Burghound – 93
Reduction pushes the floral-scented aromas to the background. Otherwise there is excellent richness to the powerful and concentrated flavors, indeed this is almost succulent which is unusual for Chevalier though there is plenty of the hallmark minerality on the sappy and lingering finale. If there is a nit it’s that this is not especially complex even allowing for how young it is, and my score offers the benefit of the doubt that more will develop and it should given this wine’s impeccable long-term track record. (Drink starting 2021)
John Gilman – 96+
The 2014 Chevalier-Montrachet from Domaine Niellon is utterly classic in profile and a great wine in the making. The bouquet wafts from the glass in a beautiful constellation of apple, pear, chalky minerality, a touch of orange zest, incipient notes of pastry cream and a judicious base of vanillin oak. On the palate the wine is pure, full-bodied and crisp, with a nice sense of reserve out of the blocks, bottomless depth at the core, a fine girdle of acidity and superb length and grip on the very long, poised and outstanding finish. Classic.
Anticipated maturity: 2021-2060
Vinous – 93+
Very pale, green-tinged yellow. Very fresh if slightly reduced aromas of pear, flint, white flowers and talc. Then dense, sappy and alive in the mouth, showing penetrating lemony cut to the flavors of pear, mint and minerals. This uncompromisingly dry wine finishes vibrant and juicy, with terrific grip. This wine actually struck me as a bit exotic from barrel last year, but it’s far more classic in its finished form.
Anticipated maturity: 2022-2031
Robert Parker – 84
The 2014 Chevalier Montrachet Grand Cru was completely shut down on the nose when I tasted it and despite rigorous coaxing, it remained tight-lipped. The palate is balanced but somehow a little static, missing the energy and tension that a young Chevalier-Montrachet should exude. Perhaps it was not coming out to play on the day I visited the domaine? I will reserve judgement for later and hope that it will sort itself out in bottle. This was a vexing showing. I wish I could be more positive about the 2014s that I tasted from Domaine Michel Niellon. As I have mentioned in previous reports, I cut my teeth on some wonderful Chassagne-Montrachets from Niellon, yet in recent years I have found them to be frustratingly inconsistent. As usual, I met with winemaker and Niellon’s son-in-law Michel Coutoux at their facility next to Philippe Colin, which gave them much more space to work in. He told me that they harvested between 12 and 17 September, racked in the middle of July and that all the wines were bottled on 16 August. Given that I favoured their 2013s much more than their 2012s, I must admit that I approached this tasting with an air of optimism. But if truth be told, I was willing myself to find positives in what seemed like a set of wines that failed to capture the nervosité and terroir expression of the vintage. There is a part of me that, irrational as it sounds, wonders whether this great domaine lost something when it moved out of their cramped cellars in the heart of Chassagne? It might be something intangible, no fault of any winemaker, just a loss of spark and joie-de-vivre? Then again, Philippe Colin is making some fabulous white Burgundy wines next door. Secondly, I wonder why they bottle early vis-à-vis other growers? With their new facility they should be making use of their space. I cannot help feeling that a longer élevage would help fill out these wines. Still, there are glimmers of hope, especially with their Chassagne-Montrachet les Chaumées that was a timely reminder of what this domaine can achieve.
Anticipated maturity: 2015-2015