Tasted in Chassagne-Montrachet with Lucie Coutoux, 30 September 2020.
Domaine Michel Niellon
Le Haut des Champs
Tel: +33 3 80 24 70 17
Othe reports for Domaine Michel Niellon
Lucie on 2020:
“It was nice; an easy winter like in 2019, we lacked real cold and because of that the vines started their growth already in March – but that meant some worry and candle-lighting for a period. But essentially a soft’ year from the weather. There was the confinement, of course, but we did our work as normal in the vines. A good year for photosynthesis not quite as hot as 2019 – probably just as well given the lack of rain. We started harvesting 24 August helped by the early, indeed excellent, flowering – that lasted on 4-5 days. So our harvesting was rather homogenous – all is in Chassagne – so we were finished in about 6 days. It looks like a good vintage for both quality and quantity here – the musts are already very aromatic.”
Lucie on 2019:
“The start was like in 2020 – t-shirts in the vines in February. There was a proper cold spell in the spring though, with some sectors at risk of frost – we used candles but perhaps lit a little late in some places so we lost some production. The flowering was sub-optimal with plenty of coulure. The summer was hot – again with practically a drought so here the quantity was certainly lower here than 2020 – a combination of the dryness and the very small drapes – 07-11 September harvesting. The pinot was a nice surprise. Satisfied despite a relatively small quantity as we think the wines are very good.”
No changes in the cuverie work this year. All the whites were bottled just before the harvest – a challenge due to the early harvest says Lucie – not all the reds were bottled when I visited. The bottles are sealed with natural cork – no peroxide – “We remain very happy with the results we have.”
Two fabulous Clos St.Jeans – so one of each colour – and a great villages white too. The rest of the range showing some restraint but also general excellence. That was a lovely tasting!
2019 Bourgogne Chardonnay
One parcel directly in front of the winery – 10 year-old vines. 12.5°
A compact but silky and fresh nose. A little richness, but a melting, sugared, and actually delicious flavour. It could certainly have more energy but is very tasty indeed.
A mix of 5 or 6 different parcels in the bottom of Chassagne including Blanchots Dessous. This the main cuvée affected by the frost.
Compact again but with an airy width of aroma. Bigger, fresher, more architecturally structural – nice. A little muscle and a lot of energy – great finishing – that’s a really great villages. Bravo!
2019 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Chenevottes
Two neighbouring parcels but with different vine ages.
Airy again – there’s a fine clarity of aroma here – a very good invitation to drink. Width again – it’s a step-up, but only a small step up; the meltingly flavoured, architectural style of the villages with just a little more complexity and finishing elegance. Really excellent wine again, but serving to show just how good the villages is. Impressive finishing intensity here.
2019 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er La Maltroie
Largest parcel of the domaine with almost 1 hectare of 3 different vine ages. Took out half of the young (2012) vines this year as the problem of the 161-49 rootstock was showing itself. Still no real solution, certainly with so many consecutive hot vintage and vines planted in drier places.
Here the nose is deeper – I see less of the high tones initially – but slowly there’s a halo of complexity forming around the core that reminds me of the complexity in a Meursault-Genevrières. Hmm, different, an inner density to the flavour here – there’s width but a more driving line of flavour too. Very mineral – really a super thing. Have patience but this is excellent, not super energetic yet great finishing.
2019 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Champs Gains
This parcel only just over the road from Maltroie, but totally different.
The depth of the Maltroie but with a little more floral accompaniment. Mouth-filling with more energy than the Maltrioe but a similar level of minerality. This is the wine (of these two) to drink today. Strongly citrus with delicious finishing, juicy, energy. Really excellent.
On high, near the quarry – two parcels – one in CSJ and the other in the climat of Rebichets, below
A nose that needs some coaxing from the glass – but slowly it comes with just the faintest addition from the barrel. Ooh – but that’s an incisive mineral and citrus start – growing with a wave of intensity. There’s a second wave of intense finishing flavour too – like a cross between a blood-orange and a grapefruit. Be patient but be happy if you have these.
2019 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.
The first nose with an element of firework reduction. Wider, more layered despite the energy and intensity. A wine that insinuates its flavour into the palate. More complexity, but not more delicious, than the Clos St.Jean. The finish less intense but not less long – a really super comparison to make with the last wine.
The only parcel of the domaine in Puligny, just below the vines of Bouchard, both sides of this parcel are owned by Leflaives – but different ones – and below is Laguiche in Montrachet. One could say ‘well-placed.’
Airy, yellow-fruited, a touch of oak. Here is volume – a certain richness, but a wine that’s melting with flavour – both fruit and mineral. Layered in the finish too, slowly, unfailingly, mouth-watering. Such impressive length too. An excellent Chevalier…
The reds still in tank, filtered 2 days ago, probably to be bottled before the end of October:
2019 Chassagne-Montrachet Rouge
A blend from 3 parcels
Medium, medium-plus colour. Ooh – this is very aromatic; not exactly muscular but there’s an inviting strength here and a slowly growing clarity of darker red fruit. Mouth-filling yet a little cushioned. A little impression of gas that disturbs the texture a little. Mouth-watering, layered finishing flavour. Young, vigorous and already, nearly, delicious – excellent!
Even bigger, even more clarity – a clarion-call of fine fruit aroma here. A more direct wine – of energetic clarity and an open style. This is a great Chassagne – Bravo – I love – no question. Slowly adding a little extra richness but never excessive. Always such a lovely coulis of red fruit – even long into the finish!