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Average critic rating : 95.0 points
The 2011 Meursault 1er Cru Les Perrieres is like a coiled spring: introverted at first and demonstrating just a touch of reduction, but the untrammelled mineralite is evident. The palate is taut and linear, very well-defined with a tantalizing build toward its precise, mineral-rich finish that is so very?Perrieres. This fabulous Meursault deserves several years in bottle so that it can really strut its stuff. Drink 2017-2035. ||As I had anticipated, Raphael Coche requested that I visit after he had clocked off for the day. No problem – I’d rather he focuses on the vines than appease the demands of us “pesky” wine writers. This was actually my first visit to the domaine, which seems odd because it is many moons since I first fell in love with Jean-Francois Coche’s wines at a memorable tasting in London in the late 1990s. Since then, Raphael, still in his early thirties, has deftly slipped into his father’s shoes. Tall and the spitting image of papa, I had been forewarned that Raphael can be reticent at times. On the contrary, he was refreshingly garrulous, chatting not only about his own wines but enthusing about Pomerol after I espied a dusty bottle of 1987 Petrus incongruously perched on the shelf. In my opinion, and indeed others’, Raphael has subtly tweaked the style and perhaps even improved on what was already a winning formula. Recent vintages seem more consistent, perhaps even more aligned with their respective terroirs. On this visit, we tasted through most of the domaine’s 2011s that had been bottled the previous spring and are currently on the market. Raphael spoke enthusiastically about the 2011 vintage and rightly so. There is a natural sensibility to these wines, an approachability that is not always evident in their wines, proceeding to compare them to the 2001 vintage. My experience of this domaine’s wines means that I am happy to put long drinking windows for even the village crus, which I often reward a decade in bottle. Personally, I have found less premature oxidation at this address than others, in particular with respect to younger vintages, though nobody is totally immune. eRobertParker.com.April, 2014
Coche-Dury: The Importance
Even critics seldom get to taste the top wines of Coche Dury, but the last two decades have seen the elusive and mysterious Jean-François Coche emerge as “the essence of Burgundy’s vigneron culture,” in Antonio Galloni’s words. And as John Gilman observes, “Jean-François Coche’s name is now murmured with the same respectful awe that is reserved for Henri Jayer. From three starred Michelin restaurants to the auction floors of New York and London, it is the white wines of Monsieur Coche that are the most ardently sought after.” Jancis Robinson tells her readers that he is “perhaps the single most intriguing winemaker I visit. The ‘King of Meursault’ and ‘the best winemaker in Burgundy’ are just two expressions coined to describe the legendary J.F Coche-Dury.” However she also adds that “if you want to visit Coche-Dury you are almost certainly out of luck,” and sure enough, although Robert Parker acclaims Coche-Dury as “one of the greatest winemakers on planet Earth,” he himself never got the chance to taste at the Domaine. Scores have little bearing on the market for Coche, since whatever is available is bought up at lightning speed by fans of the Domaine.
Coche-Dury: The Insight
“The two crown jewels amongst the white wines in the Coche cellar are the Meursault-Perrières and the Corton-Charlemagne”, writes John Gilman. Surprisingly, Coche makes only one Grand Cru wine: Corton-Charlemagne, which Neal Martin describes as “liquid mineral. Imagine a limestone quarry being melted down and then distilled multiple times until there is just enough to fill your wine glass.” Coche makes Burgundy’s most sought-after Premier Cru whites: Meursault-Les-Perrières, Meursault Genevrières and Meursault Caillerets. The Meursault Villages, and lieu-dits like Meursault Rougeots, Meursault Vireuils and Puligny Montrachet Les Enseignères are also noteworthy. Some red wines are made: Auxey Duresses, Monthelie, a Volnay Premier Cru, and up until 2013 a parcel in Pommard called “Vaumuriens” which was sold to fund the purchase of more Corton-Charlemagne. One whole third of the Coche’s 9 hectare total production is regularly declassified and labelled generically, which partly explains the high quality level of the Coche Bourgogne Blanc and Bourgogne Aligoté, which in Galloni’s words “emphasizes crystalline focus, energy and tension” and can match many a Meursault for quality.
All the white wines are famous for their “prodigious resistance to premature oxidation,” in the words of Jancis Robinson, who explains that the influence of the Domaine’s house style is “at least partially responsible for the international trend of ‘struck match’ Chardonnay making” as countless others, both in Burgundy and elsewhere, have adopted more closed, tightly-knit styles for their Chardonnay to emulate the long ageing potential of Coche-Dury. The independent consumers’ website Oxidised-Burgs classes Coche-Dury among those producers “who have very little premature oxidation as a percentage of bottles opened and indeed seem to have no higher incidence of premature oxidation since 1994 than they did before.” The only other members of this category are François Ravenau in Chablis, DRC, and the affiliated Domaines Leroy and d’Auvenay.
Miniscule yields from ancient vines, meticulously sensitive vinification and no filtration before bottling give the Coche-Dury wines their characteristic intensely concentrated fruit and crisp but balanced acidity. They also have the potential to age for a very long time. The white wines of Coche-Dury have cult status, with prices and rarity to match. The red wines, which are made in a soft, gentle style, are often overlooked, and offer a perfumed and seductive style of Pinot Noir.
Coche-Dury: The Background
“The true golden age of Coche began,” according to John Gilman, in 1972 when a young Jean-François Coche took over the small Meursault-based Domaine that was founded by his grandfather Léon Coche in 1920. In 1975 he married Odile Dury, and the merging of their family estates gave the name we see on labels today. Jean-François was very meticulous in the vineyard and in cellar, but the secret to his enormous and unique success is still a mystery. According to Steve Öhman, “there are no secrets, just hard work in the vineyards.” While he tops up his barrels as often as possible to prevent oxidation, Jancis Robinson remarks that “he is one of the very few Burgundy growers who definitively does not want you to pour the remains of your precious wine sample back into the barrel.” As a character she finds him “miraculously unworldly. He really does care for little other than his precious vines and the barrels that he tends under the most modest of modern villas on the outskirts [of Meursault].” Since 2003 his son Raphael Coche has gradually taken over the day-to-day work at the Domaine, though it appears Jean-François still plays an important role. Tasting the 2013s from barrel, Allen Meadows finds Raphael still referencing his father’s remarks on the mildew-stricken vintage, which reminded him of 1968.
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