Domaine Michelot, MeursaultFriday, July 3
Originally offered en primeur in early 2020, the wines below have now landed into bond.
Jean-François Mestre and his son Nicolas run the domaine, but we first visited here twenty years ago to taste with Nicolas' grandfather Bernard Michelot.
Diminutive and charming with a distinct twinkle in his eye, Monsieur Michelot tasted the latest vintage from barrel with us, before retiring to his tasting room in the deepest part of the cellar, lit by the much-photographed chandelier made from old bottles of Meursault. "Et maintenant, quelque chose pour éducation..." he said, as he began opening older bottles from the 1980s, '70s, '60s and '50s.
The style of these older wines was heavier, with more new oak and much more battonage...stirring of the lees as the wines aged in barrel, which adds richness but at the risk of reducing freshness.
Fast-forward twenty years and the winemaking, now managed by Nicolas, is more modern. With less emphasis on new oak and less battonage, the focus is on retaining extremely pure fruit flavours. Taut when young, Michelot's Meursaults age effortlessly.
Nicolas and his father were pioneers in bottling some of their village Meursault under screwcap and we have tried examples of even their Bourgogne Chardonnay at 6 to 7 years old which taste as fresh as newly made wines. This also means the wines take longer to 'unfurl' and hence are not attention-grabbers at the annual barrel tastings.
Perhaps for that reason, Michelot's wines are enjoyed by Burgundy-lovers around the world but remain slightly below the critics' radar. Certainly, one Burgundy-insider has suggested to us that Jean-François Coche-Dury (one of Meursault and Burgundy's greatest winemakers) thinks Michelot should be more highly prized. Happy for us, in that drinking vintages of Michelot's wines can be had for less than a tenth of the price of equivalents from Coche-Dury! Put another way, the price of a bottle of Coche buys you a case of Michelot.
Jean-François and Nicolas may have a more contemporary approach than Bernard (who passed away in 2016, well into his nineties), but they share his joie de vivre. Each November when we visit, they tell tales of "Paulée de Meursault", the annual celebratory harvest dinner which seems to be quite an epicurean affair. Their enjoyment at pairing the wines with good food and with good company is evident. They make wines to be drunk and enjoyed often...we could all do with a little more Michelot in our lives!
The 2018 vintage
Our initial selection focuses on the lieu-dit Meursault Les Grands Charrons and the Santenay 1er Cru Les Gravieres. The Meursault hits a particular sweet spot, a notch up from the village wine in price but with added richness and wonderful saline, mineral freshness. The Santenay borders Chassagne and is as serious a white burgundy as you could ever need, without an equally seriously expensive postcode to match. Fill your cellar with it and drink it every week.
We also offer two of the premiers crus, Les Charmes and Les Genevrieres, both with very limited availability and for long-term cellaring.
2018 Santenay Blanc ‘Les Gravieres’ 1er Cru, Domaine Michelot
"Les Gravieres" is adjacent to Chassagne-Montrachet, on clay/limestone soil. In the wine this translates into exuberant, exotic fruits on the nose and broad palate with excellent richness and weight, perfectly balanced by lots of citrus freshness and smoky and saline mineral character. Just delicious, could drink this forever. RKL
£160 per 6 bottles in bond: LAST 5 CASES REMAINING
2018 Meursault ‘Les Grand Charrons’, Domaine Michelot
"Grands Charrons" is on a slope with three different subsoils; from yellow clay, to small rocks, to hard limestone. Mineral, iodine freshness on the nose, salty, some reductive notes, singing beautifully. Tremendous length, provided by the saline character, but there is underlying concentrated fruit too which will broaden out with a couple of years in bottle. Very good value, a definite 'buy'. RKL
£180 per 6 bottles in bond: LAST 8 CASES REMAINING
2018 Meursault ‘Les Charmes’ 1er Cru, Domaine Michelot
"Very nervy nose. Juicy and tense. Racy but with sufficient undertow of ripe fruit. Very successful. Should age well but is already broachable. Great balance. Drink 2020 – 2030. 17+ points" jancisrobinson.com
£280 per 6 bottles in bond: LAST 6 CASES REMAINING
2018 Meursault ‘Les Genevrieres’ 1er Cru, Domaine Michelot
Les Genevrieres" (the name comes from 'juniper bushes') is on clay/limestone with a varied subsoil of rock, volcanic rock and white limestone. Michelot's parcels are at 250 - 275 metres. Opulent and soft on the nose with notes of butter and delicate spiced aromas. Rich and spiced on palate but still has a lightness of touch and minerality. Spice is very intense on the finish. Will need 4-5 years bottle age. RKL
£300 per 6 bottles in bond: LAST 7 CASES REMAINING