The Notorius Elodie
Domaine Alain Michelot
As undervalued as Burgundy gets, if you ask us, at Craft and Cru, a bottle of Elodie Michelot's 2016 Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er cru Les St. Georges is a treasure for any cellar. It's a wine that will develop positively for decades, representing one of the world's most venerable terroirs, the great Les St. Georges vineyard of Nuits-Saint-Georges. There are no grand crus in Nuits, but premier crus like Les Vaucrains and Les Cailles would have a shot at promotion if discussion ever became reality; one could argue that many of the wines from these two sites are of grand cru quality. If, however, grand crus in Nuits were realized (not likely) the first, and maybe only, cru to be promoted would be Les St. Georges, the vineyard site that Nuits appended to its name in order to bestow the glory of its long most famous site upon all its wines (every famous wine town in the Cote de Nuits did this: Vosne-Romanee, Chambolle-Musigny, Morey-St. Denis, Gevrey-Chambertin). Naming and ranking aside, the Michelot family's 2016 Les St. Georges is a beast of a Pinot Noir: ripe, dark in character, chocolatey, spicy, tannic, richly textured, with a classic prominent line of acidity, far away from its peak and best put away for 10 or more years. There is no question, the Michelot family's wines are some of the best values on the Cote d'Or.
Working with her father Alain for many years, Elodie is now in charge of running the Domaine Alain Michelot. The wines are made much the same as under her father's watch, they're often called "traditional" or "old school", but Elodie might be credited for a move to deeper and more concentrated fruit flavors as well as a lighter tannic touch. Her wines are some of the most densely layered and full-bodied Pinot Noirs I've ever tasted, and the best of them deserve far more recognition. Accessible Burgundy is a must for us, and we always keep a good stash of Elodie's wines around. Her Bourgogne is a gem in any vintage, but the frosts of 2016 hit the old vines in this site hard and lower yields resulted in a darker and more powerful wine. It's a rare bird in its own way, an unusually full-bodied and characterful introduction to affordable Burgundy. Any cuvee made chez Michelot is worth your attention, and in the tasting is proof that Elodie and notoriety (in the wine world anyway) should go hand in hand.
2016 Bourgogne Rouge
From vines planted in the 60s, all within the commune of Nuits, this is always a Bourgogne to admire, especially considering its price. The late spring frosts of 2016 hit these vines hard and the resulting crop was more concentrated than usual, yielding an entry-level Bourgogne of atypical depth and density. Notes of red and black fruits, pine forest, woodsmoke and cured meat, are classic and composed. It's also quite full for Pinot Noir, and although it's not intensely structured, it is balanced and ought to be worth following for at least 5 years. Today, it would be a great companion for some rare lamb chops or a mushroom risotto.
2016 NSG 1er cru Les St. Georges
Today this wine is for edification, not so much pure enjoyment. It is very concentrated and ripe, with dense layers of tannins and significant grip derived from them. Flavors are myriad and complex, but it is so obvious that it needs time. If broached in the next few years, one should consider pairing it with a piece of seared red meat.
2016 NSG 1er cru Les Vaucrains
Like the wine above, this should really wait. Dark, ripe and structured, it also shows a chocolately richness, but perhaps even firmer tannins and greater acid cut. Compared to Les St. Georges, Les Vaucrains is more lifted and floral, but both show uncommon depth and power for Pinot Noir.
2013 NSG 1er cru Les Vaucrains
Tasted at the domaine in March, this was singing. Pure lifted red and blue fruit aromas were accented by notes of pine forest, violets, beets, and cured meat. It was just starting to show some interesting savory notes, but still had a crystalline fruit quality and firm structure. I was psyched to see a few cases of this beauty in the importer's inventory. Not currently in stock, but we can have it for you with a few days notice.
2016 NSG 1er cru Les Cailles
Like the 2016s from Les St. Georges and Les Vaucrains, this is a dark and brooding Pinot that should sit in the cellar for a few years, at least. Less tannic and concentrated than it's siblings, it is still powerful and ripe, with plenty of spicy and earthy nuance to offset its layers of dark fruit. It should come around earlier, but it wants time to sleep now.
2013 NSG 1er cru Les Cailles
Didn't get to taste this one with Elodie at the domaine, but based on the performance of 2013 Les Vaucrains, I'm excited about 2013 Les Cailles. It should be a little less structured and further along in development. The price also makes this one of the most attractive premier crus I've seen in awhile. Not in stock, but we can have it for you with a few days notice.
NSG 1er Aux Champs Perdrix
The Michelot's parcel of Aux Champs Perdrix, a small premier cru high on the Cote and close to the border with Vosne-Romanee, is home to the family's oldest vines, planted either in 1936 or 1937. One does not often see wine from this premier cru, but we can offer the 2013, 2014 and 2015. Not currently in stock, but available with few days notice.