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Louis Michel – 2013

DSC05994Tasted in Chablis with Guillaume Michel, 29th January 2015.

Domaine Louis Michel
9 boulevard de Ferrières
89800 Chablis
Tel: +33 3 86 42 88 55+33 3 86 42 88 55
www.louismicheletfils.com

This domaine has been, since 1850, producing wine in the centre of Chablis; this is a really lovely collection of old buildings – once three houses and a dove house, now altogether, but also below, three different styles of cellar which have been amalgamated. The house(s) and caves were made from recovered stone of the old walls of Chablis.

25 hectares are owned by the family, and in all the 4 appellations; the majority in 1er Cru, 14 ha. The vines are on both banks, but mostly the left. 3 GCs, no bought-in grapes. 40-60,000 bottles normally. The average age of vines across the domaine is about 45; those in Vaudesir are the oldest together with Fôrets.

Guillaume says that “We are looking to respect the terroir and pull out the different facets of the Chablis area in their wines. Simple vinification, but all the same – no discrimination – i.e. the Chablis villages is treated the same way as the GC, and in the most non interventionist way as possible. Everything vinified in tank, no oak. Local yeast with spontaneous malos and quite long elevages. 1er Crus elevage is a minimum 1 year, GCs 16-18 months, PC 6-8 months. Only the time of elevage varies depending on appellation. We try not to do so much work in the cuverie, as we prefer to be in the vines.”

Guillaume on 2013:
“2013 was 35% lower volume, on average. Most difficult were villages and GCs, 1ers fared a little better. It was a complicated vintage that was only missing some hail (and volume!) with a massive pressure of porriture towards the end. We started harvesting on the 2nd October, the grapes started to turn on the Sunday (3rd) after the rain so we had to go much faster, finishing in 6.5 days – I’ve never seen it so fast, but it had to be done. We measured 37 mm of rain on the Saturday. My uncle had 45 vintages behind him before retiring, and he’s never seen so low a yield.”

The wines…

All recently bottled, the longest in bottle is the Fôrets which was done just before the harvest. A fine address in 2013: There is an implicit minerality in all the wines, silky wines too. In some I’d like to see a bit more energy, but they are not unbalanced…

2013 Chablis
6 parcels assembled, so just 1 cuvée.
Fresh, pretty with a little reductive, agrumes depth. Round, a little richness, and quite some weight of flavour in the mid-palate. A hint of toffee impression in the finish. Tasty wine.

2013 Chablis 1er Montmains
Wider and similarly fresh. Again a faint reductive agrumes note. Again round, and some still dissolved gas. There’s plenty of richness agin but good acidity and a salinity too. Very good. Quite wide in the finish. Nice!

2013 Chablis 1er Butteaux
It always depends on the vintage whether to show this before Fôrets or not… Lots of clay here so usually more opulent.
Open, again with a little reductive impression. Quite some direct, intense flavours. – very pretty and with a little sucrosity in the mouth-watering finish. Again faintly reduced. I think this excellent. Again a little fresh agrume in the finish…

2013 Chablis 1er Fôrets
Lots of Kimmerigian here
A mineral nose, hinting at chalk. Super, lithe, intensely flavoured, and mouth-watering. A peak of post-swallowing flavour. This is really a fine one.

2013 Chablis 1er Vaillons
Since 2010 Sechet has been vinified separately – before was included in this cuvée.
Pretty and wide with quite some detail, but the nose is rather discreet to start. This is very smooth, very mineral. Only slowly begins to leach mouth-watering flavour. Super tasty but lacks a little energy I think – today at least. Finish is very tasty tough.

2013 Chablis 1er Les Sechets
Deep and interesting, again I have a faint reductive/agrume impression but it’s pretty and certainly inviting. Slowly grows a faint whiff of the sea too. Similarly silky but with a higher level of energy – indeed a dynamic wine. Long, mouth-watering finish. I find this really super!

2013 Chablis 1er Montée de Tonnerre
Before 100 years war the border with champagne ran through this vineyard.
High, fresh tones but also with plenty of extra ripeness below the surface. Almost a little iodine too. Wide, faint gas, very silky and very mineral. Only slowly growing intensity, but it’s there all the same. A more contemplative wine, and the finish is similarly so. Tasty

2013 Chablis 1er Butteaux Vieilles-Vignes
Probably to be bottled next week.
A deep core of interest – is there reduction? possibly but its fine anyway. Quite a bit of gas here, but there’s a really wide panorama and the freshness and detailed intensity I find super. Lovely mouth-watering finish. Super
2013 Chablis Vaudesir
Also not bottled.
Again fine reductive notes and a pretty freshness. Big, plenty of gas lots of detail, and not super-rich. Really growing intensity of flavour. Really super in the mid-palate and the flavour intensity doesn’t seem to peak until after I spit. Will be super and with quite some dynamism in this cuvée.
2013 Chablis Grenouilles
Bottled yesterday morning but better than Clos!
Minerals and reduction – more a suggestion of aromatic weight than actual delivery. Some silk and a little richness too but the flavour has energy and is suffused with salinity and faintly reductive notes too. I can’t complain about the reduction as it’s just bottled, but I can certainly see fine complexity, weight and energy. Oh, and it tastes great, I find the finish modestly intense but super persistent.

Agree? Disagree? Anything you'd like to add?