Today Jean-Nicholas Meo has a brilliant reputation as the head of the respected Meo-Camuzet estate in Vosne-Romanee, but actually he spent much of his life in Paris with his politician father. The Meo family had inherited the property in 1959, but as was common in those days, the family arranged for a local farmer to cultivate the vines in exchange for a percentage of the profits.
Yet in the 1980s, perhaps due to the rising popularity of Burgundy under the influence of critics such as Robert Parker, Jean-Nicholas’s father decided to work the land and bottle the wine within the family. With that, in 1985 Jean-Nicholas was sent to Burgundy to oversee the developing new business.
Though at the time he know little about wine, he learned fast, found the right mentors, and in the fullness of time shaped up the vines, and modernized the winery despite financial constraints. He was also able to acquire Grand Cru plots in Richebourg, Clos de Vougeot, Corton Clos Rognet, Échezeaux, and ten ten premier crus (from the communes of Vosne-Romanée, Nuits-St-Georges, Chambolle-Musigny, and Fixin), several village wines, one Bourgogne Rouge, and one white. Jean-Nicholas also has a domaine in Oregon’s Willamette Valley called Nicholas-Jay with partner Jay Boberg.
Today Meo-Camuzet is distributed all over the world, and celebrated by critics. Jeanne-Marie de Champs of the exporting house Domaine et Saveurs represents Meo-Camuzet and brought me to the winery to taste the new vintage.
As was the case in my earlier visits, the tasting was held in the chilly cellar – actually a common occurrence in Burgundy as oppose
d to other regions where guests often sit in a formal room or around a tasting table. The tasting showcased these wine as delicate and fine even when young, with a great deal of finesse, concentration of fruit, and intensity of flavor along with a long length. The Oregon wine was also tasted, fuller bodied and quite delicious.
I came to know Jean-Nicholas a bit better at a dinner at Jeanne-Marie’s home a few days later, but it is fair to say when you taste a Meo-Cazumet wine, you also (mentally) taste a lot of Jean-Nicholas’s efforts in the glass.