One of the advantages of taking your MSC in the business of wine at the Burgundy School of Business is that it is based in Dijon in the heart of Burgundy, one of the most interesting and challenging of all wine regions in the world to discover. It is also a great opportunity for the visiting students like Alexander Stone to have the chance to visit, and be blown away, by iconic producers like Château Meursault.
Famous French regions and producers are not always renown for their willingness to open their doors to the public, but fortunately for Alexander Stone, Meursault is more than willing to show off its recently renovated winery and grounds.
With so many classic and iconic estates and producers in such close proximity being based in Burgundy really is the ideal location for any wine enthusiast never mind those taking further studies to better understand the business of wine. A short 45 minute drive from Dijon, capital of Burgundy, is Meursault, home to luxurious chateaux and fine wines. While the AOC of Meursault does not contain any of the famed Grand Crus that go for thousands of euros their Premier Crus are of a class that closely rivals them. A major producer of Meursault Premier Crus, Château de Meursault has recently been expanding its range of wines and renovating to meet their growing demand.
Formerly owned by André Boisseaux, the Château de Meursault was acquired, along with Château de Marsannay, in Côte de Nuits and Marché aux Vins in Beaune by the Halley family in 2012. Fired by ambitions and dreams to reinvent the winery, the Halley family has since heavily invested in overhauling the Château and the benefits are starting to emerge. The range of wines (naturally, mostly Pinot Noir and Chardonnay being in Burgundy), including Premier Cru’s, has since grown to 30 plus labels, with goals to increase this further.
Going back in time
The magnificent and regal Château was restored and opened to tours under the ownership of André Boisseaux, and in 2015 was accepted as an UNESCO world heritage site. The Château has maintained these tours despite renovations, and I was fortunate enough to find a place on one of them.
It is quite something to be taken into the labyrinthine network of cellars located in the tunnels beneath the Château, where you get the chance to walk amongst the barrels and ageing bottles. One can’t help but marvel at the fusion of ancient history, with parts of the cellar still dating back to the 12th Century, to modern additions such as backlit maps of the Burgundy wine region and showing the locations of their vineyards.
The tours are not surprisingly fully booked every weekend. From a view of the immaculately maintained vineyards and the fully restored Château, to descending into the ancient cellars where you are confronted by relics of bygone vintages, equipment that has been used in the production of wine in past centuries and row upon row of barrels the tours are a fascinating journey through the history of Château de Meursault. The tours finally end with a tasting flight of several magnificent wines in the luxury and splendour of the Château itself.
The vineyards are being replanted at a rapid rate, 5-6% per year rather than a normal rate of 1-2%, in order to improve quality and yet despite the fact this should be reducing the number of wines being released each year there seem to be a greater number of Premier Crus being produced by Château de Meursault since 2012.
All the red wine grapes and a number of the white ones are organised after harvest using an optical sorter to produce wines with more unique terroir characteristics and to guarantee higher quality. The Clos du Château in particular amazed me with its quality, with fine vanilla and nut notes wafting on the nose and a delicious buttery aspect in the mouth with refreshing acidity to complete the wine spectacularly.
It also left me frustrated that I had not encountered Château de Meursault wines before now.
- Alexander Stone graduates from his MSC in to wine business at the Burgundy School of Business this summer and is looking for an opportunity in the wine trade. He can be contacted at email@example.com.