Tasting with Patrick Essa in his newly extended cellars (they have recently bought the house next door and purloined its cellar) much of the discussion revolved around the harvest date. This is something on which Patrick doesn’t always conform, and indeed in 2017 he harvested later than most starting on 4th September escaping, as he pointed out, two days of rain and picking grapes which he maintains were perfectly ripe and in no need of chaptalisation. Yields were about 40 hl/ha on the village wines and 38hl/ha for the premier crus.
The Buisson family has been in Meursault for more than seven generations and occupy an old house on the road out of the village which leads to Puligny-Montrachet. It surrounds a small yard – flower-filled in summer – the house on the left, the bottling and order preparation ahead and the stairs down to the cellar on the right. A fruitful run of vintages and growing demand for their wines have enabled them to buy the neighbouring house and knock its cellars into theirs’. The domaine is now run by Catherine who came back to the estate in 2002 and her sports teacher husband, Patrick Essa, who confesses he now spends more and more time in the cellar and less on the touch lines. Patrick has had sole charge of winemaking since 2009 and is not shy of ruffling a few feathers in the village! This commonly revolves around vintage dates and his preference for later picking. He simply prefers the riper, richer style of Meursault to the lighter, lemony style favoured by many of his ilk. In our book there is definitely room for both styles! The Buisson-Charles domaine extends to 6 ha of vines, many of them old, which are worked organically but the estate is not certified, giving them the option to save an exceptionally difficult vintage using conventional treatments. The wines spend 12 months in oak but Patrick doesn’t like woody wines giving them just enough to complement the fruit. The resulting wines are incredibly concentrated and can age remarkably well. He also makes a little Chablis and Corton-Charlemagne.