Michel Bardet at Domaine Albert Grivault in Meursault.

los des Perrières is a monopole right in the middle of Perrières, one of the premier crus at the southern end of Meursault. The last time this vineyard changed hands was when Albert Grivault bought it in 1879.

– My grandfather bought it the year after the phylloxera first appeared in Meursault, says Michel Bardet. The clos is very different from the rest of Perrières. It’s not at all the same thing.

The whole of Perrières covers a 13.21 ha, including the 0.9452 ha of Clos des Perrières. The clos is surrounded by Perrières on three sides. Below is the road which separates Perrières from Charmes.

Clos des Perrières, Meursault, Burgundy.– If you draw a line from the bottom left corner of Clos des Perrières to the upper right corner you have two different types of soil, continues Michel Bardet. The upper left part is Bathonian soil, whereas the other part is colluvial soil, the same as in Charmes on the other side of the road.

Albert Grivault had very few vineyards when he bought Clos des Perrières. He had been studying in Dijon and his goal was to become a banker. His mother did not approve at all though. His father had just died and Albert Grivault was told by his mother that he was to stay in Meursault. Instead they invested the money from the father’s butcher’s shop in a distillery in Béziers.

Clos des Perrières, Meursault, Burgundy.– Around this time he also began buying more vineyards in Burgundy, says Michel Bardet. Buying was risky because of the phylloxera, but it turned out well in the end.

Domaine Albert Grivault grew to cover 15 hectares. Appellations such as Meursault Charmes, Clos de Vougeot and Meursault Perrières outside the clos were added. Later, in 1904, Albert Grivault would donate the Meursault Charmes vineyard to the Hospices de Beaune, where the wine still is auctioned as Cuvée Albert Grivault every year.

After Albert Grivault the domaine came to a halt. The new generation did not take on the vineyards. Instead they were let to other growers and it was not until 1974 that the domaine returned to life.

Clos des Perrières, Meursault, Burgundy.– During the Great Depression in the 1930s our mother decided to put the vineyards on métayage, says Michel Bardet.

For Michel Bardet, born in 1938, this meant there were no family vineyards available when he grew up and began thinking what to do in life. Instead he became an electrical engineer. It was not until later, when the share-cropping arrangements came to an end, that he began thinking in terms of a career change.

– My sisters and I created a company in 1980 where we rented the vineyards from our mother. I was the manager until 1988 or 1989. Then my second sister stepped in. Today it is my daughter Claire.

Clos du Murger, Meursault, Burgundy.As a result of the share-cropping years part of the Meursault Perrières of Domaine Albert Grivault is still sold to others.

– It’s a loyalty thing, because they bought regularly from my mother when the vineyards were on métayage. Lalou Bize-Leroy buys 600 bottles. She is the only one buying in bottle. She re-corks them with her own corks. Chanson buys two barrels and Drouhin three. Boisset Ropiteau also buys two barrels and Colin in Saint-Aubin one. We keep 30 barrels here at the domaine.

Today’s Domaine Albert Grivault is considerably smaller than when Michel Bardet’s grandfather used to run the estate. There are six hectares in total. Roughly five in white and one in red. All four white wines of the domaine come from Meursault. There are the two already mentioned‚ Clos des Perrières and Perrières, and there are the village appellation Meursault and the Bourgogne blanc, both of which come from the vineyard just behind the domaine in the very centre of Meursault. The latter two are actually the same vineyard, Clos du Murger, split in two.

Domaine Albert Grivault, Meursault, Burgundy.– After the phylloxera only the upper part of Clos du Murger was replanted, explains Michel Bardet. That is the reason why the lower part is still only classified as generic Bourgogne. During World War II the upper part was uprooted and remained like that for close to three decades. In 1971 my mother received a phone call from the INAO telling her that Clos du Murger was about to lose its appellation Meursault status. Because when a vineyard has not been planted for 30 years it is downgraded to the appellation below. But mother was very quick to replant and the classification was saved.

About three decades later work began with the replanting of the Bourgogne part. The two wines share the same characteristics, but the difference in vine age gives the Meursault more depth.

Clos des Perrières, Meursault, Burgundy.Domaine Albert Grivault is on lutte raisonnée. The only red of the domaine is the Pommard Clos Blanc, which you’ll have on your right side just before you enter the village from the Beaune side.

– We de-stem 100 per cent, says Michel Bardet. I’ve done a bit of experimenting with the red. It’s a Pommard after all, so it should be able to take some stems. But a Pommard tends to benefit less from it than the Côte de Nuits wines, because the tannins are tough. Pommard is the Bordeaux of Burgundy, that’s why I de-stem 100 per cent.

– We produce 20 barrels annually at the most of the Pommard Clos Blanc. In the vineyard you have veins of white marl, calcaire à entroques and alluvial deposits. There is a spring up in the small valley behind Epenots. This runs underground across Epenots and then crosses the corner of Clos Blanc.

© 2019 Ola Bergman