Federal Wine & Spirits

29 State Street, Boston, MA 02109

2014 Michel Niellon Whites

Classic Style and Striking Balance
August 15, 2017


Michel Niellon, along with Ramonet, is the benchmark producer in the village of Chassagne. His wines have a classic style, expressing the terroir of each vineyard, striking a balance of crisp minerality with rich and ripe fruit.

He began working with his father Marcel in the 1950's, and now has more than 50 vintages under his belt.  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 in Chassagne-Montrachet. They plow the vineyards for weed control and don’t use herbicides. Niellon does not like to wait too long before harvesting the grapes: it is preferable, he says to pick earlier rather than later.

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 cuvée.

These wines are available in small quantities: only 6 bottles of the Chevalier are coming into Massachusetts. The wines will be available on presell only, and will arrive in about a month.

All notes below are from Alan Meadows, Burghound. He often mentions reduction, which is effect of anti-oxidative winemaking and can mute the fruit and add off-notes, making a wine difficult to assess when young. These go away with airing and/or age and are no problem .in drinking. These are classic burgundies in a classic whire vintage that belong in a Chassagne lover's cellar.


Chassagne-Montrachet: "The cool nose is compositionally similar to that of the Bourgogne but with notably better complexity. There is also much better mid-palate density and volume to the attractively textured medium-bodied flavors that possess a caressing mouth feel before culminating in a sneaky long finale. This is worth checking out provided you can allow it a few years of cellar time to develop a bit more overall depth. " $59 Net

Chassagne-Montrachet Clos St. Jean 1er Cru :  "Notes of petrol and wood spice add breadth to the ripe white orchard fruit and discreet lemon rind scents. There is good richness to the agreeably textured and lush medium weight flavors that also possess a caressing mouth feel while delivering solid depth on the sneaky long finish that really fans out as it sits on the palate. Note that this succulent effort could easily be enjoyed young. " $89 Net

Chassagne-Montrachet Les Vergers 1er Cru:  "the nose is quite firmly reduced so a thorough aeration is in order if you’re going to try a bottle anytime soon. By contrast there is good freshness to the remarkably rich and almost unctuous full-bodied flavors that possess excellent mid-palate concentration, all wrapped in a lingering finish that tightens up enough to suggest that this should repay a few years of cellar time but also drink well young." $89 Net

Chassagne-Montrachet Clos de la Maltroie: 1er Cru "This is also quite strongly reduced so some time in a decanter would be beneficial. There is outstanding richness to the seductively textured and opulent flavors that coat the palate with dry extract while the citrus-tinged acidity is sufficiently firm to maintain the balance on the saline-inflected finish. This too will be approachable young if desired." $89 Net

Chassagne-Montrachet Les Chaumées – Clos de la Truffière 1er Cru. "There is a touch of reduction present but not so much as to completely mask the aromas of citrus and floral nuances. The intense, rich and relatively broad-shouldered flavors also possess plenty of palate coating sap that also buffers the moderately firm acid backbone on the persistent, balanced and slightly drier and more complex finale."  $89 Net

Chevalier-Montrachet Grand Cru: "Reduction pushes the floral-scented aromas to the background. Otherwise there is excellent richness to the powerful and concentrated flavors, indeed this is almost succulent which is unusual for Chevalier though there is plenty of the hallmark minerality on the sappy and lingering finale. If there is a nit it’s that this is not especially complex even allowing for how young it is, and my score offers the benefit of the doubt that more will develop and it should given this wine’s impeccable long-term track record." $375 Net Very limited


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           - Len Rothenberg