Tasted in Meursault with Charles Ballot, 02 December 2020.
Charles on 2020:
“20 was magnificent, following a similar line to other recent vintages like 18 and 19 – and we’ve lovely acidity and freshness. The yields were okay in white – less so in reds. I think it a vintage of quality too – we adapted our work a little to the heat and lack of water, higher training, wider too – doing a little less ploughing so there is more ground cover – stopping in June. We have to be more careful with younger plants, but older vines with deeper roods there’s not really much competition. In the end lower degrees for the whites versus 2019, if we’ve been harvesting based purely on the sugars, we would have harvested unripe in 19 – unfortunately when one vine is ready, so are most of the others so we have to harvest much faster than we used to. We lost half their yields in Chassagne Morgeot due to the frost.”
Charles on 2019:
“It’s a surprise what freshness we have in the wines – it was also good in 18, but that year we had a reasonable amount of rain. In 19 it was much dryer in the winter and the reserve of water in the soil was much lower. Harvesting 14 September – I imagined wines that could be much richer and sunnier – certainly, the degrees are quite high, not much is under 14° – but directly from tasting the musts, there was a freshness that we hadn’t been expecting. I think we have everything in these wines – in Meursault we don’t want just tension, we need some fat and complexity too.”
Another fine range from Charles Ballot – the Meursault Narvaux is really worth a special search!
Only the Bourgogne is bottled, 3 weeks, all the rest will be done in January and February:
2019 Bourgogne Chardonnay
80% from Meursault the rest from Puligny.
Good width of aroma. Easy first impression but this flavour is growing with depth and definition. Sweet and long. A nice structure too. Finishing excellently this is very good Bourgogne…
Parcels from both sides of the village
A nose of extra freshness and width – a little spiced element too. Much more incisive, beautifully proportioned, super texture and long too. Directly, that’s a simply excellent villages.
2019 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 – it can suffer a bit more from the dryness here.’
A little more emphasis on the Meursault spice here. A touch of gas but undoubtedly a wine with extra energy and a more mineral impression, more intense finishing too. Mineral, long, great energy – certainly a step-up and still villages!
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.’
A stronger width of aroma – more mineral, more agrume more saline – less spice. Wow. This is so intense, growing in width, fine intensity, with a fine silky impression left on the teeth. Another great villages. Bravo!
2019 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Morgeot Tête du Clos
‘Again on white soil that helps the tension, even bringing a tannin in the finish.’ Young, 9-year-old vines – here was the most frost in 2019 – so less yield than in 2016…
A different style of nose; a deeper, heavier aroma. In the mouth too – a different style of concentration, of density, but never heavy. More opulement but still balanced. I have to say, delicious!
2019 Meursault 1er Bouchères
Smallest appellation here – 4 ouvrées. It ripens quickly here, next to a large murger so less circulation of air.
Back to fresher and wider, only faintly spiced but also nicely airy. More incisive again, I love the vibration of intensity in the middle. Simply excellent 1er cru – beautifully balanced.
2019 Meursault 1er Charmes
Dessus des Charmes almost on the limit of Puligny for these vines, only 40 cm of soil then onto the rock – we get an extra minerality here.
That’s a lovely aromatic, deep and wide, good dimension of aroma here. That’s a beauty, wide, airy but concentrated, dancing over the palate – certainly some oak support is visible but this is has a super agrume fruit blend. Love that.
The high part again – Dessus – and also the oldest vines here are 85 now and still bringing 35-40 hl/ha.
A very faintly smoky complexity here – an impression of silk to this nose. More impact, fuller. More complex, not lacking any energy or freshness. Extra linear in the finish and so long. Bravo!
2019 Meursault 1er Les Perrières
‘Always very small grapes in these vines.’ Near the Clos des Perrières
An extra freshness of aroma – quite perfumed. Extra-wide, slightly sweeter – more open clarity of flavour – a suggestion of tannic grain at the base. Where this wine adds an extra dimension is in the finish – it quickly expands bringing a large wave of finishing flavour, longer than Genevrières too.
2019 Volnay 1er Santenots
This in tank – those that follow not yet. 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 width of red-red fruit and some suggestion of florals too if you swirl. Lovely dimension of flavour – complex, faintly graphite minerality. Lovely wine – delicious…
2019 Pommard 1er Charmots
Older vines, only 25 hl/ha, only remontage here and not a long maceration, with 20-25% wc in many vintages but not in 2020 as they were a little desiccated.
Medium. Medium-plus colour. Quite a smoky nose, going deep and complex. Concentrated, sweet, smoky stems but never with any harshness. An almost mocha style to the flavours – but deep and satisfying flavours. A super-persistent finish. That’s excellent wine and a character too…
2019 Pommard 1er Pezerolles
Just a touch more colour. Also a little wc here bringing the smokiness again, in this case, the fruit more to the fore. Concentrated but with extra energy too. Smoky flavour from the stems again. Really a super finishing intensity. Both these last wines are strongly marked by their stems today but this will slowly move from the fore as they age. Great balance and material.