Tasted in Meursault with Charles Ballot, 26 November 2018.
Domaine Ballot-Millot & Fils
9, rue de la Goutte d’Or
Tel: +33 3 80 21 21 39
The Ballot-Millot estate is spread over 10 hectares of vineyards – 2 hectares are planted to red, but 8 are white – the majority of which are located in the domaine’s home town of Meursault, but there are also contributions from vines in Beaune, Chassagne, Pommard and Volnay.
The domaine is an old one – Charles Ballot took over the domaine from his father in 2000, but he is the 15th, and latest, generation of a family line that’s been tied to Meursault and its wines that runs back to the French Revolution.
After taking on the domaine, Charles directly began to take a more environmentally friendly approach: moving from chemical management of weeds in favour of plowing the soil. Likewise the type and frequency of treatments has evolved considerably. The vines of the domaine have a good age too: Meursault-Perrières 40+, Meursault-Genevrières 70+ and the Meursault Narvaux up to 60.
Charles Ballot on 2017:
“A vintage with lovely acidity – close to that of 2016 but with more maturity and an extra touch of salinity – I consider it a grand millésime de garde – coming from a fine and clean fruit at the harvest. We started 03 September in 2017 compared to 31 August in 2018 – but that was only in a small parcel, the real start of our 2018 was the 1st of September. ”
Of-course I knew of the domaine, but I don’t have any recollection of tasting the wines – that was clearly a mistake. The whites here have a certain ‘house-style’ that I might describe as ‘Roulot-esque’ i.e. racy, mineral and full of agrume fruit. They are less penetrating than Roulot’s 2017s and, hence, more drinkable and interesting I think. A great address in 2017!
With the exception of one red, all the wines are in tank having been racked for about 1 month:
Parcels from both sides of the village
Deep, vibrant, reductively agrumed. Supple, with super concentration and fine energy – a lovely open flavour with the merest touch of reduction. A super finish, almost with a touch of metallic deep in the finish. Excellent and stylish too!
‘Vines below Santenots, but not with a deep red soil like you might expect, rather a whiter soil with lots of minerality here and soil that drains very quickly.’
Hmm – such good volume of aroma, more mineral and impressive if just a little less inviting. Hmm, more precise, with a line of, melting, saline, mineral flavour – Ooh that’s great! Lovely lingering flavour. Bravo – the nose will surely catch up!
From the bottom of parcel near Genevrières, some iron in the soil here, but it’s also a little colder area – ‘it works very well in warm years.’
Wider, an open nose, it’s a fresh width. Wide but energetic on the palate too, intense, growing, growing, absolutely vibrant finishing… Ooh great again!
2017 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Morgeot Tête du Clos
‘Again on white soil that helps the tension, even bringing a tannin in the finish.’
First note a faint toast, depth of fresh aroma too. Fresh, drive, saline again – hmm, this is really the house style – but what style – even if less overtly Chassagne. Vibrant finishing, layered, ooh I love…
Dessus des Charmes on the limit with Puligny.
Ooh – this is a beautifully agrumed but proper Meursault nose. Intense, mineral, a rocky wine – more Puligny or Perrières than typical for Charmes, though maybe not for ‘Dessus’. Layered – long, long, long – Great!
The high part again – Dessus – and also the oldest vines of the domaine.
Ooh – gorgeous. Floral, with ripe citrus, almost mandarin fruit – simply a great nose. More open, easier over the palate versus the Charmes though not a bit less focused – that house agrumes – but really well done – not a bit overtly reductive. Elegant and delicious. Bravo!
2017 Meursault 1er Les Perrières
Always very small grapes in these vines.
The first wine with an aromatic whiff of oak – silky but tighter at the core – certainly after the louche Genevrières, here there’s a hint of ginger spice too. The nose may have had a little tightness, but there is very impressive width and depth of well-focused flavour here. Concentrated, complex, a little oaked again from the mid to finishing flavours – brilliant in the finish though. The oak treatment is the same as the others, so the clarity of the terroir is maybe responsible. I expect you will hardly notice the effect in another 6 months…
2017 Beaune 1er Epenottes
In bottle for three weeks. All destemmed. Some pigeage – always a cold soak too for the reds.
Modest colour. A narrow but pretty nose. Ooh – fresh, direct, layered, complex – what a delicious wine! Modest tannin despite a slight grain at the edges, and quite floral finishing. Mineral and persistent at the end. More than lovely!
2017 Volnay 1er Santenots
Quite young vines – 20 years old at the bottom to mid-slope. Red soil here, just before Santenots de Milieu. About double the production in 17 vs the frost in 16…
A little extra colour. Ooh – a lovely extra floral component on the nose. Extra depth of concentration, ooh (again) growing intensity, growing in vibrancy too, faintly herbed but very delicious.
2017 Volnay er Taillepieds
All whole cluster.
A little more colour again. Wow – a precise, über-complex nose of berries and spice. Mouth-filling volume, open, architectural, modestly present tannin, indeed very well-covered tannin. A growth of finishing volume, salinity, and complexity. Just beautiful wine…
A more modest colour again. Next to the Clos de la Commeraine.
Ooh, a suggestion of reduction but also a gorgeously cushioned roundness of aroma too. A little more muscle but nothing with angles or brutish – this has a depth of beautifully textured flavour. Bravo – love this – quite floral in the finishing flavour too…
2017 Pommard 1er Pezerolles
A little more colour again. This nose is not quite playing, it’s slightly lactic. Fresh, more muscle again, there is an overt power here, plenty of flavour energy and finishing vibration to that flavour. Long… very long… Another fantastic result.