Meursault is a large village in the Côte de Beaune sub-region of Burgundy. Its wines are regarded as highly as those of its southern neighbour Puligny-Montrachet. This is despite Meursault not having any grand cru vineyards to speak of.
Meursault's output is almost entirely white wines, made from Chardonnay grapes. The commune's wines are renowned for being among the richer, more full-bodied Burgundy whites. Tasting notes commonly cite notes of butter, almonds and grilled hazelnuts, alongside the finer citrus fruit and mineral elements. The geological differences across the commune's vineyards are famously discernible in their wines.
Less than five percent of its vineyard area is planted to Pinot Noir destined for red wines. In fact, reds from a small cluster of vineyards at the northern end of the commune are produced under the appellation of Meursault's northern neighbour, Volnay. These sites all fall under the Volnay Santenots title for their red wines, but the Meursault Santenots Blancs, Santenots du Milieu and Les Plures titles for their whites.
Rather than any one world-class site, it is Meursault's reliably high-quality premier cru vineyards and commune-level bottlings that are responsible for its good reputation. The most famous of these wines are produced at the southern end of the commune, at the 31 hectare (77 acre) Charmes vineyard, and the Perrières and Genevrières sites.
In addition to its official premier crus, the commune has a number of well-respected lieu-dit vineyards. Their names are commonly cited on wine labels. Lieu-dit sites are those without the premier cru title, but which are nevertheless known as a source of high-quality grapes.
It is possible for these sites to be promoted to premier cru status, and for demotions in the other direction. Classification reviews are becoming more frequent; the last was in late 2001.
The commune stretches just over 5 kilometres (3 miles) from north to south – still small, but relatively large when compared to its smaller neighbour Puligny-Montrachet, which barely measures 2km (1.2 miles). There are 289 hectares (714 acres) of village level Meursault vineyard, and 105ha (259 acres) of premier cru sites. More than 200,000 cases of white wine are produced per year, plus around 4000 cased of red.
Located on the limestone-rich slopes of the Côte d'Or escarpment, Meursault's sites are blessed with classic Burgundy terroir. They occupy an area at the entrance to the Saint-Romain valley, a gap in the Côte d'Or. This leads to a variety of orientations in the local hillsides, from due south through due east. This variation is just one contributing factor in the variation of styles in Meursault wines.