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2019 Domaine Louis Michel Chablis 1er Cru Butteaux Vieilles Vignes

2019 Domaine Louis Michel Chablis 1er Cru Butteaux Vieilles Vignes

93+ RP

 

Wine Details for 2019 Domaine Louis Michel Chablis 1er Cru Butteaux Vieilles Vignes

Product ID 2019-domaine-louis-michel-chablis-1er-cru-butteaux-vieilles-vign
Availability In Stock
Type of Wine Burgundy White : No one can express the full potential of Chardonnay quite like the visionaries from Burgundy. With an almost entirely single-minded devotion to the noble varietal in question, they continue to push the boundaries of quality, to the joy of their many fans worldwide. Discover the nuances of every producer and come out changed forever.
Varietal Chardonnay : Chardonnay has carved its path towards the title “king of white grapes” in subtle yet striking fashion, playing instrumental roles throughout the course of history. It was the chosen grape variety which celebrated the inception of the very first Champagne house - Ruinart, which insists “Chardonnay is the golden thread that runs through the Ruinart taste. “ “Remember men, it’s not just France we’re fighting for, it’s Champagne,” Winston Churchill. The infamous and celebrated French author, Alexandre Dumas once declared a high quality chardonnay wine from Le Montrachet was one that is only appropriate to sip “on bended knees, with head bowed.” And of course, history was made once again when a bottle of 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay was awarded first prize in the famous tasting of the “1976 Judgement of Paris,” changing the world’s view on California Chardonnay, inspiring vintners and altering the landscape of California winemaking forever.

The origin of the Chardonnay grape can be traced back to the small village of Macon in the Burgundy appellation of France. The varietal, whose name means “a place of thistles” in Latin, is the offspring of Pinot Noir and Gouais Blanc. Like most prominent grape varietals, the exact circumstances of its inception are unknown; however, it is interesting to note that Gouais Blanc originated in Germany. It is speculated that the ancient Romans, who successfully subdued the Germanic tribes in 6 AD, planted Gouais Blanc in French soil, unwittingly prompting the crossbreeding of the two varietals. If this is the case, the history of the Chardonnay grape goes back much further.

The Noble Chardonnay grape variety is most happy in the winegrowing appellation of Burgundy, its home and birth place. Burgundy’s grand Terroir of marl limestone soils and cool climate allows the Chardonnay grape to express itself to its full zenith. Interestingly, the varietal is extremely flexible and can adapt to a wide diversity of soils, allowing the terroir in which it grows to dictate the qualities of the grape and thus revealing a multitude of personalities. For instance, there are subtle yet distinguishing differences in terroir in the Burgundian villages of Puligny-Montrachet, Chablis, Meursault, Corton Charlemagne, Macon, etc. which are all fashioned in their own unique way. The difference in each Climat or Lieu-dit, such as Le Montrachet (Puligny-Montrachet) and Valmur (Chablis) can take one further down the proverbial “rabbit-hole” and into the wonderful, yet complex world of Burgundy wines. However, Burgundy is but one prime growing location for this tremendously adaptable grape variety.

The spread of Chardonnay would eventually take root in Champagne, where it excelled in the region’s cool climate and chalky, sub-soils. For top Champagne producers, it became the main ingredient in their high quality, high profile Blanc de Blancs. It would also begin to be blended with the two other acceptable varietals of Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier (red skinned grapes). The chardonnay grape is now planted in 10,000 of the 34,000 hectares of Champagne.

Chardonnay would find its way to California in the late 1800’s but would remain obscure for more than a century due to ignorance of the varietal and lack of knowledge on how to marry it with appropriate terroir. Things changed in the 1970’s when Chardonnay saw a resurgence world-wide, mostly due to the 1976 Judgement of Paris. The unthinkable happened when a bottle of 1973 Chateau Montelena bested some of Burgundy’s finest chardonnay offerings from Batard-Montrachet and Meursault. This event helped place California on the map, changing the face of California winemaking forever. It rejuvenated the cultivation of the Chardonnay grape variety, which saw an exponential growth world-wide.
Much like the climats of Burgundy which have their own unique terroir, Chardonnay’s adaptability has found a home in the diverse appellations, terroirs and climates of California. The cool climate locations produce crisp wines with Burgundian nuances, while warmer climates produce wines with opulent, ripe fruit reminiscent of pineapple, mango and papaya. Terroir also dictates the personality, steel and concrete tanks versus oak, and the list goes. From buttery, oak-infused heady wines to crisp, refreshing cool climate fashioned Chardonnays, the grape variety can be extremely modified. There are not enough letters in Microsoft Word to demonstrate all the different nuances, qualities, differences of terroir, climate and winemaking techniques that would encompass in full, the details of the Chardonnay grape.

The well-travelled grape varietal of Chardonnay has become the fascination of consumers around the world, becoming the most written about of all grapes. Today, it is planted in over 40 countries, amassing an impressive 211,000 hectares (500,000 acres) across the globe. From Burgundy to Champagne, Napa to Sonoma, Chile, Argentina, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia, Chardonnay graces vineyards around the world, captivating its audience with its multiple personalities. “So powerful is the ‘C-word’ on a wine label,” as the famed Jancis Robinson exclaimed. Since its discovery in Macon, this C-word has become a dominant force in the world of wine, changing history, winemaking and the understanding of winegrowing and its powerful attributes to a single varietal.

Country France : Wine is the lifeblood that courses through the country of France, pulsing with vigorous pride and determination. Viticulture is not just a hobby or an occupation in France; it is a passion, a cherished tradition that has been passed down through generations of wine stained hands. Winemaking is a beloved art that has been ingrained in the culture, an aptitude instilled in sons by fathers and the hallmark for which France’s reputation was built, allowing it to be renowned as, arguably, the most important wine producing country in the world.



For centuries, France has been producing wines of superior quality and in much greater quantity than any other country in the world. It boasts some of the most impressive wine regions, coveted vineyards and prestigious wines on earth. The regions of Bordeaux, Burgundy, Rhone, Sauternes and Champagne have become the benchmark, for which others aspire to become. Legendary producers such as Chateaux Margaux, Domaine De La Romanee Conti, Chapoutier, d’Yquem and Dom Perignon are idolized world-wide.



France has stamped its name on nearly every style of wine, from the nectar-like sweet Sauternes to hedonistic Chateauneuf Du Papes classic Bordeaux and Burgundy, to its sparkling dominance in Champagne. Many of the most infamous grape varietals in the world, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay originated in France and are not only beloved, but utilized in the creation of some of the greatest wines on earth. French wine production commands the attention of the wine market year after year. With over 860,000 hectares under vine, and numbers close to 50 million hectoliters of wine produced annually, France dominates the market and sets the standard for not only product quality, but also quantity.



France’s many contributions to the world of wine have been absolutely indispensable. The country is the originator of the term “Premier Cru,” coined the term Terroir (a French term so complex there is no literal translation) and has laid the blueprint for a structured appellation system, which others have implemented in their own countries. French vineyard techniques and winemaking practices are mimicked world-wide. California vintners have been replicating Rhone style wines for decades, South America has adopted the French varietal of Malbec and countries around the world are imitating Burgundian styled Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.



With vast diversity in terroir, France is home to some of the most hospitable winegrowing locations on earth. The combination of topography, geology, climate, rainfall and even the amount of sunlight combined with the long historical tradition of winegrowing and making, has allowed the vintners of France to not only hone their skills, but learn from nature to create a product that like the world in which it resides… is very much alive.


Region Burgundy : Situated just west of the beautiful river Saone, the hills and valleys of Burgundy stand as they have stood since medieval times, and you can almost hear the cheerful chatter of vineyard workers from miles away. Indeed, France's identity in the world of wine would be incomplete without the inclusion of Burgundy and its many viticultural achievements. Every little sub-region of the area boasts a unique soil composition, which, when combined with the area's climate conditions, creates an incredibly diverse and appealing selection of fine wines.

Every new bottle is an adventure of its own, and a snapshot of its birthplace. You could spend years sampling great Burgundian wines, and you would still have a lot to learn, which is what makes the region so compelling for veterans and novice wine lovers alike. No matter what your taste in wines may be, there is a winery in Burgundy that could mesmerize your mind and make your senses scream with joy. And what better way to spend a comfy summer afternoon with your friends and family than with a classy bottle from some of the region's most reputable wineries? From the noble slopes of Cote d'Or to the flatlands near various settlements, let us help you on your journey as we explore Burgundy's most delicious and renowned wines.

Overview

Producer Domaine Louis Michel : The appellation of Chablis, in northern Burgundy, has thousands of years of viticultural history, dating back to the time of the ancient romans. When the Cistercian Monks arrived in the 11th century, they cultivated the land with precision and proficiency; the advent of harmonized winemaking in the region. Upon these very slopes, on the right bank of the Serein, where the monks first laid roots, resides Domaine Louis Michel & Fils. The centuries old, family-managed domaine continues to perpetuate the tradition of Chablis winemaking, remaining true to the philosophies of its founding fathers.

Thanks to genealogical pursuits, the winemaking history of the Michel family in Chablis can be traced back to at least 1640. Generation after generation has preserved the antiquity of the region and the tradition of cultivating Chardonnay; the golden fiber which binds the region’s terroir and its inhabitants. With the goal of preserving the authenticity of each terroir and working with very pure and clean wines, the domaine places importance on having aromatically neutral vinification for each wine and its corresponding terroir. No wine has touched oak since 1969, when it was decided that all wines would be vinified in stainless steel tanks.

“It was my grandfather who took the decision,” states Guillaume Michel, who now controls the domaine. To Guillaume, it is a matter of showcasing the elegance and finesse of the Chardonnay grape in its purest form, in a region where it reaches its full zenith. Untethered by artifices and with minimal human intervention, the wines reveal their true nature; a reflection of the terroir in which they were sown. The importance of the work in the vineyards cannot be overstated. Guillaume Michel is a firm believer in the philosophy that if you do a good job in the vineyard, 90 percent of the work is done when the grapes arrive at the winery.

The domaine, of course, lies upon prime real-estate in the heart of Chablis. The appellation’s unique terroir, comprised of a mixture of Kimmeridgian and Portlandian subsoils, combined with marl, limestone and fossilized oysters over 150 million years old, plays an important role because it varies the aromatic complexity of the wines and brings the minerality so typical of Chablis wines. As his grandfather before him, Guillaume has developed the philosophy of terroir-driven wines, striving even further by separating the various sub-appellations when bottling the different crus and by returning to the use of natural yeast. “In a terroir as rich and unique as that of Chablis, it is in the vineyard that the wine is made. At all stages, human intervention must be as discreet as possible in order to allow nature to express itself fully,” insists Guillaume Michel.

The Michel property spans a total of 25 hectares devoted to the darling grape variety, Chardonnay. Fifteen hectares of which are the source for the domaine’s eight Premier Crus, including Forets, Butteaux, Vaillons and Vaulorent, each having their own character. Six hectares of Chablis (Villages) demonstrate the signature of the Chablis terroir expressing its full typicity; finesse, freshness and minerality. Two hectares lay in Petit Chablis, where the wines develop fresh and lively personalities. The domaine’s finest gems, the Grand Crus of Les Clos, Grenouilles and Vaudesir benefit from the greatest growing conditions located only on the right bank of the Serein. These Grand Crus exemplify terroir-driven Chablis in all its glory. Some of the greatest white wines in Burgundy hail from Domaine Louis Michel & Fils. It has become synonymous with un-oaked Chablis and is touted as one of the finest domaines in the region.


Critic Reviews

The 2019 Chablis 1er Cru Butteaux Vieilles Vignes is excellent, mingling aromas of pear, citrus oil and warm bread with hints of iodine. Bottled later than the younger-vine cuvée of Butteaux, it’s medium to full-bodied, layered and concentrated, with racy acids and chalky grip.

Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 93+ RP
Like the regular cuvée, this too flirts with volatile acidity though it is admittedly extremely subtle on the nose of essence of pear, quinine and lemon-lime scents. The texture of the slightly denser flavors is equally attractive while offering more evident power on the minerally finish that is impressively persistent, dry and youthfully austere. Once again, at least some patience is suggested. (Drink starting 2025)

Burghound | 91 BH

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