Michel Niellon – 2018


Michel & Lucie Coutoux, 2019Tasted in Chassagne-Montrachet with Lucie Coutoux, pictured with father Michel, 16 October 2019.

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

Lucie on 2019:
In 2019 we needed water – the vines still need water – so it’s good that we have some rain now. It was a year with a very dry spring and a summer that was hot too, but there was also frost in April/May – it’s been around the last few vintages – some sectors such as our Chassagne villages were touched. The period around flowering was cold which brought a lot of coulure. So it’s a vintage where we lacked water, yet despite that, some areas produced roughly their usual volume but the others were, unsurprisingly, down.

Lucie on 2018:
2018 was good for both quality and quantity – we had clean grapes with a nice acidity – I would say nice, typical Burgundy. It’s been a few years since we had pinot with such a lovely ripeness too.

The wines…

Two reds were not yet bottled, they were in tank, but the whites were done, the bottling was done in the second half of August. The whites, mostly, were marked by some reduction, “We consider the reduction when freshly bottled to be a positive,” said Lucie. Sealed with natural cork, I’m sure this is true. The pinots were fine – or better – in this vintage whereas the whites were much more serious and intense – brooding almost. Today, these are wines that demand something of you, you should carafe if you want to open bottles early, but generally, I’d say wait at least a couple of years for all of them – a ‘vin de garde’ style was shown today.

2018 Chassagne-Montrachet Rouge
A blend from 3 parcels
Spiced, almost liquorice aroma. Mouth-filling, fresh – nice energy here, waves of flavour. Really growing in the mid and finishing flavours. Much flavour interest here – this is very lovely – and persistent too!

2018 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Clos St.Jean
A little deeper colour and with a more overt perfume, still the fruit is faintly spiced. Ooh – this is more direct, more energetic, more intense and pure too – this is a big step up – super wine – bravo!

Les Blancs:

2018 Bourgogne Chardonnay
One parcel directly in front of the winery – 9 year-old vines.
A nose of slightly heavy fruit – some reduction is to blame for this. There’s a little reduction on the palate too, but also a fresh width of tasty, energetic wine behind. Mouth-watering deliciously – carafe! There is a super wine below here.

2018 Chassagne-Montrachet
A mix of 5 or 6 different parcels in the bottom of Chassagne including Blanchots Dessous.
Again a little touch of reduction, less overt than the Bourgogne which allows a little more aroma interest to break through. Wider, fuller without fat, more concentrated a little more considered but with plenty of freshness. Mineral and intense finishing, faintly textured – a super finish but a wine to wait for – give it a year or two!

2018 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Chenevottes
Two neighbouring parcels but with different vine ages.
The same faint reduction – though a little floral perfume is managing to escape its clutches. Ooh – that’s more open, more melting with flavour – faintly touched by some additional barrel flavour, but this has detail and freshness. Super finishing intensity – long, very fine. Lovely wine.

2018 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er La Maltroie
Largest parcel of the domaine with almost 1 hectare of 3 different vine ages.
Faintly reductive, a nose that’s rather tighter overall. Open again, a little rigour from a more overt mineral impression – the finishing flavour builds and builds – impressively so, but this is a wine for your cellar, wait a couple of years.

2018 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Champs Gains
This parcel only just over the road from Maltroie, but totally different.
Faintly reductive but the first that’s showing some ripe citrus fruit. Incisive, fine freshness, the flavour radiating out in waves – I love the open flavour here – mineral but without rigour – this is super now if you take a carafe. Long, impressive finishing – excellent wine!

2018 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Clos St.Jean
On high, near the quarry – two parcels – one in CSJ and the other in the climat of Rebichets, below
Almost reduction here, fainter, faint spice notes. More drive – a core that is predominantly about intensity – wide, open, but with an innate density. Super finishing – impressively intense and a little floral at the same time – long. Be patient, like for a number here but there’s much to wait for!

2018 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Vergers
Long rows here.
A little reductive and mineral. Wider, fresher, very mineral but without overt rigour. There is enough sweetness to the melting flavour to make this approachable but it’s really another wine for patience. Open complex – really lots of fine finishing complexity – that’s rather grand – really excellent wine – but be patient!

2017 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Chaumees Clos de la Truffière
High on the hillside with domaine’s oldest vines. Not much soil here so the vines can have water stress.
No overt reduction, rather a faint, almost fumé note, supported by a spiced citrus. Ooh, in the mouth that’s a beauty – open, pure, with an obviously growing intensity. Here is lovely texture and clarity, the finish again impressing with its intensity of flavour and mouth-watering aspect – long. Excellent as a minimum – indeed bravo!
2018 Chevalier-Montrachet
The only parcel of the domaine in Puligny, just below the vines of Bouchard and to the north of La Cabotte
Very faintly reductive, A wine that is open but still reticent. A touch of barrel, much clarity – almost more lime citrus than lemon, but plenty of oak too. The texture is fine. Of-course here is intensity, then waves of finishing flavour that hold long, long, long. Today the oak is quite obvious so this would be waiting at least 3 years in my cellar I think – if in my cellar! Great length that becomes ever-more floral – a wow finish!

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