Michel Niellon – 2017


Tasted in Chassagne-Montrachet with Michel Coutoux, 08 October 2018.

Domaine Michel Niellon
Le Haut des Champs
21190 Chassagne-Montrachet
Tel: +33 3 80 24 70 17

On 2018:
Well, if I can’t be happy with 18! A good year, and an early vintage is always easier – we even had a little more wine than in 2017 – it’s a more homogenous vintage too. There was some pressure of mildew, but the dryness of July and August meant that we had practically no morning dew – and no dew means no mildew! From the perspective of the market, we are just starting to show the samples. We are following a number of low volume vintages, so it’s got to be good for everybody, that we have two consecutive vintages with some volume.

On 2017:
We needed the help of some smoke to counter the possibility of frost in 2017 – 2018 was quite close too – we haven’t seen that for nearly 20 years – it seems to be part of the cycle just now though. The 2017 whites are all bottled – the reds are racked. It’s a vintage that’s really representative of what white burgundy can be, it’s a complete vintage with minerality and concentration – completely classic for the terroir. It’s not unfair to compare the wines to 2014 – there’s more tension in 2014, more richness in 2017.

The wines…

Honestly, some of the most drinkably great wines that you can imagine in 2017 – proper, concentrated wine, but with a super ‘deliciousness’ – a great address for 2017s.

2017 Bourgogne Chardonnay
One parcel directly in front of the winery – 8 year-old vines.
A little lime fruit impression – quite rare in 2017 – a suggestion of reductive oak too. Wide, like most in this vintage, beautifully textured and well concentrated. Extra intensity in the finishing flavours too – super length – hyper-impressive bourgogne! Bravo.
2017 Chassagne-Montrachet
An assembly of 15 parcels from multiple terroirs and ages from both sides and the centre of the village – usually 12-16,000 bottles. Elevage was a mix of barrel and tank – 30% the latter.
This has a more discreet nose – but an attractive impression of width. Directly a more mineral in style but with sweetness of melting flavour too – pure and delicious, a little finishing rigour but super. Bravo!

2017 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er La Maltroie
More discrete aromas again, but with fine and pure accents of fresh fruit. Once more narrower and sleeker – there is a drive to the flavour of this wine – less generous than either of the first two, but with a similar melting minerality in the finishing flavour – tenacious and with a vibrant finishing flavour – to wait a little time for but such a fine base of material…

2017 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Champs Gains
Another tighter nose – a suggestion of reduction in the aromas. Really mineral and more width on the palate vs the last wines – beautifully textured – the hallmark of the vintage. Ooh that’s good – the finishing flavour is textured, wide and melting – much more accommodating than the Maltroie today. Not necessarily longer but with a little extra floral something in the finish. Excellent!

2017 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Clos St.Jean
Two parcels – one in CSJ and the other in the climat of Rebichets, below
Again a little reduction, here with a little saline aroma impression too. More volume and freshness in the mouth – very fine and accessible complexity – lots of little fireworks with good freshness and ending with small waves of interest. The most attractively forward of these wines – purity and texture – simply delicious. Bravo!

2017 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Vergers
Also like the others a little tight – there’s a gradual relaxation, and a smooth, faintly floral ‘extra’ is the initial impression. A little more relaxed in the mouth, more mobile, more depth, less direct fireworks. There is a certain something here, layered and impressively sinuous, but today the CSJ is much more accommodating and exciting. Contemplative finishing – indeed it’s a great finish!

2017 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Chaumees
Complex, wide, fumé – silex style – stone fruit – not excessively energetic but the most complex so far. Like the nose a little smoky, more volume – more architectural with slowly melting layers of flavour – this is so good! Saline, the most complex wine so far, holding a great line on the palate. I’d still drink the CSJ in preference today – but by the time you can buy these, I think the baton will have been passed to this. Top!

2017 Chevalier-Montrachet
Although I’ve noted ‘reductive’ on some of the other wines, this is the first wine with a real ‘firework’ reduction – though still modest – but also with a fine aromatic impression of texture too. Direct is the character in the mouth – but there’s width too! Silky but also implying tannin at the base of that texture. A wine that is as much about ‘presence’ as anything else today – with a very wide palette of finishing flavour – much of which towards the reductive end of the spectrum, yet still tenacious and ingraining – it’s still present a few minutes later! Less flamboyant than many Chevaliers today, but no lack of material or balance – super wine but be patient!

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