Tasted in Chassagne-Montrachet with Michel Coutoux, 08 October 2018.
Domaine Michel Niellon
Le Haut des Champs
Tel: +33 3 80 24 70 17
“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.”
“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.”
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!