Tasted with Stéphanie Michelet in Lignorelles, photo with husband Vincent, 29 January 2021.
Stéphanie on 2020:
“2019 and 2020 were not large harvests so we don’t have a problem with too much stock! It was the dryness and the drying of the grapes that has been the main factors for the lower volume in 2020 – 40 hl/ha – we worried about frost in April as the preceding months had been quite warm – the vegetation was already growing March, the frost retarded the earliest parcels and we lost a few buds. It was just one period of heat in mid-august that did the damage in terms of dried grapes. 26 August we started with the reds – a lot of dried grapes there, I preferred to preserve the acidity in the area here in Lignorelles. Prefer not to, but we decided to acidify a little in our 18s but we didn’t need to in either 2019 or 2020 – and the fruit from Beine didn’t need acidifying…”
Stéphanie on 2019s:
“In 2019 I think there’s a lot here that reminds me of 2015 – a nice structure but with lovely aromatics with a grain of salinity. With a better definition of structure compared to 2018. It wasn’t such a big issue with frost here – we prune the vines quite late and this retards their growth. For us it was the dryness that probably brought the main losses in volume. We made 45 hl/ha, plus there was a little VCI from 2018 to help.”
The two domaines, as always presented together; the wines of the Domaine Jean-Claude Courtault usually being the more fruity, approachable wines than the Domaine Michelets. The last wines represent négoce purchases, and these wear, in most markets, the Jean-Claude Courtault (but a different colour) label, but sometimes, like in Harrods, UK, they wear a Michelet label!
And this is now subject to change as Stéphanie will be fusing the two domaines together as she has taken over from her parents – so there will be a new label – but today we taste them as in previous years:
Always nice to compare the two labels here – wines of different origins – and it’s a good range of 2019s. We also tasted a 2013 Chablis from the domaine – these wines keep very well – it was delicious!
“We still had a few issues with corks in 2017,” says Stéphanie, “So now all is DIAM for the Petit Chablis and Chablis.”
2019 Jean-Claude Courtault, Petit Chablis
Mainly from Lignorelles, average 20-year-old vines.
A fine freshness but also ripeness of citrus – not a wide nose but an interesting one. Supple, almost a wiry muscle, layered some modest sweetness and quite long. Nice structure and shape with a good length. That’s very good and very tasty!
2019 Michelet, Petit Chablis
Vinified exactly the same. Parcels from Bienes, Maligny and Fye. More like 10-year-old vines.
A wider, more airy nose – that’s lovely, suggesting a little salinity too. More precise, more mineral – less impression of concentration – this is my style preference of the two I think it excellent in an airier style.
2019 Jean-Claude Courtault, Chablis
A blend of Lignorelles and Beines – 30-35 year-old vines. Usually more fruit from Lignorelles, structure and minerality comes more from Beines. Bottled July
A broad nose, a width of citrus – more green fruit. Hmm – that’s got a fine mouth-watering character – absolutely delicious in the mouth-watering finish. Like the last PC not a large wine but a wine of elegance and complexity. I think it delicious.
2019 Michelet Chablis
70% old vines – some dating from 1947 – with a young vine in Bienes, the rest over 60 years old in Lignorelles – There’s about 10% barrel used here but none is new – I didn’t spot it…
A different style to this nose a mix of the floral and the saline – a subtle mineral below. Framed with fine tannin, floral-infused flavour – perhaps longer and very tasty.
“1ers are all bought as must – it’s hard to buy grapes… but these are quite long-term purchase from the same producers.” Mont de Milieu uses only tank elevage – like the Fourchaume – Beauroy has a little barrel in the mix. “It was a question of volume that we didn’t use wood at the start, but we liked the wine, its delicacy, and so never looked to change it – we’ve made the wine for over 10 years now – always the same seller and parcel.”
2019 Jean-Claude Courtault, Chablis 1er Mont de Milieu
Bought from same producer since 2008. All tank elevage on the fine lees.
Here’s a nose that has a faint diam-style reduction but becomes finer and finer with air – even a little saline. Nice texture – a millimetre or two of cushioning – floral-infused flavour again. A width of fine finishing flavour. The complexity granular. Very good MdM…
2019 Jean-Claude Courtault, Chablis 1er Fourchaume
The Second vintage for this wine – the first was all tank, this is all wood – but older and larger-format barrels.
Lots of high-toned energy here – much more open than the last wine – a blend of riper lemon-citrus and some oak character. Wide, a little cushioned, layered delivery of flavour, small waves of finishing flavour that lasts very well.
No Beauroy or Valmur:
2019 Bourgogne Epineuil Côte de Grisey
A young plantation – this the third vintage – 1.36 ha – “When my father bought the plot it was already planted with trees; he couldn’t plant vines because he couldn’t obtain any plantation rights (droits de plantation). 20 years ago, rules to obtain some rights took into consideration the age of the person, the surface of the domain etcetera … It was possible to plant once I arrived to work on the domain. As a young winemaker, I could obtain some rights.”
That’s a fine nose – vibrant, a little spiced becoming more and more attractively aromatic. Hmm, that’s a wine of concentration, a little saline too. Concentrated and floral finishing, just a small accent of tannin in the finish.
2018 Bourgogne Epineuil Côte de Grisey
A deeper nose – fruit a little more roast – opening, showing almost an ozone freshness. Extra freshness more overt tannin though without grain – still a little more astringent. But on the other side of the mid-palate is a freshness and width of attractive flavour.