Maison Harbour, Meursault Premier Cru “Blagny”
Maison Harbour, Meursault Premier Cru “Blagny”

Maison Harbour, Meursault Premier Cru “Blagny”

Burgundy, France 2020 (750mL)
Regular price$115.00
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Maison Harbour, Meursault Premier Cru “Blagny”

Perched right where vine rows end and forest begins, immediately upslope from the celebrated “Perrières” Grand Cru and right along the communal boundary with Puligny-Montrachet, are the vineyards of Meursault-Blagny. This is some exalted Burgundy real estate, which makes it all the more impressive that an upstart like Maison Harbour managed to obtain organically farmed fruit from two of Blagny’s prized Premier Cru vineyards. 


More impressive still is how good this wine is. It is very good—precision balanced, lusciously textured in grand Meursault style, but also hinting at its high-altitude sources with a level of tension that was hard to come by in the ultra-ripe 2020 vintage. Not too shabby for a couple who didn’t really start making wine in Burgundy until 2014, and I’d go as far as to place this alongside the best Meursaults we’ve tasted lately. They may be American and Canadian, respectively, but Nicholas and Colleen Harbour are also Burgundian in a very real way. Theirs is a dream-becomes-reality story with a fairytale ending, as evidenced by the extraordinary wine in the bottle. Less than 75 cases were produced!


Nicholas and Colleen were expats who met and fell in love in Luxembourg, where they eventually both landed jobs in finance. When they decided they’d had enough of that life and wanted to pursue careers in wine, they moved to Savigny-Les-Beaune and got right to it. Nick enrolled in enology school in Beaune (despite not speaking French) and Colleen got an internship at Maison Champy. In 2013, through work and school connections, they managed to purchase grapes from some growers in Gevrey-Chambertin and Chassagne-Montrachet, and their micro-négociant operation was up and running. 


They both held “day jobs” in those early years (and Colleen still works for legendary Burgundy broker Becky Wasserman & Co., which has added Maison Harbour to its esteemed portfolio), but these days Nick is able to focus on their venture full-time. Now in their ninth vintage, Maison Harbour is producing around 1,000 cases across 13 different wines. These include today’s glistening Meursault-Blagny but some other brand-name vineyard designates, among them a Chassagne-Montrachet “En Remilly” and reds from Grand Crus Charmes-Chambertin and Corton.


Within two Premier Crus in Blagny (Sous le Dos d'Ane; La Pièce Sous le Bois), the Harbours have access to less than half an acre of vines—so really, we’re talking about a few rows of organically and biodynamically farmed Chardonnay from vineyards situated tantalizingly close to the should-be-Grand-Cru “Perrieres” vineyard. The grapes are whole-cluster pressed and subjected to an ambient-yeast fermentation before aging for 12 months in mostly used French oak barrels (228L capacity). Following the oak aging, the wine is racked back into tank for additional aging before bottling. Only 885 bottles were produced. 


Maybe it was the Blagny altitudes that helped this 2020 retain such invigorating freshness—although it is also Meursault through and through, luscious and succulent as all get-out. There isn’t a huge oak presence on the wine, so it behaves a bit like a rich style of Puligny, with lots of crystalline minerality and white-flower aromatics. Layered aromas and flavors of ripe yellow apple, lemon/lime blossoms, white peach, fresh cream, and crushed chalk are delivered in a full-bodied, palate-coating package, but the wine also displays tremendous focus—it is muscular and powerful but not at all fat. Decant it 30 minutes before serving in large all-purpose stems at 50 degrees and prepare something suitably rich and a touch buttery to really bring out the wine’s best. If you’re so inclined, this wine will age, too—at least five years but likely much more. What an exciting find—if you’re a white Burgundy fanatic, this is a name you need to know! 


Maison Harbour, Meursault Premier Cru “Blagny”
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France

Bourgogne

Beaujolais

Enjoying the greatest wines of Beaujolais starts, as it usually does, with the lay of the land. In Beaujolais, 10 localities have been given their own AOC (Appellation of Controlled Origin) designation. They are: Saint Amour; Juliénas; Chénas; Moulin-à Vent; Fleurie; Chiroubles; Morgon; Régnié; Côte de Brouilly; and Brouilly.

Southwestern France

Bordeaux

Bordeaux surrounds two rivers, the Dordogne and Garonne, which intersect north of the city of Bordeaux to form the Gironde Estuary, which empties into the Atlantic Ocean. The region is at the 45th parallel (California’s Napa Valley is at the38th), with a mild, Atlantic-influenced climate enabling the maturation of late-ripening varieties.

Central France

Loire Valley

The Loire is France’s longest river (634 miles), originating in the southerly Cévennes Mountains, flowing north towards Paris, then curving westward and emptying into the Atlantic Ocean near Nantes. The Loire and its tributaries cover a huge swath of central France, with most of the wine appellations on an east-west stretch at47 degrees north (the same latitude as Burgundy).

Northeastern France

Alsace

Alsace, in Northeastern France, is one of the most geologically diverse wine regions in the world, with vineyards running from the foothills of theVosges Mountains down to the Rhine River Valley below.

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