Coche-Dury – King of Meursault

Domaine J.-F. Coche-Dury is one of the very best white wine producers in the world, thus also in Burgundy. The Domaine is located in Meursault, and most of the wines comes from the appelation.

Coche-Dury’s a bit of a myth among wine connoisseurs, and I have therefore tried to get behind the scene, and analyzed the great success and popularity Coche has achieved.

Domaine was founded in 1920 by Jean-Francois Coche grandfather. Jean-Francois took over the domaine in the mid-1970s from his father, Georges. Jean-Francois Coche was in 1975 married Odile Dury and this led to the formation of Coche-Dury domaine. Today he runs the domaine with his son Raphael, who has been involved in work at the domaine since 1999.

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Vinification at Domaine Coche-Dury

Coche-Dury is by all standards one of the best producers of white Burgundy, a position he has occupied for more than 20 years. The most impressive is that he has done so without a large portfolio of Grand Cru vineyards. Coche-Dury has a rather modest production and maintains a very high quality – from AOC Bourgogne to the top of the range. Production approx. 4,200 cases annually.

Coche-Dury put great emphasis on work done in the vineyards, when he is asked about his fantastic succes. There a no secrets he says, just hard work in the vineyards. The vines are pruned fairly heavily, and he only use “green harvest” very rarely. They use no form of pesticides in wine production at Coche Dury, fields plowed and cultivated very carefully to maintain the ecological balance.

Vinificationen is fairly traditional, but with quite frequent battonage. Fermentation takes place on oak cask, and the proportion of new oak varies from year to year, but generally Coche-Dury uses quite a lot new oak. In some years they have used up to 50% new casks on the top wines. The wines are raised in barral for 15 to 22 months, and are bottled without filtration.

Coche Dury – vineyards and wines

Domaine Coche-Dury is today almost 9 acres, of which approximately 6 acres Chardonnay, while the rest is Pinot Noir and Aligote.

The production of wine are scattered in a large number of vineyards, see the table below, and on most of these vineyards Coche-Dury have less than one hectare. The 4.25 ha Meursault village is spread over 5 to 6 parcels typically vinified and bottled separately. In reality there are no wine from the Domaine which is harvested on more than 1 ha of Vineyard, and therefore the quantities of all wines are quite limited.

As seen from the table the vines in several vineyards of very old, and this is perhaps one explanation for the extraordinary quality Coche achieve.

Vineyard: Grape varieties Vine age Soil Area
Bourgogne Blanc Chardonney 1930, 1958, 1975 Clay & Limestone 1 ha
Meursault Chardonney varies Clay & Limestone 4,25 ha
Meursault Les Rougeots Chardonney 1940, 1962, 1973 Clay & Limestone 0,7 ha
Meursault Les Chevalieres Chardonney 1958 Clay & Limestone 0,12 ha
Puligny Montrachet Les Enseigneresc Chardonney 1930 – 1952 Clay & Limestone 0,5 ha
Meursault Perrieres 1er cru Chardonney 1950, 1970, 2005 Limestone 0,5 ha
Meursault Caillerets 1er cru Chardonney 1960 Limestone 0,33 ha
Meursault Genevrieres 1er cru Chardonney na Limestone na
Corton Charlemagne Grand Cru Chardonney 1960 Clay & Limestone 0,33 ha
Bourgogne Rouge Pinot Noir 1973-1980 Clay & Sand 0,75 ha
Monthelie Cote de Beaune Rouge Pinot Noir fra 1987 Clay & Limestone 0,25 ha
Meursault Cote de Beaune Rouge Pinot Noir 1980 Clay & Limestone 0,12 ha
Auxey-Duresses Rouge Pinot Noir 1982 Clay & Limestone 0,50 ha
Volnay 1er cru Pinot Noir 1962, 1987 Clay & Limestone 0,33 ha


The most “common” wine from Coche-Dury is his generic Meursault, which is perhaps not quite as generic as one might expect from the table above. There are in total 7-8 different village Meursaults, all vinified and bottled separately.

Most of those are bottled without vineyard/plot information, but two of them, Chevalier and Rougeots, are sold with with the vineyard mentioned on the label. So in reality we are 5 to 6 versions of his generic village Meursault that one may encounter when tasting / buying wine in different countries.

I’ve tried to find some information on different vineyards/plots bottled as generic Meursault, and reached the following conclusion… please note – some of these wines occur more frequently than others:

  • Les Narvaux
  • Les Dessous Vireuils
  • Les Vireuils dessus
  • La Barre
  • Chaumes (Clone 548 – a vieyard his son is renting)
  • “Les Tetes-Cassese (seen in the 1986 vintage)”
  • “Les Luchet (seen in the 1992 vintage)”

I have onlye seen Les Luchet in the 1992 vintage (tasting note from Parker), and Les Tetes Cassese, is only seen in the 1986 vintage, so both may be out of the picture now.

In Denmark the generic Meursault comes from the plot Les Narvaux and this should be one of the heavier and fatter of his village wines – according to the importer. This cuvee should also be the one supplied to American importer.

Besides the village wines makes Jean-Francois Coche also makes three 1er crus Meursault Caillerets, Meursault Perriere and Meursault Genevriers. The first two have been made for many years, while Genevrieres was added to the domaine in 2003. In addition to the three Meursault 1er crus, he also makes Puligny-Montrachet Enseignères, and a legendary Corton-Charlemagne, which is nearly impossible to find – and cost a fortune.

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Coche-Dury also make some fine red wines from Auxey-dures, Monthelie, Meursault, Pommard and Volnay, and an excellent Aligote.

What is so special about Coche-Dury

Coche-Dury has almost legendary status among wine connoisseurs, and rightly so. His wines are something special, and he almost have the same status as Henri Jayer, who was quite unique in Vosne Romanee.

The first time I tasted Coche-Dury was back in 1995 when I was served a Meursault village from 1992. This village wine nailed several Grand Crus to the wall on that occasion. Since the I have tasted quite a lot of wines from Coche-Dury, and can’t remember a dissapointing bottle (except first tasting of the Meursault village 2009).

Coche-Dury – bouquet and taste

Coche-Dury are very expressive wines that really jumps from the glass. It is not subtle or for that matter aristocratic wines, no they are quite flamboyant wines of almost incredibly high quality.

The first thing you notice is the assertive bouquet of gun powder and hints of popcorn – which can be very distinctive when the wines are young. They also have quite a considerable note of new oak, which together with the various nuances of the chardonney grape gives a complex and challenging nose.

On the palate the wines has very fine textures and freshness that comes from both the soil and the fine acidity structure. The wines are never overripe, but retain their suppleness and finesse. There is a pronounced Coche style, but this does not prevent the individual vineyards terroir to shine through. They are terroir wines but have a quite distinctive style that characterizes all the wines from the domaine.

Why does Domaine J.-F. Coche-Dury make better wine?

A large part of the explanation for the high quality is most likely found in the vineyards, where a thorough work combined with very old vines in several vineyards yield som special wines. He manages to make wines that are both fresh and resilient although the concentration is quite high, something very few manufacturers are able to match.

Coche-Dury are, of course, also very skilled in the cellar, but I think it is in the vineyards he makes the big difference, which is probably one of the reasons that nobody has been able to copy his style and qualities.

Enjoy!

Tasting Notes for this producer

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