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Average critic rating : 94.0 points
The 2013 Bâtard Montrachet, Michel Niellon’s rarest cru (just two and a half barrels in 2013) was bottled at the beginning of September. It has an exotic, candied bouquet comparing it directly with the Chevalier-Montrachet with lush passion fruit and almond scents, all nigh irresistible. The palate is rounded and exotic in the mouth but not overbearing, armed with gorgeous orange peel, pineapple and lemon zest notes and then plenty of passion fruit toward the vibrant finish. This is holding nothing back, unlike the Chevalier-Montrachet, and it will be difficult to resist in its youth. ||My visit to Domaine Michel Niellon was one of my first ports of call as I embarked upon working my way through the Burgundy telephone book. It was my sole surviving appointment after my flight was delayed by five hours (though better to break down on the tarmac than at 30,000ft.) Readers may remember that last year I found Michel Niellon’s range of 2012s to be erratic and below my expectations. Speaking to winemaker Michel Coutoux he agreed that they were not of “grand cru” quality. The good news is that Niellon is back on form with a superior set of 2013s that will tickle your taste buds. Most of their 2013s had been bottled during early September with just one or two due to be bottled in early November because of tardy malolactics. Michel explained the challenges of the 2013 vintage: plenty of showers, overcast conditions that reduced luminosity (and therefore photosynthesis), the late maturity of the grapes and the constant threat of mildew. He told me that deleafing was crucial in this growing season and that the more favorably exposed sites fared better since the grapes found it easier to reach maturity. However, there was only a small picking window, which at Niellon began on September 28 with the Chassagne-Montrachet Village, the Premier Crus following the next day with the two Grand Crus on October 2, finishing with their maiden Bourgogne Blanc on October 3. The Grand Crus hurtled through their malolactic fermentation by December and January, but as I have already mentioned, some of the Premier Crus lagged until the late summer 2014. There is clearly better acidity in the 2013s compared to the 2012:, greater density and volume. Michel remarked that aromatically his 2013s remind him of the 2011s. These 2013s are very pretty, almost effervescent and candied and they will doubtlessly be difficult to resist in their youth, though I agreed with Michel that there is the density to suggest that will repay cellaring. The two Grand Crus are very different, the Chevalier-Montrachet reserved and linear, while the Bâtard-Montrachet is much more outgoing and exotic. It was great to see this domaine back producing top-quality wines this year. eRobertParker.com.December, 2014
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