Dear Snooth readers,
I had the pleasure to taste through seven recent vintages of Domaine Niellon Clos de la Maltroie premier cru Chassagne Montrachet last week.
Niellon is a traditional producer with a long history in the region. Focus is on low yields and no more than 12 months aging in 2nd and 3rd fill oak barriques. He is also one of the more affordable producers with prices averaging @ $65 per bottle.
Clos de la Maltroie Chardonnay vines were planted in 1975 and are farmed sustainably.
In general the wines are rich, concentrated and very approachable while young.
Beginning with the 2009, a very ripe generous nose of tropical fruit and citrus braced with moderately high acid and a nervy mineral tension. Subtle oak evident with rich caramel aromas. Well balanced, unctuous palate and a long finish lasting 15+ seconds. Tasted blind, it might have been mistaken for a New World Chardonnay.
2008 delivers a more earthy and mineral driven nose with restrained fruit braced by high acid and moderate alcohol.
2007 is true to the mediocre vintage with dilute fruit, and hints of oxidation evident in slightly madeirized aromas and deep gold color.
2006 is a knockout with forward, ripe tropical fruit nose and a mineral complexity. On palate, ripe, rich and very concentrated with a perfectly balanced structure and biscuity finish. Very subtle oak works as an accent, not a dominant force which is true to all Niellon Chassagnes.
2005 is a more herbaceous and savory wine with hints of pine resin and a salinity on palate with a long mineral finish. Needs time and best served decanted.
2004 is very good with a very leesy, lactone nose, restrained fruit and more pronounced oak spice and a long finish.
2003 is excellent and a big surprise considering the ferocious heat during this vintage. It is forward and ripe with sweet succulent white orchard fruit and well integrated oak spice braced with minerality and moderate acid. Drink now. A joy to behold.
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