Louis Michel – 2017

Update 20.6.2019(24.1.2019)billn

Tasted in Chablis with Guillaume Michel, 24 January 2019.

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

Guillaume on 2018:
It’s a happy year, as we made some wine! Not impacted by frost, quite clean in terms of maladies, a vintage that passed well with a big weight of grapes at the end – but before that we had worry about the dryness – we just thought another vintage with plenty of thick-skinned grapes and not much juice. In the end we just had to avoid over-ripeness. Nice balance – certainly not the ‘old-chablis’ style like 2014, more easy and charming and I think they will be good wines – I’m starting to rack them – there’s a lot of lees but nice lees. Virtually everything finished fermenting okay.

Guillaume on 2017:
the same as 2016 in terms of volume – but this time it was the frost that was mainly to blame – less hit in the villages, but with the crus harder hit, it’s financially more difficult than 2016. Every parcel of the domaine was hit the question was only was it 5% or 60% – I have all the cuvées of the domaine in 2017 – even if some are small. But it’s a lovely vintage, really one to appreciate already. Frost, small harvest, a little less juice – but another earlier vintage though the wines largely don’t show that. I think the grapes that we harvest today are quite different to 30 years ago – in general that’s good for quality but they are much more accessible, less austere young – so will the have the same durability? I really don’t know.

The wines…

Last time I said ‘A brilliant range of wines in 2016 – bravo!’ It’s really the same in 2017.

Some DIAM 5 and 10 in use here. Higher wines remain natural cork. Guillaume refuses to succumb to the temptation of earlier bottling, despite two miserly volume vintages in 2016 and 2017. “No change in elevage – no early bottlings here – but we speeded up our harvesting though – we are not early pickers but we doubled the team to avoid as best as possible any over-maturity – our highest degrees were about 13.3°”

2017 Petit Chablis
From above and behind Valmur from 2 ha of vines Valmur – also badly affected by the frost.
Hmm – wide – pretty almost a suggestion of aniseed in the citrus – very fine. Ooh – that’s directly great PC – silky, concentrated, melting, perfumed – great wine!

2017 Chablis
‘Much better volume than in 2016 as it wasn’t hailed’
An even bigger nose, perfumed again – a different perfume. Also perfumed, round, richer flavoured but not with too much weight. Complex middle and finish – absolutely delicious wine – perhaps great again – certainly excellent.

2017 Chablis 1er Montmains
More mineral, fine and such an attractive clarity. Bigger – fresher, more open – beautiful wine – citrus, saline and gorgeous – excellent again!

2017 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
Less deep and mineral, wider and more floral. More intense citrus, melting, complex – ooh even nicer, bravo wine – growing in salinity. Bravo.
2017 Chablis 1er Les Forêts
A little more aromatic weight, width too but a more subtle citrus style. More drive, almost aniseed again, citrus, almost agrumes, more saline – vibrant finishing. Bravo finishing too – here with a little perfume – great.

2017 Chablis 1er Vaillons
A little narrower, more citrus-mineral depth though. More open, beautiful clarity – a more overtly mineral wine but with no austerity – framed with a finishing salinity. A simply beautiful wine – excellent and mouth-watering – a great finish too.

2017 Chablis 1er Vaulorent
Complex, pure, mineral and citrus, just a suggestion of seashore. Ooh – what a great fruit – agrumes but here full with orange-mandarin – that’s really great. Perhaps a touch of faint rigour to the minerality – but this is really great stuff. Bravo!
2017 Chablis 1er Montée de Tonnerre
Another riveting nose – fresh, with clarity of minerals and citrus – such an invitation. More directly mineral, full agrume, less overt sucrosity – lime-style, wide, impressive stuff – growing in salinity – the most so far. Long, and layered finishing. Very different but certainly great.

The last were all bottled between October and December. The following wines are not yet bottled:

2017 Chablis 1er Butteaux Vieilles Vignes
This will probably get a May bottling.
A deep nose, mineral, here with some floral perfume too – not the clarity of focus today of the bottled wines. A little gas. Ooh what clarity on the palate though – mineral and saline, a guarded citrus at first before slowly growing into a fuller agrume fruit. Saline like the Tonnerre in the finish – at least excellent, I suspect even more…

2017 Chablis 1er Séchets
We always start harvesting in this Vaillons valley – it gains it’s ripeness earlier here.
Ooh – but here is clarity, reminiscent of the Vaillons but with even more focus. Extra volume, more energy too – ooh there is something great here – flavour that’s pushing all the boundaries but with an essential freshness – great – easy to see and to say. I love the blend of salt and citrus in the finish.
2017 Chablis Vaudesir
From the north-facing hillside which helps conserve the freshness in warm vintages, but needs later harvesting…
More width of aroma – a subtle blend of the floral and citrus. Not quite the volume and energy of the Sechets but with more depth of flavour – or at least a more overt depth of flavour. Layered and citrus-inflected. Lots of citrus skin, of zest in the finish – a fuller finishing flavour – a very different shape to sechets – which was all upfront – this takes over from the middle.
2017 Chablis Les Grenouilles
Some aspiration but also some heating too – even high on the slope where this is.
A vibrant nose – more minerally vibrant than those before. Richer but fresh, more depth of flavour from the first sip – certainly more overtly saline too. Complex, green-citrus, layered. Great wine.
2017 Chablis Les Clos
Lovely depth – like the last but with a wider citrus component. Gas. Round but energetically fresh – layers of flavour. Juicy, mouth-watering flavour extra depth of fine agrume – but more citrus – in the finish. Oh that’s so long too. A touch of citrus skin here that persists.

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