2018 Marcelle de Changey Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru Abbaye de Morgeot
Here is one of our best white Burgundy finds of the year. Yes, we held it until the end of the year but we did so in order that the wine would be in perfect form for the holidays, well rested from its travels (but snuck in under the tariff!). It is the dynamic combination of great vintage, a fantastic producer and an amazing vineyard. In Burgundy, the vineyard matters most, so we will start there:
Now this story gets a little bit complicated (and the French being French, I have heard multiple contradictory versions) but I promise you, the taste in the bottle is worth it.
The village of Chassagne Montrachet is relatively easy to track down – it’s the southern end of the big three white Burgundy villages with a touch of Grand Cru vineyards splashed in at the north.
The Abbaye de Morgeot is a bit harder to track down, and it depends on whose map you’re using. The Morgeot vineyard taken as a whole comprises 17 different lieuxs-dits vineyards, all of them Premier Cru. Some produces use the large designation of Premier Cru Morgeot [no further designation] but most producers aimed at the height of artistic expression will give you the lieu-dit as well. La Boudriotte and Les Fairendes (just to flex my Burgundy muscles) almost always being declared because its commonly agreed that these are two of the best sites within the large Morgeot vineyard.
And then there is the Abbaye de Morgeot – the absolute top of Morgeot and, some would claim, should be Grand Cru. Named for the order of Cistercian monks who once inhabited a large residence there, it was the Latin word for border, having been an important dividing line between the now Cote d’Or and the Saone-et-Loire during Roman times. Inherited at some point by Marie de Bourgogne, daughter of Charles the Rash, the last Duke of Burgundy (d. 1477), it was put to the torch, burning the entire property down save for a bread oven and small chapel.
So to sum up – my claim is that an ancient pizza oven is proof! Proof! That the Abbaye de Morgeot is Grand Cru.
Actually it’s a little bit more complicated: The vineyards that surrounding the Cistercian pizza oven are in one of the best exposures of Moregeot. On a gradual incline and southeast exposure, the grapes here ripen perfectly in the morning sun yet are shielded from the later afternoon soon. In this microclimate the grapes ripen slowly and evenly, but retain acidity. Given this perfect aspect and position, adding in the great vintage of 2018, and in the deft hands of the talented (aforementioned) Laurence Danel at Marcelle de Changey, you have an amazing white Burgundy on your hands.
Aromas of green apple, verbena, honeysuckle and hazelnut all float from the glass like the warm smell of a freshly baked green apple pie spiked with a touch of ginger and sprinkled with candied lemon verbena. The palate continues this seamlessly with a level of depth of flavor that draws forth additional notes of honey and ripe pear. Rounded and luxurious, the wine boasts a profound minerality with a diamond-precise attack and incredible persistence. I love drinking my white Burgundies young when they have all their roly-poly baby fat richness with them. But there is no need to rush, this wine has at least 15 more years to develop in your cellar.
As Jasper Morris MW puts it, “good Morgeot blanc has weight, power, profundity and the ability to deliver wines with considerable gaining potential.” And as you might guess, none of these things come cheaply. Take a look around, Louis Jadot’s Abbaye de Morgeot is $130 a bottle. Benjamin Leroux’s $150 – and some even higher. In this great of a vineyard, I’d expect to pay that much. But I don’t have to and neither do you. We got one heck of a deal on a very short supply. Don’t miss it.