Michel Niellon Chevalier-Montrachet, Grand Cru, 2010

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From 0.23ha in the Chevalier-Montrachet vineyard, planted in 1962. Old vines, low yields, and marvellous attention to detail allow Michel Niellon to craft spectacular wines, albeit in vanishingly small quantities.

Allan Meadows, Burghound: This is quite ripe as there is a discreet hint of exotic fruit to the otherwise more typical aromas of pure citrus, acacia blossom and wet stone scents. The ultra-precise and intense middle weight flavors seem extracted directly from liquid stone and when coupled with the wonderful sense of underlying tension there is a first-rate vibrancy to the gorgeously long and impeccably well-balanced finish. This should be a knockout in time as everything that it needs to be one is here.

Michel Niellon, who began working with his father Marcel in the 1950’s, has crafted more than 50 vintages of extraordinary wines. The father-son team began domaine-bottling in the 1960’s and soon after, their 4-hectare estate was considered one of the very best in the village. Since 1991, Michel has shared vineyard and winemaking duties with his son-in-law, Michel Coutoux. Recently, Michel’s grandson Mathieu Bresson joined the winery as well. Today the winery has 7.5 hectares of vines. “We plow the vineyards for weed control and don’t use herbicides. For pest and mildew control, we practice lutte raisonnee,” explains Coutoux.

Niellon does not like to wait too long before harvesting the grapes: it is preferable, he says, to pick earlier rather than later. “We take acidity into consideration first. Often we are the first in the village to pick at harvest time,” Niellon. Fermentations happen spontaneously in stainless steel tanks. After the primary fermentation, the wine is moved to barrels for malolactic and aging. About 25% of the barrels are new and the total amount of new oak ranges from 20-30% depending on the cuvee. Niellon is a benchmark producer in the village of Chassagne and the wines have a classic style, expressing the terroir of each vineyard, striking a balance of crisp minerality with rich and ripe fruit.

Type White
Country France
Region Burgundy
Appellation Chevalier Montrachet Grand Cru
Vintage 2010
Grapes Chardonnay
ABV 13.5%