Jean-Philippe Fichet is a grower from Meursault who is driven by the desire to make great wines. From the second you enter his immaculate cave you know there will be serious wine to be found. The spotless converted barn close by l'Hôpital in Meursault is airconditioned and provides a welcome relief from his scattered and cramped conditions of a few years ago. Jean-Philippe's father bottled a few wines himself but mostly sold in bulk. The Bourgogne Blanc, Meursault Criots, Gruyaches and Puligny Montrachet Referts come from him. The other wines are on share-cropping agreements with various owners. Fichet’s big step forward came in 2000 when he moved the whole operation to splendid cellars at ‘Le Creux du Coche’ by the Hôpital de Meursault where he has been able to oversee all aspects of vinification and maturation with much greater efficiency. He has a negociant’s licence to enable him to buy the owners part of the wines he makes under the share-cropping system, as well as his brother’s and sister’s vines. Jean-Philippe is looking for purity in his wines. He uses whole bunches when the grapes are fully ripe, but crushes some in less ripe years before pressing. The juice is left to settle for 12 hours and the fine lees are retained. They may occasionally be stirred but as gently as possible.
Gruyaches is tucked in under Charmes, on the Premier Cru side of the road to Puligny. The oldest vines date to 1930. It’s as good, if not better, than some Premier Cru Charmes, just above it. The site is warm, with clay over limestone, but the old vines give moderation. The wine is intense, honeyed, layered and harmonious.