Profile: Domaine Michel Noellat (Vosne)

Update 2.1.2021(17.12.2013)billn


Domaine Michel Noëllat & Fils sits just away from the Mairie of Vosne-Romanée in Rue de la Fontaine, its close neighbour is Domaine Leroy. Hardly the most famous name in the village, yet this Domaine extends to 27 hectares (and there is a little négoce wine for export too) with vines distributed all the way from Marsannay to Pommard – they list 23 different appellations in their cellar – though just two white wines.

Brothers Alain and Jean-Marc Noëllat are the 5th generation of the family responsible for the domaine – the eponymous Michel was their father (d.1989). Today, more and more exposure is being given to Sophie and her cousin Sébastian (the 6th generation); Sophie is Alain’s daughter, and is taking on the commercial work, whilst Sébastian (Jean-Marc’s son) is, since 2008, more involved in the vineyards and winery. Cousins of the Noëllat-Barthods of Chambolle, this large domaine (10 employees plus 3 tâcherons) remains relatively unknown Outside of France, mainly because only about 10% of the domaine’s production is exported, they also still a significant volume to the négoce of Beaune.

The domaine’s production is essentially split into two working parts; there is the new (since 2009) cuverie next to the RN74 in Vosne and the barrel cellar in Rue de la Fontaine. The new cuverie receives the grapes for sorting and lines rows of shiny, temperature-controlled, stainless-steel fermentation tanks – previously this was mainly done in concrete tanks. The barrel-cellar is back under the (relatively modern looking) house in Rue de la Fontaine, here the wine is aged before returning it to the new cuverie for assemblage and bottling.

Of vines and wines…

The work in the vineyards is ‘raisonée’, avoiding insecticides and herbicides. The harvested grapes are 100% destemmed before a short period of cool maceration and 18-20 days of fermentation – both pigeage and remontage are used but in each case, is chosen depending on the raw materials at hand.

Barrel-aging lasts 14-16 months. Oak use is relatively modest here, even the grand-crus tend to receive only 50-60% – though Alain concedes that more was used in 2012 because yields were lower – and they’d already bought the barrels! Those barrels are a mix from 4 different tonellières, choosing oak from both Tronçais and Alliers, but only with a medium toast. The wines are only racked once, just before bottling when they are assembled.

Alain and Sophie Noëllat.

The following wines were tasted in Vosne-Romanée on the 10th January 2013 with Alain and Sophie Noëllat. All the wines that had been assembled for bottling (to take place in February 2013) showed a fairly strong whiff of P, but it was rarely visible in those wines those that still waited in their barrels.

2011 Savigny-lès-Beaune
Good colour. Quite a strong P note, but there is pretty fruit below. In the mouth this is round, simple but tasty.

2011 Morey St.Denis, Tres-Girard
The nose has deeper, darker fruit but also some P. There’s lots of sweetness and a broad sweep of flavour on the palate. Super acidity and concentration though – this is very good.

2011 Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Les Lavières
A higher-toned nose with plenty of P. Again there is good concentration and a nice sucrosité – really lovely mid-palate and finishing flavour – edged with fine acidity.

2011 Chambolle-Musigny
This wine is a combination of multiple parcels that includes a little 1er Cru.
Deep aromas, some P, but lovely complexity. There is an extra concentration here after the Lavières. Good balance and nice length – indeed very good length.

2011 Vosne-Romanée
A blend of three different parcels.
Deeply fruited – the only wine of these in tanks without an obvious P note, rather it is augmented just by a modest, slightly tight spice note, though eventually a nice floral note comes through. The palate is not tight, showing depth, direction and a lovely finishing complexity.

2011 Nuits St.Georges
Here, from a blend of two parcels.
P. In the mouth there’s wide, dark-fruit and plenty dimension – helped by lovely acidity. The tannin shows more grain, but it remains supple.

The following wines were from barrel and bottle:

2011 Vosne-Romanée 1er Les Suchots
Still in barrel, to be bottled in March 2013. The domaine has 2 plots of Suchots that total 1.5 hectares. – we tasted both
1. The nose has reduction plus a raspberry conserve. In the mouth there’s an insinuating concentration of dark-red fruit.
2. The second has no reduction and is much more mineral in both aroma and flavour.

2011 Vosne-Romanée 1er Les Beaumonts
Also in barrel – just one parcel this time, yet it’s a whopping 1.77 hectares.
Here the nose is higher-toned, but it’s also very engaging – just a faint P in the mix. Lots of sucrosité and very good width of flavour. There’s a nice peak of flavour in the mid-palate too. . Very, very good.

2011 Nuits St.Georges 1er Les Boudots
Here is a lovely nose – concentrated, cushioned and deep – in a word, inviting. Again the fruit is rather sweet – the flavour is excellent and seems to move in all directions. Quite a big wine for this vintage!

2011 Echézeaux du Dessus
Only since this 2011 vintage have they decided to include the lieu-dit on the label.
Lots of coconut oak on the nose, so it’s surprising that the note of P is relatively easy to spot. Concentrated in the mouth though the coconut is pretty obvious here too. Despite the oak there is lovely texture and concentration. One assumes that not all the barrels will show the oak flavour to this extent.

2011 Clos de Vougeot
From 2 parcels – one n the lower section but from 90 year-old vines, plus a parcel that is sited near the Château.
After the coconut-sundae of the Echézeaux, this is thankfully rather-more restrained, indeed rather tight – just a few floral notes. In the mouth this seems a little tight too – perhaps the Echézeaux over-powered it – it slowly widens and softens but I take only textural notes from this wine rather than flavours.

2010 Vosne-Romanée 1er Les Suchots
Here the nose shows an inviting, faintly chocolate-truffled impression. Round, mouth-watering and with a lovely expansion of flavour yet everything stemming from a super baseline of acidity. Fine!

2010 Vosne-Romanée 1er Les Beaumonts
Here the nose is rather tight. In the mouth its fuller, sweeter and apparently more concentrated than the Suchots – super gourmand – the finishing flavours are tighter but more complex and long too. Super.

2010 Echézeaux
Here there is a pretty depth of aroma – also very inviting. Fuller, with understated yet ‘present’ tannin. Lovely growing intensity of fruit flavour – and flashes of yet more fruit. The finish is more mineral. What a super-pleasurable wine!

1999 Vosne-Romanée 1er Les Beaumonts
The colour remains rather young. But the nose is of roses and turned leaves plus a growing width and depth of fruit aromas. Plenty of structure remains below the understated sweet fruit – fine texture and decent acidity too. This finishes with authority – a lovely wine if you have it – even if it is still a little ‘strict’ in the finish.

Domaine Michel Noëllat & Fils
5, rue de la Fontaine
Vosne-Romanée 21700
Tel: +33 (0)3 80 61 36 87

Agree? Disagree? Anything you'd like to add?

There are 3 responses to “Profile: Domaine Michel Noellat (Vosne)”

  1. Mark Goldberg18th December 2013 at 7:41 pmPermalinkReply

    I recently returned from Beaune. One of the highlights of our trip was a visit to Domaine Michel Noellat. Sophie and the rest of her staff could not have been more welcoming. We tasted wines from the 2010 and 2011 vintages, including : Vosne Romanee, Les Suchots and Les Beaumonts; Echezeaux, Clos de Vougeot, Nuits St. Georges Les boudots, and Chambolle Musigny. Their Domaine is beautiful and their wines our exquisite, expressing each of their terroir. We visited many Domaines on our trip and the only wines i shipped back to the U.S. was from Domaine Michel Noellat. When in Burgundy, this is a Domaine not to be missed.

  2. Mark Goldberg20th December 2013 at 10:27 pmPermalinkReply

    Is the “P” you mentioned in tasting some of the wines phosphorus, and is this commonly found?

    • billn21st December 2013 at 12:05 pmPermalinkReply

      Hi Mark – take a quick peek at the editorial page – hope that helps

  3. Mark Goldberg26th December 2013 at 11:21 pmPermalinkReply

    Bill, thanks for your reference to your editorial (I should read it first). After reading your editorial, I found your comments in the 2004 issue ” a la coccinelle”. Is the “P” your describing a product of vintage and if so is it found in other producers in the 2011 vintage? Thanks for all your comments and hard work.

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