Vertical Tasting of Domaine Meo-Camuzet's Vosne-Romanee aux Brulees

A special vertical tasting of Domaine Meo-Camuzet's Vosne-Romanee aux Brulees in November gave me a perfect opportunity to compare multiple vintages of one of my favorite premier cru bottings of Burgundy, one that is well-represented in my personal cellar.

Meo-Camuzet only began bottling wines under its own label in 1985, with the legendary Henri Jayer vinifying the first few vintages.  As more of its vineyards reverted back to the estate's control after rental agreements expired in the late '80s (share-cropping agreements with Jayer ended with the 1987 harvest), Jean Meo's son Jean-Nicolas arrived at the family domain in 1989; 1988 was the last vintage made entirely by Jayer, who stayed on in a consulting role until 1998.

Meo's piece of Brulees is located in the southeast corner of the cru, just beneath Richebourg, on a gentle east-facing slope on fairly shallow, rocky soil with bedrock not far below.  It's situated at the beginning of a combe (a small anticlinal valley, or a notch in the hillside), which opens the site up to cooling breezes from the west.

Most of Meo-Camuzet's holding in Brulees was planted in the 1930s, and about 60% of the original vines are still producing fruit.  Tiny millerand berries are widespread among the old vines, guaranteeing concentration and creaminess of texture in the wines, and crop levels are moderate even in copious years.

Jean-Nicolas Meo purchased a sorting table in time for the 1990 harvest, making him one of the first in the region after Domaine Leroy and Domaine de la Romanee-Conti to own one.  Following the philosophy of Jayer, who sought to make enjoyable wines that were pleasant and attractive yet deep too (he referred to them as "vins gourmands"), Meo has always destemmed 100% of his fruit and vinified the Brulees in 100% new oak.  Handling of the fruit between the vineyard and the cuverie is gentle, as is extraction during vinification, which begins with a cold soak that typically lasts three to five days, then features pumpovers at the beginning of the fermentation and punchdowns toward the end.

Alas, there are only an average of seven barrels of Brulees (about 2,100 bottles) for the world.  But that's considerably more than there is of Meo's Cros Parantoux (three barrels) and Richebourg (four barrels).

The following wines were tasted at the domain in November.

Show all the wines (sorted by score)

--Stephen Tanzer