Louis Michel – 2016


Tasted in Chablis with Guillaume Michel, 19 January 2018.

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

Guillaume on 2017:
2017 was a nightmare. Frost came following an early bud-break. It was intensely frosty for 8 or 9 days – even if each day wasn’t too cold, it was still on the limit, so in the end there were no grapes in some places. For us, the yields are about half for the second vintage in a row – in 2016 we lost our Chablis to hail – 2 ha brought 200 litres in Pargues. We have the same volume of wine in 2017 but with more damage in the crus – 15 of our 25 hectares are in the crus – so financially it’s worse for us than in 2016.

Guillaume on 2016:
2016 was very complicated, just about every perturbation for the grapes; 2x hail in different areas, 1st in Maligny, though fortunately no vines for us in this area, but then in the south of Chablis we lost some areas completely. Two big frosts, in some areas that never previously had such problems – my uncle and grandfather remember frost, almost every year, but myself not because we have much better protection today. Then there was exceptional mildew pressure. Overall a half harvest here in terms of volume. It’s easy to see the effect by looking at the bulk prices – there’s no wine in 2016 so the prices are really high for what’s available. But truly it’s a great vintage – it’s a shame there’s so little wine – I think 2017 will be great too.

The wines…

A brilliant range of wines in 2016 – bravo!

Some DIAM 5 and 10 in use here. Higher wines are natural cork.

2016 Petit Chablis
From above and behind Valmur from 2 ha of vines.
The nose is a little tight, but the palate is open, nicely wide and with insinuating delicious flavour – long with a slightly more mineral finish. Really excellent!

2016 Chablis
Bottled in September
Open. Greener shaded fruit – a little reduction – becoming beautifully floral. Less incisive but with layers of more complex flavour and more salinity. Great finishing.

Premiers – the first few are bottled, the rest to follow:

2015 Chablis 1er Montmains
A little extra burst of aromatic freshness. Lots of fresh, delicious, melting flavour over the palate – wait six months for a hint of strictness to relax – but this is great. Bravo!
2016 Chablis 1er Butteaux
All these parcels (except Butteaux VV) are of similar age of vines. This has similar soil to Montmains, but Montmains is cooler, Forêt with more stones
Much more mineral and freshly complex aromas. A small suggestion of gas, but wide, melting again, transparent pure wine – great!

2016 Chablis 1er Les Forêts
Tighter to start but swirling brings fine mineral depth and a floral top note. A little more volume, softened, but such Mont de Milieu style of complexity – long, and slowly mouth-watering. Much more contemplative.

2016 Chablis 1er Vaillons
Wide, attractive and mineral. A little more depth, richness of flavour not an ounce less of balancing freshness and energy. Fine salinity in the finish and it’s a long finish with good direction and delicious complexity – excellent! Great finish…

2016 Chablis 1er Vaulorent
A vibrant nose, mineral but floral too – great! Lots of mouth-filling volume, a little softness again but super complexity, salinity and once more there’s great length – really super wine! Top class start and finish – the middle just needs to come a little more into focus for ‘great’

2016 Chablis 1er Montée de Tonnerre
Like the others, this starts with a little reductive tightness and then blossoms with an array of mineral and floral complexity. A little more focus, growing ever wider – clearly mineral, slowly melting at the edges – this has class and whilst not austere will require 12 months to soften the rigour – but great wine awaits!

All the last wines were bottled Sept/Oct, all the following are still in tank – without lees, waiting to be bottled – but not filtered yet – that will be done the day before bottling – but Butteaux VV and Sechets wont be bottled until, April-May and the GCs May-June.

2016 Chablis 1er Butteaux Vieilles Vignes
Nice aromatic volume, more mineral than floral at this stage – but it’s still there. Ooh – wide, constantly changing, intense but never angular, layered, fabulous wine – bravo!
2016 Chablis 1er Séchets
We always start harvesting in this Vaillons valley – it gains it’s ripeness earlier here.
Extra aromatic volume and extra complexity just a little more diffuse by comparison at the moment. Ooh – what a great wine, ingraining, great, lip-smacking flavour – simply top wine again – a little more ripeness to the fruit but so freshly presented and hauntingly long!

2016 Chablis Vaudesir
From the north-facing hillside which helps conserve the freshness in warm vintages, but needs later harvesting…
Ooh – vibrant, even more reverberations of minerality. Extra concentration of pure direct fruit – but it’s not about richness. More intense but without exaggeration, long, long long – extra, extra here…

2016 Chablis Les Grenouilles
Fresh! Really open top to bottom – fresh and inviting. Like the other Grenouilles this year there’s more direction and intensity – citrus fruited, a wine of line and intensity. It’s quite a ride!

2016 Chablis Les Clos
A little tight but swirling releases such great flashes of minerality. Sleek, direct though more width than the Grenouilles. Slowly relaxing and melting it’s flavour over the palate. Pretty much the least ready yet the wine with the most. Great finish!

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