Tasted in Meursault with Charles Ballot, 21 October 2019.
Domaine Ballot-Millot & Fils
9, rue de la Goutte d’Or
Tel: +33 3 80 21 21 39
Charles on 2019:
“We had a dry spring and a summer that resembled 2018, but the spring had slower growth as it was cooler. Hot in the summer. We lost quite a lot in Chassagne villages at least 30% in the 1ers, but in Meursault we had no problem with the frost. It’s still a smaller volume – 38hl/ha in Meursault 1ers so ‘correct!’ Sugars were high but there is impressive balance for such a dry vintage.”
Charles on 2018:
“2018 – it’s long time since we had a volume like this but with regular quality too – it wasn’t a big excess but but even the vines that usually deliver ‘not enough’ had good volume – we didn’t have more grape clusters than normal – about 8 – but the amount of juice was the impressive thing. Considering how dry it was and we surely lost a lot of potential yield due to the dryness – we had great flowering – that’s rare. I thought we could have an easy fruity vintage like 2006 but there’s much more freshness and depth – and we really waited for phenolic maturity For the reds we didn’t pige hardly – more a remontage per day. 3 weeks of cuvaison but all gentle. There’s more concentration than in 2017 – less volume of-course too.”
Another balanced display of delicious whites AND reds in 2018. Well done!
No sulfur in most of these wines yet:
2018 Bourgogne Chardonnay
Vines in Puligny (80%) and Meursault, this will be bottled by the end of the year, the other wines next year.
Hmm, there’s a width of concentration here – a ripe citrus for sure. Full, intense – there is power and concentration here! Very slowly fading – yum – a super start.
Parcels from both sides of the village
A deep nose again – but with a slightly open fruit – fresher. Open in the mouth, nicely layered and with a depth and clarity of flavour. A burst in the finish – delicious – a touch of tannin in the finish!
2018 Meursault Les Criots
‘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.’
Fresher again – slightly more mineral nose – to add to the citrus. Ooh – more freshness again – a sweeping wine – direct but with fresh width too. Nicely intense – here a little citrus zest – lovely.
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.’
Lovely vibration of mineral aroma. Here is a core of riper, almost simmering citrus. Ooh, this is the most driving and intense – a wine that sweeps you up, intense, some waves of finishing flavour – lovely zesty finishing flavour again, once more with a faint phenolic tannin texture. Bravo!
‘Again on white soil that helps the tension, even bringing a tannin in the finish.’ Young, 8 year-old vines.
Ooh – a wide but not so deep line of vibrant ripe citrus. Ooh – very mineral, very intense, complex, changinging saline – bravo – mouth-watering flavour here! But be patient!
2018 Meursault 1er Bouchères
Smallest appellation here – 2-3 barrels normally but 4 in 2018.
A more textured and perfumed nose – not the deepest but very inviting all the same. Almost a punch of freshness, of intensity – ooh – this is compelling wine – but like the last you should wait so the edges are a little more soft – but pure, fine, mouth-watering wine with a density of finishing flavour!
2018 Meursault 1er Charmes
Dessus des Charmes almost on the limit of Puligny for these vines, only 40 cm of soil then onto the rock. ‘Never the most exuberant after bottling.’
A more composed but all the same vibrant aroma – so inviting. A little more padding than the last two – this avoiding any sharp edges yet it is supple and fresh at the same time – with fine, rounded intensity. Slow waves of finishing flavour. Like most Charmes this year, a more contemplative beast, but absolutely no lack of freshness.
The high part again – Dessus – and also the oldest vines here are 80.
A vertical nose – deep, with floral high tones but less wide than some. An incisive, mineral, flavour – intense but growing in width and at the same time complexity – slowly fading. A relatively undemonstrative finish but still long and only slowly fading with a little citrus zest. Great wine though…
2018 Meursault 1er Les Perrières
‘Always very small grapes in these vines.’ Near the Clos des Perrières
This has a super width of aroma – finely detailed but giving the impression of power behind. Wide, intense, growing in size and concentration over the palate – practically staining the palate with flavour. Again the zesty intensity and persistence in the finish shown by a number of the domaine’s wines this year. Impressive stuff!
A number had just been sulfured the morning of my visit – so here are a few that were not!
2018 Beaune 1er Epenottes
Planning to bottle at the end of the year – this was sulfured last week. 60 year-old vines
Good colour. The nose becomes ever-sweeter and red-fruited with swirling. Open, lovely clean fruit, freshness too all supported with a slightly granular tannin. Lovely finishing flavour.
Quite young vines – 20 years old at the bottom to mid-slope. Red soil here, just before Santenots de Milieu. Fast maturing area – always one of the earliest parcels harvested. The yield reduced in recent years by training in cordon.
A wider, more concentrated red fruit, seemingly the aromas are silkier too. Incisive, concentrated, bright red fruit, a little tannic grain again – but that’s the stage of elevage – generous fruit but balanced by the incisive nature of the wine – bravo!
2018 Pommard 1er La Réfène
A more modest colour again. Next to the Clos de la Commeraine.
Less overt colour than the Santenots. A freshness and transparency that is very inviting. A depth of fine fruit here, yes with a little more structural aspects, but wide and fresh yet concentrated at the same time. Lovely almost chewy finishing complexity – a faint phenolic over the palate to complete the experience – long finishing wine – excellent!