Domaine Roulot by Alice Wynn-Williams
This was my first time in both Burgundy and at Domaine Roulot and any preconceptions one may have had about white burgundy (particularly in Meursault) being full, fat, buttery, creamy and toasty, Roulot’s wines couldn’t be further from this! They offer total purity and precision and a real representation of terroir. When looking for good wine this is what I most want to find: an indication of the area, soil, and climate in which the wine was made. To my mind, this is very much the style in which serious talent is recognised along with the clarity, precision and terroir the producer shows in his wines without ‘winemaking’ being evident. Meeting Jean-Marc was very enjoyable, he was utterly charming, entertaining and greatly passionate about the wines he makes, he gave us a wonderful tasting and great understanding of the area.
An absolute favourite for me was the:
Meursault 1er Cru Les Perrières – lots of character, with soft lime and wonderful minerality, seems more tightly wrapped up in mouth but builds on the palate with a very long finish. This vineyard has the best terroir in the village, making this wine interesting and deeply complex, there is a real purity.
We also had the opportunity to taste some 2010s of which Meursault Tessons Clos Mon Plaisir was my top wine – with lots of complexity and vibrant acidity, layers of flavour, stone minerality, lots of power which is carried off extremely well with again the elegance and absolute precision of the wine.
Along with getting a strong sense for the 2011 vintage, it is always interesting to see where these wines might be heading and Jean-Marc gave us a great indication of this by pulling out a 1996. He sees a comparative style between these two vintages giving us a good indication of where the 2011s could end up. He was brave and rather than grabbing one from the top shelf, he went for a village wine, the 1996 Meursault Vireuils, from a half bottle. Fifteen years of aging is a decent length of time for a village level wine and it was so interesting to see how this wine has developed. The aromas on the nose were alive with mouthwatering notes of crème brûlée and we were all inhaling the glass for quite some time, it was just so enjoyable. The palate perhaps lacked the same aromatic intensity shown on the nose, the acidity of the vintage clearly showing and the age also but it was still a real pleasure and you have to remember that for old wines like this they are very much for drinking at the table rather than as an aperitif, perhaps a homemade pasta dish or creamy pâté with this would be divine.
For me experiencing Roulot was a case of saving the best till last, and they were the wines that taught me the most about the area they had come from. We also enjoyed some of his wines over dinner on two separate nights and the wine that particularly stood out for me was enjoyed in a wonderful restaurant in Beaune called Les Caves Madeleine. Here there is no wine list, but a wine wall stocked with a selection from all the best local producers that changes every week. Tonight was my turn to choose the wine, a white and a red. The red I originally went for was snubbed by Laurent the owner who advised there was something much better that we just had to try, Aloxe-Corton Les Caillettes 2010, La Maison Romane. We had never heard of it but were intrigued and game enough to try it- after all, how else do you discover new things? It did occur to us later that perhaps Laurent’s recommendation was also influenced by the presence of the winemaker on an adjoining table but no matter, this is certainly one worth discovering for yourself. Oronce, the wine maker, doesn’t have his own domaine but he uses his horses to work the land at other domaines and in return is paid in grapes. He then uses the fruit to make his own micro-cuvées. Horse-ploughing, payment by barter- perhaps we were back in the 19th century? The wine itself was certainly of the present, alive, fresh and vital although lacking the finesse of a top example. All in all very enjoyable.
The white I selected was a Roulot, Meursault, Le Meix Chavaux 2007. This was certainly not dismissed, in fact Laurent’s face lit up and he said we would love this one, which we certainly did, with its citrus flavours infused with notes of white peach, stony minerality and crisp acidity. It perfectly accompanied my starter of consommé, girolle mushrooms, little bits of bacon, broad bean and a soft poached egg on top. Typical, high quality, local ingredients prepared without fuss paired with this wine, made it a winner. With food as with wine, less is so often more.
Don't just take my word for it, come along and meet the man behind these fantastic wines at a fabulous Roulot dinner we are hosting on Thursday 12th July, 7pm at HIX at The Albemarle, Brown's Hotel, London W1S 4BP. Click here for more information or contact Rhian Rosser on firstname.lastname@example.org or Tel: 020 7908 0626
Coming soon.. more Burgundian tales from Alice on visits to the following Domaines: