and Chalumeaux (both in Blagny also, but with identities of their own), the real stars of the Domaine are the two utterly unique holdings in the high Blagny, the true Blagny: namely, Puligny 1er “Hameau de Blagny” and, even more so, Meursault 1er Genelotte.

Hameau de Blagny is mineralic and lacy, with hallmark Puligny finesse, but not lacking at all in depth of tropical fruits and richness. The Meursault-Blagny 1er Genelotte, on the other hand, is, frankly, THE wine of the estate: lush, dense and powdery, with a salty chalk core and powerful center of fruit that makes this wine one of the longer-lived Meursaults you will encounter.

Winemaking at the Domaine is arch-traditional and follows the usual practices at the best addresses in the region: lutte raisonnee in vineyards of extremely old vines; natural fermentation in oak; batonnage depending on the vintage and limited use of new oak. (This is a house that has been in operation since 1811, after all!)

I tasted the entire range of the 2016s from barrel and bottle, and it is a very successful vintage of great precision and tension. The wines are utterly classique. I cannot recommend them enough. Neal Martin seems to agree, essentially throwing up his hands, as his rapturous praise for the 2015s and 2014s doesn’t seem to have moved as many souls as it should have. Nonetheless, the quality, value and excellence here is truly exceptional.

“All the wines here have a judicious 10% new oak to keep all the crus the same. I have been praising these wines for two or three years now, one of the under-the-radar gems—or maybe that ought to be “over-the-radar” given the higher altitude of the vines. Laurent is an outstanding, deeply thoughtful winemaker who is producing outstanding whites from what some might see as inauspicious premier crus. I personally do not see it that way, and who knows, with global warming these higher and cooler vineyards may become the most coveted. For now, we can just enjoy the wonderful wines of Domaine de Chérisey.” – Neal Martin on the de Chérisey 2016s

2016 Meursault Bois de Blagny

Neal Martin: “The 2016 Meursault Blanc Bois de Blagny comes from a single-hectare block that is split into four parcels and vinified separately, and this is the fifth leaf from the vineyard. Vinified in stainless steel then transferred into used oak barrels, it has an appealing bouquet with scents of dried honey and white flowers that already possess a sense of comeliness. The palate is very pretty with light citrus fruit mixed with cooking apple, simple but balanced with a light, brisk, stem ginger-tinged finish.”

2016 Puligny-Montrachet 1er Hameau de Blagny

Neal Martin: “The 2016 Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Hameau de Blagny felt much more primal on the nose compared to Laurent Chérisey’s other 2016s. The palate is fresh on the entry with a fine bead of acidity, tightly wound and just clamming up toward the finish, whereas the La Garennes appears to have more flow, more vitality. Let’s see how this shows in bottle.”

2016 Meursault 1er Genelotte

Neal Martin: “The 2016 Meursault-Blagny 1er Cru La Genelotte, the monopole belonging to Domaine de Chérisey, has a very precise and focused bouquet with citrus fruit, grilled walnut and smoky notes unfolding in the glass. I love the delineation here. The palate is very well balanced with a fine bead of acidity, harmonious and poised with subtle hazelnut notes furnishing the long and tender finish. There is great persistence, to wit, a really top-notch Meursault.”

Posted in Burgundy List By Ian Halbert