2017 Domaine Louis Michel Chablis 1er Cru "Butteaux Vieilles Vignes"

SKU #1420892 92-94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 As usual, the 2017 Chablis 1er Cru Butteaux Vieilles Vignes is one of the highlights of the Louis Michel portfolio, and it won't be bottled until next spring—at the same time as the house's grand cru cuvées. The wine unfurls in the glass with notes of crisp apples, white flowers, citrus oil and oystershell, without the honeyed aspect found in the regular bottling. On the palate, it's deeper, denser and stonier, both more complete and more reserved, with excellent concentration and length. Today, Guillaume Michel presides over this important 22-hectare estate, which as long been the reference for tank-fermented and matured Chablis, a style that the Michel family did much to popularize in the 1980s. Intense and tensile wines are the calling card here, pure and unadorned by style and consistently high in quality. Indeed, I sometimes think that Louis Michel is the most underrated of Chablis's great domaines. Certainly, prices remain very reasonable. As usual, certain cuvées stand out—at the premier cru level, the old vine Butteaux, the Fourchaume (from Vaulorent) and the Séchet, Montée de Tonnerre having taken a beating in recent vintages—but the overall standard, even for the lower appellations, is regular and high. They come warmly recommended.(WK)  (8/2018)

92 points John Gilman

 The old vine bottling of Butteaux was also showing fine potential at the time of my visit, delivering a nascently complex bouquet of lemon, pear, chalky minerality, dried flowers, beeswax and a smoky topnote. On the palate the wine is full-bodied, focused and shows off excellent mid-palate depth, with lovely soil signature, bright acids and fine cut and grip on the long, refined and classic finish. 2022-2050.  (12/2018)

92 points James Suckling

 This has peach and some very fresh, sweet lemon aromas here. The palate is round and concentrated with some attractive, gentle grip. This has great shape and depth and is already looking very approachable. Drink over the next five years.  (8/2019)

90-92 points Allen Meadows - Burghound

 Not surprisingly the nose is quite similar to that of the regular cuvée except that the mineral reduction component is more prominent. As is usually the case, the medium weight plus flavors possess more power and concentration if not quite the same precision on the once again super-saline finish. This mouth coating effort offers fine quality and is worth considering.  (10/2018)

K&L Notes

92-95pts Jasper Morris Inside Burgundy: "18 month elevage for this wine which comes from one plot of old vines which have never been replanted. The colour is the same as the regular bottling but the nose is more backward, suggesting greater depth. It is enormously more tightly wound on the palate and with a crystalline white peach purity on the palate. Full firm finish, very fine. Tasted: May 2018."

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Price: $32.99

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By: Sharon Kelly | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 10/29/2019 | Send Email
A refined Chablis with delicate flavors and complex aromas. Flint, crisp green apple, lemon, and stone fruit are in the nose and on the palate. The acidity is electric and the finish perpetual. The domaine has not used oak for over 40 years. I absolutely love this and all Louis Michel wines.

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- It's hard to believe that up until about 30 years ago, this extremely popular varietal hid behind the veil of geographical names like Chablis and Puligny-Montrachet. Now grown all over the world and bottled by its varietal name, Chardonnay has achieved a level of branding unlike any other wine. Surprisingly, though, what you get when you buy Chardonnay can differ greatly from country to country and even within one country, depending on the climate where it's grown and how it is vinified and aged. From fresh, crisp and minerally with apple and lemon notes to rich and buttery with tropical fruit overtones, Chardonnay runs the gamut. In France's Burgundy, Chardonnay is the source of the prized wines of Chablis, Corton-Charlemagne, Mâcon, Meursault and Montrachet. It also the foundation of exceptional Champagne, where it is blended with Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier or vinified on its own into Blanc de Blancs. It is also extremely popular in California, and is gaining popularity in Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Spain and South Africa.


- When it comes to wine, France stands alone. No other country can beat it in terms of quality and diversity. And while many of its Region, Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne most obviously, produce wine as rare, as sought-after and nearly as expensive as gold, there are just as many obscurities and values to be had from little known appellations throughout the country. To learn everything there is to know about French wine would take a lifetime. To understand and appreciate French wine, one only has to begin tasting them.


- The region north of the Cote d'Or, famous for its steely dry white wines made from Chardonnay. There are 7 Grands Crus vineyards, and numerous Premier Crus. Unfortunately, the name has been borrowed and badly abused by producers of inferior white wines in the US as well as in Australia. True French Chablis is a delicate, stony, crisp Chardonnay, bearing no resemblance to the anonymous plonk so labeled here.