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The 2020 a very special vintage, which has been bottled, after a few logistical disorders (see our chapter about "dry products"), now unfortunately a rather common occurence whatever the sector. 

With a rather high alcohol content, the wines are not at all heavy, held by a firm acidity that highlights aromas of black fruits, rather characteristic of a cold vintage!

The combination of high maturity and acidity is the dream of the Burgundian winemaker. This is a rare but not exceptional phenomenon since the vintages 1990, 1999, 2015 and to a lesser extent 2005, 2009 and 2019 can be considered to meet this characteristic. But it reached an unprecedented high in 2020. 

 

Given their concentration, these wines will need time, including for "entry-level". While they do seduce by their aromatics, in the mouth, they exhibit some tension, which leads us to say that keeping them for some time is a better option.

The personalities of the terroirs have emerged during aging and in this powerful vintage, we find the finesse of Chambolle, the distinction of Vosne, the structure of Nuits, the complexity of Clos Vougeot and Richebourg ... Patience will be required however, as these are serious, structured wines that do not want to be taken lightly. 

Paradoxically, this does not necessarily mean we'll see an aromatic closure in the bottle, given the strong acidity which should allow the freshness of the fruit to show for a long time. But evolution will be slow and certainly very profitable for these wines which will undoubtedly represent bottles of anthology in the decades to come!

 

Recruited by Étienne Camuzet in 1945 to work the Richebourg, Brulées and Clos Parantoux vineyards in particular, Henri was indeed the estate's inspiration for many years. When he retired, he played his part in my training, winning me over to the cause of fruity, long-keeping wines. Wines that give pleasure.

He passed away during the 2006 harvest, while we were hard at work; a fine symbol. Beyond the myth he had become, I will remember the talent of a man for his job, the convictions of an experienced taster and the passion of a craftsman.

He was a great winemaker: beyond the very seductive style of his wines, his essential contribution to the wines of Burgundy can be summed up in his capacity to marry tradition and modernity. He was able to resist the facilities which the rapid modernisation of the vineyard was making available to him at the beginning of the sixties. And yet how tempting it was; the job was hard. At the same time, there was never any question of remaining stubbornly attached to outmoded techniques: modern winemaking methods gave him the opportunity to display his inventiveness and his sensitivity.

Henri was one of the few people to keep the Burgundy flag flying high in a period of some decline, and more important still, he was able to pass on his vision to the younger generation. Today, we all owe him a great deal.

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History

Domaine Méo-Camuzet Domaine Méo-Camuzet was founded at the beginning of the last century when Mr Étienne Camuzet began to select vineyards whose location and reputation were of particular interest to him. His daughter, Maria Noirot, inherited his vineyards but she herself had no children so, at her death in 1959, she bequeathed the domain to Jean Méo, who was then working in the staff of Général de Gaulle. Maria Noirot et Jean Méo were distant relatives but the two families had close ties and Maria's will stated that "all should carry on", which of course has been respected. At that period, vintners under 'métayage', a sort of sharecropping agreement, were in charge of the vineyards and winemaking. Jean Méo sold his portion of wines to famous local merchants. This agreement enabled him to pursue his Parisian career while keeping an eye on his Burgundian estate. As of 1985, the estate began selling under its own label, directly from the cellars. And after 1988, it progressively took charge of the vineyards as the contacts with the vintners expired. Jean-Nicolas Méo, son of Jean Méo, then took responsibility and is now in charge of technical and administrative matters.

 

Jean Méo and his wife, Nicole, had three children: Isabelle, Angeline and Jean-Nicolas.

In 1984, Jean Méo proposed that his son should take over the reins of the estate. Just 20 years old and a student at ESCP (the Paris business school), Jean-Nicolas had had no preparation to become a winegrower. After eight days considering the proposal, he agreed to give it a try, finished his studies in France (not without making a detour via the University of Burgundy to study oenology) and set off for the USA, at the University of Pennsylvania, finally coming back to live in Vosne-Romanée from 1989 onwards. It was then that he began to immerse himself in the estate, the vineyards, and the winemaking with his father as his mentor, of course, but also Henri Jayer, who was taking retirement but agreed, nonetheless, to share with him his technical know-how and his art of winemaking. Christian Faurois, son and nephew of other historic tenant farmers, taught him about growing vines and passed on to him his passion for the vineyard.

 

Taking advantage of the wind of change which was beginning to blow around the region, Jean-Nicolas expressed his opinions, tried new experiments and succeeded in creating a method, very much his own, which he has never stopped refining.

 

At this time, the sale of wine in bottles with the Méo-Camuzet estate label had already begun (with the 1983 vintage). This was the decision of Jean Méo, who had immediately aimed at a high level of exports, particularly to the USA. Previously, the wines had been sold to négociants in Beaune or Nuits and the few bottles kept for the family carried the Camuzet or Veuve Noirot-Camuzet label marked "Jean Méo, propriétaire à Vosne-Romanée”.

 

Our new winegrower, having graduated from a business school, promoted his wines by creating an international distribution network, and was to be selected by the most famous sommeliers, which explains the unique position enjoyed by Méo-Camuzet in the great restaurants around the world.

 

By 2008, the tenant farmers had all taken retirement and Jean-Nicolas now farmed all of the estate's vineyards. His main difficulty was managing the insufficient supply in a context of increasing demand. At the turn of the century, therefore, he decided, in collaboration with his sisters, to set up a new company: as négociants, they could meet that demand a little better and widen the range in order to take in more affordable wines.

Thus was born the Méo-Camuzet Frère & Soeurs company, with its own specific label. Jean-Nicolas' conception of négoce, though, is not the traditional one. Indeed, he buys harvests, on the vine, in Fixin, Marsannay, Bourgogne or other vineyards, but that doesn't mean just buying grapes. Several interventions are carried out during the growing season by the estate's teams, and most of these plots are monitored for several years, which makes it possible to get to know them as well as the grower does. In fact, it's very much like renting land.

Today, the Méo-Camuzet is among the most renowned estates in Burgundy.

Jean-Nicolas and his team continue to work on the nose and the taste of their wines, showing respect for nature and passion for the terroir and their profession. Jean-Nicolas is married. With his wife, Nathalie, they have three children: Adrien, born in 1993, Tristan, in 1996, and Séverin, in 2000.

 

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Vineyards

The objective of the estate is to produce wines that combine structure and finesse, concentration and charm. This balance must be achieved, while respecting the personality of the terroir and the vintage. To do this, it's necessary to show a great deal of respect at each stage of the wine-making process. And that must start in the vineyard!

Various procedures are implemented to realise these objectives: our viticulture seeks to favour the natural balances and reveal the terroir, yields are kept under control, harvesting is carried out carefully by hand and grapes are sorted prior to our winemaking procedure characterised by minimum interference. This encourages the fineness, the expression of the fruit and the personality of each wine rather than just extraction. Maturing is carried out carefully, with the extensive but controlled use of new casks. The wines are bottled without being fined or filtered. 

Have a look at our practices in more detail, from the vineyard to bottling. Each stage is important and has its role to play in the production of a great wine.

 

He is helped in these tasks by Henri Jayer who advises him on winemaking and by Christian Faurois, vineyard manager. The objective is to make wines with structure and delicacy - with concentration as well as charm. The balance of a wine is essential: refinement and complexity are the hallmarks of great wines and represent the desired goals throughout the wine making and ageing processes. Of course, this notion cannot be separated from that of terroir. For many years, the wine estate has rejected the use of chemicals alone and attempts to encourage a natural balance by using authorized organic agricultural products and specific practices, including ploughing, by paying particular attention to the vine-growing techniques which attempt to prevent diseases and keep yields in check. These practices are not just for show: their objective is to achieve a harmony between the vine and its environment and to allow the terroir and climate, specific to each vintage, to express themselves.

Production area: 6ha Grape varieties: Pinot Noir Average age of vines: 50 years Harvest method: Winemaking: Ageing: in new oak casks

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Winemaking

Temperature control is the essential contribution which modern techniques have made to our work, which, apart from that, remains very traditional. It enables us to make a marketable wine, even if excessive standardisation of vinification would quickly lead to trivialisation.

The grapes are put into the vats where they stay for 3 to 5 days, macerating in their juice while the temperature is still low (15°C/60°F), before fermentation begins naturally. During fermentation, temperature control is maintained just to protect the wines from exceeding a critical threshold (34-35°C/93-95°F). It is better for this fermentation cycle, which lasts between two and three weeks, to come to an end slowly, and our concrete vats help us to maintain mild temperatures which fall slowly.

There is not much extraction, the harvest does not undergo too much treatment or manipulation: little sulphur, little chaptalisation or acidification, only pigeages at the end of the fermentation. That is how the individual character of each wine can express itself... but the grapes must be of excellent quality from the beginning!

 

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Inside information

Is Burgundy complicated? Not its principle, at least! Four levels of AOC exist, representing increasing degrees of quality:

- 'Régionale': the wine bears the name of the region or the sub-region in which it is produced; this could be simply 'Bourgogne', for example, or 'Bourgogne Hautes Côtes de Nuits'.

- 'Communale': the wine bears the name of the village from which it originates; 'Vosne-Romanée', 'Nuits St-Georges' are well-known examples.

- 'Premier cru': the wine bears the name of both the village and the vineyard plot in which it is produced; for example, we may find 'Nuits St Georges aux Murgers' or 'Vosne Romanée les Chaumes'. The term 'premier cru' is often mentioned to avoid any confusion.

- 'Grand cru': it is considered unnecessary to refer to the village, and only the name of vineyard plot will be mentioned, as in 'Échezeaux' or 'Richebourg', or to quote the most famous of them all, 'Romanée-Conti'.

When you look at the map, it is interesting to see the position of these categories. The best locations, 'premiers' and 'grands crus', lie at the foot of the hill, before the slope becomes too steep. This is where the best soil, not too deep, not too poor, and the best climate are to be found. This pattern is common to the whole of Burgundy, with a few historical interferences, of course.

 

 The objective is to make wines with structure and delicacy - with concentration as well as charm. The balance of a wine is essential: refinement and complexity are the hallmarks of great wines and represent the desired goals throughout the wine making and ageing processes. Of course, this notion cannot be separated from that of terroir.

Various procedures are implemented to carry out this objective: vine-growing techniques that try to favour the natural balances, reveal the terroir and keep yields in check, careful harvesting by hand, and sorting grapes prior to a winemaking procedure characterized by minimum interference. This encourages the freshness, the expression of the fruit and the personality of each wine rather than simple extraction. Maturing in barrels is a well-planned affair with an extensive use of new barrels; the wines are bottled by gravity not using filtration.

Study our practices in detail, from the vineyard to bottling. Each stage is important and plays its part in the making of a great wine.

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22 different wines with 212 vintages

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