Try Food&Wine!
Food&Wine celebrates all aspects of the epicurean lifestyle, the tables and the talents that define our time's most authentic, exuberant way of life. Subscribe today and receive a free barbecue apron ... and your subscription will help support and The 30 Second Wine Advisor.

Today's sponsor
California Wine Club
The first month is free with The California Wine Club! It's a New Year, which means new resolutions to break and new wines to try! So if you've not yet joined The California Wine Club and not yet tried their selection of hard-to-find, award-winning wines there's no better time than now. Join now and your first month is free.

In This Issue
 Introducing Burgundy: Meursault
 Yves Boyer-Martenot 2001 Meursault "La Pré de Manche" ($18.50)

click here

For all past editions,
click here

For information, E-mail

Introducing Burgundy: Meursault

In last week's outing in this 12-part series on Burgundy, we enjoyed a glass in the Côte-de-Nuits, the portion of the favored Burgundian Côte d'Or that stretches northward from Beaune toward Dijon. Today we visit the Côte-de-Beaune, the other side of Burgundy's most highly regarded region, for a taste of Meursault.

Meursault ("Murr-so") is one of the relatively few Burgundy villages that produces almost entirely white wine (which, you'll recall, in Burgundy normally means Chardonnay). The whites made here tend to be both full-bodied and acidic, a combination that, at its best, yields wines of real character, particularly from the region's three premier cru vineyards, Les Perrières, Les Genevrières and Les Charmes.

Tasters often find roasted chestnuts in Meursault's aroma, and a fine Meursault from a good vintage can easily improve in a good cellar for 10 to 15 years or more.

Local legend has it that a person who drinks only Meursault will never over-indulge, but I would hesitate to put this to the test, particularly with modern vinification sometimes yielding full-bodied whites at 13.5 to 14 percent alcohol.

Today's example - like the others in this series, from the portfolio of the California importer North Berkeley Imports - is not the most typical example of Meursault. An unfiltered "cuvee unique" specially made for this importer, it's full-bodied, fat and oaky, loaded with luscious fruit but undeniably "American" in style. It should be noted that Yves Boyer-Martenot also produces Meursault "La Pré de Manche" in its own version, separate from the North Berkeley bottling and perhaps more typical of the region.

A number of you have written me during the course of this series to suggest that a good map of Burgundy would be helpful in putting together a mental image of this region. Good idea!

I'm looking around for quality online map images that are in the public domain or that I can put on our site with permission. Meanwhile, though, here's a clear, simple map of Burgundy on the excellent, content-rich Website of the respected London wine merchant Berry Bros. & Rudd:

For somewhat more detailed maps, with links to the producers that it imports, North Berkeley has a useful Burgundy maps page at:

If you're feeling flush and want quality topographical maps of vineyards to enjoy at home, here are links to listings for the two top wine atlases, both of which contain detailed, colorful maps of all the world's vineyard regions:

 Hugh Johnson's World Atlas of Wine ($35, a 30 percent discount):

 Oz Clarke's New Wine Atlas, $42 (30 percent off list price):

(If you use these links to purchase, we'll receive a small commission to help us pay the bills at

We still have a number of seats available on my May 24-30 tour of Burgundy and Champagne, which is shaping up to be an exceptional introduction to the real world of Burgundy (and a bonus side trip to Champagne), with VIP-style visits at several top producers plus memorable meals and lodging. I look forward to meeting some of you and sharing time on the wine road. Details at French Wine Explorers,

As I mentioned last week, if you're serious about Burgundy, you can't improve on the in-depth information that my friend and associate Allen "Burghound" Meadows provides in his subscription-only quarterly,
Burghound also offers The Insider's Guide to Visiting the Céte d'Or, an excellent, concise, 39-page travel guide to the food and wine of Burgundy. It's available for $19.95 (Adobe Acrobat document delivered by E-mail). See

As always, you're invited to participate in online wine conversations on our Wine Lovers' Discussion Group. To join in an interactive round-table online discussion on today's article, click to

If you prefer to comment privately, feel free to send me E-mail at I'm sorry that the overwhelming amount of mail I receive makes it tough to respond personally every time, but I do try to get back to as many as I can.

Yves Boyer-Martenot Yves Boyer-Martenot 2001 Meursault "La Pré de Manche" ($18.50)

Light-gold in color, this wine breathes a heady scent of pears, fresh, ripe and juicy with a hint of spice, like sniffing a hot pear compote. Full and ripe, mouth-filling and luscious, it's fat, slightly sweet, lubricated with butter and framed in oak, "New World" in style but held up with sufficient acidity for structure. Atypical Meursault with a "mid-Atlantic" accent so marked that those who seek "typicity" might find it alarming; it's no "benchmark" Meursault. On the other hand it's hard to quibble with its remarkable fruit and muscularity. Relax, and enjoy. U. S. importer: North Berkeley Imports, Berkeley, Calif. (Jan. 9, 2004)

FOOD MATCH: A simple roast chicken makes an ideal foil.

VALUE: I got this bargain price in North Berkeley's 50-percent-off sale in December. At the full-retail $36.95, though, it's approaching the price of premier cru bottlings.

WHEN TO DRINK: Quality Meursault can mature and improve for a decade or more, but pristine cellar conditions are mandatory. Moreover, this wine's idiosyncratic character makes it hard to predict. I would probably err on the side of drinking it early, while that luscious fruit remains fresh.

WEB LINK: The importer has a profile of Yves Boyer-Martenot and his wines here:

FIND THIS WINE ONLINE: Find the wines of Yves Boyer-Martenot on


To subscribe or unsubscribe from The 30 Second Wine Advisor, change your E-mail address, or for any other administrative matters, please use the individualized hotlink found at the end of your E-mail edition. If this is not practical, contact me by E-mail at, including the exact E-mail address that you used when you subscribed, so I can find your record.

We do not use our E-mail list for any other purpose and will never give or sell your name or E-mail address to anyone. I welcome feedback, suggestions, and ideas for future columns. To contact me, please send E-mail to

All the wine-tasting reports posted here are consumer-oriented. In order to maintain objectivity and avoid conflicts of interest, I purchase all the wines I rate at my own expense in retail stores and accept no samples, gifts or other gratuities from the wine industry.

Friday, Jan. 16, 2004
Copyright 2004 by Robin Garr. All rights reserved.

Subscribe to the 30 Second Wine Advisor

Wine Advisor archives