2012 Chevalier Montrachet Domaine Niellon

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Average critic rating : 90.5 points



This is ripe to the point where the fruit runs toward the exotic with its dried yellow fruit, pineapple and spiced white pear aromas. The textured, concentrated and serious medium full flavors exude a fine minerality on the impressively long and sappy finish. This is a nice blend of generosity and underlying tension and while this isn't exactly typical it is impressive in its fashion as this is a very big Chevalier that should be approachable young if desired. Tasted: Jun 15, 2014. Drink: 2019+



The 2012 Chevalier-Montrachet Grand Cru comes from a 0.23-hectare of vines planted back in 1962 and purchased by Marcel Niellon (Michel’s father) in the 1960s. It has a reticent stony nose, a pale facsimile of the exuberant “beast” shown at Sauzet just a couple of hours earlier. Eventually, it reluctantly offers light beeswax and honeysuckle aromas, but it is bereft of mineralite. The palate is medium-bodied with an attractive opening: dried pineapple and citrus lemon. It unwinds nicely in the mouth and feels long and broad, but what is missing is that race and tension, that mineralite towards the finish.||As an admirer of Michel Niellon wines, especially after a divine Chevalier-Montrachet 1986 earlier this year, it is with heavy heart that I have to report that this appears to be one producer unbalanced and compromised by the inclemency of 2012. Hail severely damaged several of their prime vineyards. Batard-Montrachet was reduced down to a nub, while propitious premier crus the calibre of “Chenevottes” was akin to a child being pushed off their bicycle. In Burgundy, I am afraid there are no stabilizers. Still, on September 19 they harvested what they could and bottled everything, including their Chevalier-Montrachet, at the beginning of September. Michel’s son-in-law Michel Coutoux and grandson Mathieu took me through these wines, which seemed to lack the vigor and precision that I found elsewhere and within the domaine’s own wines in previous vintages. I am sure they will be back on form next year. eRobertParker.com.December, 2013


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