Michel Niellon – 2020


Lucie Coutoux 2021 Domaine Michel NiellonTasted in Chassagne-Montrachet with Lucie Coutoux, 26 October 2021.

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

Lucie on 2021:
It was less than half a harvest – the Bourgognes were okay, the villages lost plenty and the 1ers much more. Certainly a difficult vintage – not just the frost which came as the vines started to push but the cool weather and the wet of the summer too.

Lucie on 2020:
Here we can smile. It was easy it was generous, it’s aromatic. 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 – with plenty of volume for the whites. So our harvesting was rather homogenous – all is in Chassagne – so we were finished in about 6 days. This was an encouraging vintage. Fermentations with lots of energy – a good range of yeasts – some of the fermentations already close to finished in 5 days.

The wines…

A beautiful range of wines – consistently excellent and delicious!

All the whites had been bottled when I visited, the reds were still waiting:

2020 Bourgogne Chardonnay
One parcel directly in front of the winery – 11-year-old vines.
A vibrant nose – some greenery but very inviting. Cool. Direct, a little mineral – not super-sweet – I like the line and intensity here – a mineral intensity – mouth-watering and long – excellent Bourgogne!

2020 Chassagne-Montrachet
About 10 parcels – ‘And that might grow if we re-graft a couple of red parcels.’
A full nose, deep, nobly reductive. Quite an airy style – there’s less forceful structure and more elegance to this wine. Still a mineral style but easy and captivating over the palate – yep, captivating – that’s more than very good!

2020 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 last 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.
The little reduction of the others but here with an extra aromatic perfume – almost floral. Wider, with more intensity – widening in mouth-watering style over the palate – this time a salinity is more present. Refreshingly tasty wine.

2020 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Chenevottes
Two neighbouring parcels but with different vine ages.
More width of aroma – floral-mineral – the reduction is just the finest accent in this wine. Like the others – such a mineral wine – mouth-watering, almost juicily finishing. Quite wide and persistent finishing too – my new favourite – excellent!

2020 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Vergers
No harvest this year and with the dying of those vines on the 161 rootstock. They have decided to pull out the vines for replanting – so this is the last Vergers for a few years.
Yes! – What a nose! Floral perfume invitation – simply lovely. Mouth-filling – there’s plenty of material here but presented in a fine and elegant, airy, style. Mineral in the style of the domaine but with fine texture and melting flavour – this is easily my new favourite. Quite some tenacity in the finish too!

2020 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
More depth, less width, of aroma – here it’s more of a fresh and golden fruit. Fuller, a little more forceful in the mouth, but with some depth to the texture too – the palate of this and the nose of the last would be grand Chassagne indeed – here we have two simply excellent wines as they stand…

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.
Here we have a bit more of the aromatic combination of the last two – beautiful perfume but also with some mineral depth! Concentrated, supple, but wide and with beautiful clarity – this could be a Bâtard in shape. Long, mineral, very complex, faintly saline finishing – a simply great 1er!

2020 Chevalier-Montrachet
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.’
The perfume is not ultra-strong to start but it’s growing! The wide and mineral base of the aromas is ever-present. Concentrated – like the last – but a little more architectural in shape – there’s a little more openness to the shape and the flavour here too. The finish is ultra mineral but vibrant and never hard – ultra-long though! Class!

Les Rouges
Were just racked so not tasted…

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