- Côte de Beaune, Burgundy, France
As I wrote last year, Niellon's son-in-law, Michel Coutoux, is routinely producing wines of impressively consistent quality and style... This is a domaine in fine form today, and readers who have fallen out of touch with the wines are advised to reacquaint themselves with this excellent producer. - William Kelley, Wine Advocate.
Michel Niellon, who began working with his father Marcel in the 1950's, has crafted more than fifty vintages of extraordinary wines. The father-son team began domaine-bottling in the 1960’s and soon after, their four hectare estate was considered one of the very best in the village. Since 1991, Michel has shared vineyard and winemaking duties with his son-in-law, Michel Coutoux. Recently, Michel’s grandson Mathieu Bresson joined the winery as well.
Today the winery has seven and a half hectares of vines, all in Chassagne-Montrachet. “We plow the vineyards for weed control and don’t use herbicides. For pest and mildew control, we practice lutte raisonnée,” explains Coutoux. Niellon does not like to wait too long before harvesting the grapes: it is preferable, he says to pick earlier rather than later. “We take acidity into consideration first. Often we are the first in the village to pick at harvest time,” Niellon.
Fermentations happen spontaneously in stainless steel tanks. After the primary fermentation, the wine is moved to barrels for malolactic and aging. About 25% of the barrels are new and the total amount of new oak ranges from 20-30% depending on the cuvée. Niellon is a benchmark producer in the village of Chassagne and the wines have a classic style, expressing the terroir of each vineyard while striking a balance of crisp minerality with rich and ripe fruit.
"Coutoux describes the 2018 vintage as "another Burgundian classic," much the same terms he applied to his excellent 2017s, and this is one address where 2017 and 2018 are more first cousins than distant relations. As readers may remember, house fingerprint here is distinctive, with a touch of toasty oak from Saint-Romain's Tonnellerie Gillet marking each cuvée and the wines dependably distinguishing themselves with lovely texture and concentration." - William Kelley, Wine Advocate, January 2020.