Party time with 2018 1ers & grands crus from Louis Michel
Guillaume Michel has been living it for so long that it seems it was aeons before it became a cliché: “Great wine is made in the vineyard.”
Let’s go back 50 years. That’s when Domaine Louis Michel et Fils ceased using oak barrels. The point was that nothing should speak over the sound of Chardonnay speaking with a chablisien accent. Or rather singing in the dialect of each specific terroir.
Across 25 hectares of vineyard, Guillaume has seven people working full-time in the vineyard. “If you do a good job in the vineyards, then when you harvest you’ve done 90% of the job,” he says. “In the winery, because we want to make clean and fresh wines – and especially wines that are terroir-driven – we vinify exclusively in stainless steel tanks, with minimum intervention.”
Guillaume would laugh at the very thought that such purism could be trendy. After all, since that first stainless-steel vintage of 1970, that’s how it’s been this way chez Louis Michel, and with breathtaking results.
We are, as always, tremendously excited to share this Chablis with you.
Offering up aromas of peach, pear and orange oil, the 2018 Petit Chablis is medium-bodied, ample and fleshy, with an enveloping core of fruit, succulent acids and an expansive finish. Pleasure-bent and immediate, this will drink very well young.88 points. William Kelley, Wine Advocate July 2020
From six plots, now blended. Pale green reflections. Stones with, some flesh on the bones. Actually despite the volume this has maintained its classicism. Pure long and detailed. A certain weight and warmth at the finish. Decent yield and more classical approach. Under 13% I am told.87-89 points. Jasper Morris – Inside Burgundy
The 2018 Chablis Forêts 1er Cru was showing a bit of reduction on the nose that occluded the terroir expression. The palate is well balanced with a fine bead of acidity, touches of orange pith and apricot and hints of red fruit (cherry and strawberry) on the harmonious finish. Lovely.91 points. Neal Martin, Vinous Media
The 2018 Chablis 1er Cru Vaillons is characteristically charming, wafting from the glass with notes of pear, orange oil, white flowers and peach. Medium to full-bodied, satiny and vibrant, it displays fine depth at the core and racy balancing acids, concluding with a long and expressive finish. This has turned out very well.92 points. William Kelley, Wine Advocate
The 2018 Chablis Butteaux Vieilles Vignes 1er Cru has a clean, precise bouquet with delicate touches of pressed yellow flower petals interlaced with crushed stone, chalk and honeysuckle. The palate is well balanced with a lovely texture, a fine bead of acidity and a mineral-driven finish that is very poised and full of energy. This comes recommended. A superb Butteaux.93 points. Neal Martin, Vinous Media
The 2018 Chablis Montée de Tonnerre is clean and precise on the nose, perhaps more in the vein of a traditional Chablis than, say, the Butteaux. The palate is fresh and lively with crisp acidity, impressive tension and a twist of sour lemon toward the finish that keeps this Chablis alert and alive. Excellent.93 points. Neal Martin, Vinous Media
Pure clear colour. The nose is brilliantly succulent, very heady, but still in balance. White fruit, floral notes, quite dense from the start yet balanced across the palate, some smoky notes, good enough acidity, waves of flavour, the typical limestone white fruit of Vaudésir. They are located on the north-facing slope which helps. All you want at the finish, while clearly a warm vintage wine.92-96 points. Jasper Morris – Inside Burgundy
Yellowish colour but not deep. Dense and backward bouquet. White peach emerges behind, but not too much heat, finishing at only a fraction above 13% alcohol. Les Clos really shows its terroir here. Insistent and consistent, with high class fruit dominating the second half of the palate. A little bit of velvet in the texture.93-97 points. Jasper Morris – Inside Burgundy