Hello friends. Because of our list’s long support for Jon Meuret’s Maison Bleue wines, we’ve been afforded the opportunity to offer the inaugural release of his new project, Domaine J. Meuret. I believe we’re the first source for these hotly-anticipated, tiny-production wines at retail (in fact, the official release date for this trio is not until May 1). We should be able to get in, get out, and stake our claim before the wines are offered more broadly.
Maison Bleue established Jon as one of the most talented winemakers in the state for Rhone varieties. Now he has heard the siren song of Burgundy: “Domaine J. Meuret was established with the single vision of creating small lot Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines from organically grown, cool-climate vineyards across the Pacific Northwest.”
Perhaps eventually the wines will indeed come from across the PacNW. Right now, they are concentrated in one of the most exciting AVAs in this corner of the world: the Columbia Gorge. This first release includes a pair of Chardonnays from different sites on the Washington side of the Columbia River, and a Pinot Noir from the Oregon side. All three are compelling, evocative wines. This is a fine debut indeed!
This Chardonnay was harvested on September 22, native-yeast fermented, and spent eight months in stainless steel on lees, with regular battonage and full malolactic conversion. The result is a wine with plenty of rich texture, but not at all from any oak influence, and at a very moderate weight (13% listed alc). It’s lovely stylistically, an old world-new world bridge wine. Aromas include a mix of stone fruits and tree fruits and bready/leesy complexities, and the palate is austere, mineral-driven, and very true to this region. For winemakers interested in making a Burgundian style, the Gorge has a climate to offer that as a possibility. Last thing I should mention: painfully small production. Just 145 cases. Reorder prospects murky at best.
Wine Enthusiast (Sean Sullivan): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]s. 92pts.” [Sullivan context note: of the 696 white wines Sean has reviewed for Wine Enthusiast, the highest score to date is 93pts, earned by eight wines (including one that you’ll see in a few seconds). All that to say: a 92pt review from Mr. S. for a white wine is a strong review indeed.]
This is a cooler site than Jewett Creek, and 2013 was a (marginally) cooler year than ’14. All that adds up to a later harvest date: October 10. This Chardonnay was fermented (native again) and aged entirely in French oak barrel, 30% new, and remained in those barrels, on lees, for 16 months. Regular lees-stirring and full malo were again employed here. This went into bottle in March 2015, and has now had more than a year of bottle age.
All of that adds up to a Chardonnay that is completely different stylistically. Different vintage, different site, different elevage. It clocks in at 13% listed alc and offers an expressive nose combining peach and apricot fruit, white tea, honeyed barrel tones, and lactic crème fraiche. Complex and alluring to be sure. The palate is rich, full, with a notable creamy/lactic texture. There is really impressive depth and intensity here, all on a low-weight frame. With plenty of bright acidity, loads of extract, and a lengthy finish, this seems poised for a fascinating evolution in bottle. Just 189 cases produced.
Wine Enthusiast (Sean Sullivan): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 93pts.” [Sullivan context note: This is of course one of the eight 93pt wines from Sean. Five of the other seven 93pt-ers are also Chardonnays, and their prices are $45, $48, $50, $55, $55.]
The Pinot was also harvested on October 10, and had a five-day cold maceration in open-top 500-liter puncheons before going through native fermentation. Ageing took place in French oak barrels (30% new) for 16 months, and the wine was bottled in March 2015, so it too has had about a year of bottle age. Production is a mere 167 cases.
The nose offers a lovely mix of red fruit (cherry, red plum), loamy earth, and, yes, a spicy tobacco leaf note. The palate too balances earth and fruit tones (slightly favoring the earthy side of things), and rolls in an attractive savory truffle note, all on a sturdily-built frame, awash in bright acidity. This offers a different profile than Willamette Valley wines, for sure. Perhaps it’s the high-elevation vineyard, or maybe just the different soil type. Either way, Pinot Noir is the ultimate expresser of terroir, and this wine does a capable job expressing this particular patch of earth.
No review yet for this one. Because the vineyard is in Oregon, this Enthusiast review will fall under Paul Gregutt’s bailiwick, not Sean Sullivan’s. I’d expect to see a review in the next few months, but this wine could well be sold out by then.
Please limit order requests to 6 bottles of each wine, and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests. The wines should arrive in a week or two, at which point they will be ready for pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.