Michel Noellat
By George Stewart

Since 2014 we’ve been visiting Domaine Michel Noëllat each year when we visit Burgundy during primeurs week and without fail every year they drift closer and closer to the top of the pile. In 2017 they are one of our producers of choice, having taken full advantage of the gifts that the vintage proffered.

It’s always a pleasure watching a domaine progress through the vintages and even if the likes of top critics don’t always swing by Michel Noëllat during their EP tastings we wouldn’t miss it for the world.

A Vosne-based domaine of 27 hectares with holdings across some of the finest vineyards in the Côte d’Or, their Grands Crus have for a few years been worthy benchmarks for the quality of the vintage. Starting at the bottom of the appellation hierarchy with the Bourgogne Rouge they added weight to one of our theories for 2017 that the Bourgognes at each domaine set a strong tone for the producer, with a clear representation of the house style, conveying their interpretation of the vintage and serving as a jumping off point for the rest of the stable.

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“Their Grands Crus have for a few years been worthy benchmarks for the quality of the vintage.”

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Moving through the line-up they have made major improvements at the villages level. We’ve been pretty thrilled with the reinvigorated wines coming out of Fixin these days and a number of dedicated producers have helped to really improve the image of the appellation but Michel Noëllat is easily one of the most impressive. Tasting it was like tasting a 1er Cru Gevrey-Chambertin, it was so concentrated, ripe and yet fresh and balanced. Their holdings in the village include 4 plots totalling 1.6 hectares, of which the average age of the vines is an estimable 50 years! With about 30% new oak used this is clearly given some serious care and investment, which makes it all the more compelling to lay down for 5-15 years.

It may seem surprising to give less time individually to the villages wines from the likes of Vosne-Romanée, Morey-Saint-Denis, Chambolle-Musigny and Nuits-Saint-Georges, but that is exactly what we’re going to do! Each village wine performs perfectly in its role. The Chambolle is silky and refined with great aromatics, while the Nuits-Saint-Georges is a more muscular dark and spicy affair. In essence they all do exactly what they say on the tin and with a lot of style.

One that stood out for us in particular was the Morey-Saint-Denis. We have to admit that this is a village we’d not given adequate attention to in vintages past but the superb balance and beautifully layered red currant and cherry fruit, matched with the subtle spiciness certainly ensured that this will no longer be the case!

If the villages wines are so good then you can bet the 1ers Crus are remarkable here in 2017, with some of them challenging upwards to the Grands Crus. The finesse and grandeur of these wines and those holding the loftiest designation of Grand Cru are among the finest of the vintage and it is no surprise that they are quite possibly our pick of the vintage.

This is a domaine to watch and one to buy, especially in years when there is something that resembles quantity. With that in mind, 2017 is looking mighty fine for Michel Noëllat!