Burgundy is a very special place in many respects. But one thing I have always found interesting is how certain vineyards and producers fade in and out of favor over time. At least this has been true for the 40 some years that I have been drinking and visiting Burgundy. A case in point is the Domaine Albert Grivault in Meursault. This Domaine dates back to 1879 when Albert Grivault was able to buy the property. It consisted of the monopole (sole owner) vineyard Clos des Perrières as well as a portion of Les Perrières and other vineyards in the area of Meursault.
There are no Grand Cru Vineyards in Meursault, but the Clos des Perrières and Les Perrières are rated Premier Cru and generally acknowledged as the best vineyards in Meursault. I remember many years ago when Lalou Bize Leroy told me that she felt Les Perrières should be a Grand Cru and that the Clos des Perrières was the best property in Meursault. Shortly after that my friends and I were able to arrange a visit and taste the wines. We felt the wines were good, but nothing really exceptional in terms of the best Meursault producers.
However, in recent years, I have begun to notice an improvement in the wines. Last year I was very impressed with the 2009 Clos des Perrières. And, now I have tasted the range of the 2010 Albert Grivault white wines and I am even more impressed. Under the leadership of Michel Bardet and his sister Claire, who are the grandchildren of Albert Grivault, there has been a big step up in quality at this Domaine.
The French wine magazine, Bourgogne Aujord’hui, recently conducted a survey of several top French wine reviewers in order to determine what was felt to be the best of the white Premier Crus. The winner was the Clos des Perrières. Although I have never tasted a really old bottle of Clos des Perrières (the oldest for me is 1979), reportedly the wine can age for a very long period with bottles back into the 1800s still sound.
All of the Domaine’s 15 acres of vineyards are contiguous and Michel is currently involved in trying to get the bourgogne blanc elevated to meursault and the Clos des Perrières elevated to Grand Cru. The Bourgogne vineyard is in the same Clos where the Meursault comes from at the back of the domaine. The front is Meursault and the back part, closer to the hills, is Bourgogne. But, both parcels are within the original Clos. Given the history and location of the vineyards, it seems like the elevations may have a very good chance of succeeding. Perhaps all of the Perrières vineyard should be upgraded? But, in the case of the Clos des Perrières, the vineyard has the same orientation as Montrachet and the soils in the Clos des Perrières have a higher proportion of minerals and stones than the rest of the Perrières vineyard. So we shall see what evolves over time.
However, for now, the Albert Grivault wines are still not a price level that they would be should the vineyards be upgraded. So that makes them a bit under the radar and relative bargains. These 2010 Albert Grivault White Burgundies are wines to buy! The wines of Albert Grivault are imported by Atherton Wine Imports, Atherton Calif.