2010 Domaine Michel Niellon Chassagne-Montrachet Clos St. Jean 1er Cru

Year: 2010
Appellation: Cote de Beaune
Country: France
Wine Spectator: 89
Wine Advocate: 92
Vinous Media: 91
Burghound: 92
White Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 13.5%
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"The lime blossom, apple, citronella and mineral aromas and flavors are intense in this vivid, bracing white. Pinched on the finish. Best from 2014 through 2020. 90 cases imported." (WS)

"The richest and ripest of the premier crus, the 2010 Chassagne-Montrachet Clos St. Jean is also the most overtly mineral. Smoke, slate, nectarines and licorice jump from the glass. The intense style works beautifully here, but the Clos St. Jean remains a bit laid-back relative to the other wines I tasted from this site. Fine, saline veins of minerality support the extroverted, plush finish. Anticipated maturity: 2013+.

Michel Niellon told me the key to the vintage was choosing the right picking date, especially after a thunderstorm in Santenay on September 12 forced many growers to pick a few days earlier than they had originally expected. Yields are down 15-30%, depending on the appellation, mostly because of the irregular flowering. The domaine’s parcels had a high percentage of coulure (shatter) and millerandage (shot berries). According to Niellon, it is the uneven size of the berries that marks the vintage, as the smaller berries gave concentration, while the larger berries contributed acidity. As was the case throughout the region, the malos were quite slow to develop, and a few of these wines were bottled a little later than usual, something that is now possible because of Niellon’s huge warehouse facility in an industrial section of Chassagne a few kilometers from the old, historic part of the village. The 2010s were aged in barrel until just before the 2011 harvest, at which time Niellon bottled the Chassagne-Montrachet, Champ Gains, Vergers and Chaumees. The Clos St. Jean, Maltroie, Chevalier and Batard (which I did not taste) were bottled in October and November 2011." (WA)

"Pale yellow. Tight nose hints at pear, flowers and menthol, along with a cool herbal nuance. In a distinctly juicy, rocky style, with racy acidity giving penetration to the middle palate and strong minerality contributing to the impression of strong dry extract. I like the combination of density, lift and cut. There's a pineappley acidity here that reminds me of Alsace riesling." (IWC)

" As is the case with the Clos de la Maltroie there is sufficient reduction present that it overshadows the underlying fruit. By contrast there is an excellent sense of tension to the well-delineated, intense and pure medium-bodied flavors that conclude in a dry, linear and driving finish that evidences hints of austerity. This is very backward and will need time to flesh out and develop but the material is certainly present for that to occur." - Comments: Outstanding (BH)

Winery Notes:
The Domaine Niellon was born from a local terroir-bred family. It was founded by Léon Niellon, taken over by his son Marcel and finally became fully developed under the guidance of Michel Niellon. It was in the 1960s that Michel took over the Domaine and began bottling the wines for export. With much ability, seriousness and care, Michel was able to aggrandize the Domaine bit by bit by buying new parcels up to 12 Acres. Today, three generations of the Niellon family work at the Domaine marrying respect, tradition, modernism and development with 25% ageing in new Allier oak barrels for 12 months. Michel produces many Appellations in Chassagne-Montrachet including Premiers Crus Champgains, Vergers, Maltroie, Clos St Jean, Chaumées, as well as Grands Crus Chevalier-Montrachet and Batard-Montrachet.