Meursault 1er Cru "Charmes" 1971, Potinet-Ampeau

With trepidation I opened this Meursault-Charmes 1971 from Potinet-Ampeau. After 35 years in the bottle the ullage was at the lower neck, the cork slightly crumbly, and the label soiled. Initially after decanting, the aromas were flat and unpleasant. Flavours on the palate hard to assess or appreciate. We left the wine in the decanter overnight and the impression changed dramatically when tasted at the ideal time of 11am. These are the tasting notes after 12 hours in the decanter.

Deep amber and consistent colour. Wonderful clarity. Aromas of dry autumnal leaves, hay bales, sherry, fragrant honey, essence of chardonnay, dried apricots, and walnuts. Slightly sour dried yellow fruit flavour, surprisingly mouth-filling initially then shrinks into itself. Remarkably integrated with fresh acidity at the finish. Ethereal not powerful. Fascinating rather than impressive. Suitable accompaniments: fine foods with delicate flavours such as unsmoked hams, poached salmon, or blanquette de volaille with grapes.


  1. Anonymous5:27 AM

    I thought typically a very old wine has only a very short windows to drink before it turned flat (usually within the first 2 hours and not decanting). It is fasinating that it gets better.

  2. Hi, Richard thanks for the comment. The lively acidity in the Meursault is what kept it alive in the decanter. My takeaway is that mature white wines need to be decanted at least 4 hours in advance and served at room temperature not chilled. You need the warmer temperature to help the fragile aromas oxygenate. Still have some 1966!

  3. Anonymous7:33 AM

    I have tried mostly old Burgundy and old bordeaux which I always save some to see how it evolves, but usually they do not improve after 3-4 hours. I guess they are different after oxygenate. The nose has the most apparent difference (not necessarily better but just different) and the palate turns to be more subtle and mellow but lacking the attack and complexity. Perhaps it is just a personal preference. I found that it is very difficult to locate the optimal drinking window especially with older wine since every bottle is different. In general, I'd rather drink it too young than too old. My usual rule of thumb is no decanting and drink slowly with small pour after opening for 1 hours and drink it over the next 2 hours. This way I found I get the most utility out of the wine to experience the different phases of the wine development.


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