Domaine Georges Noellat Echezeaux Grand Cru 2014
Maxime Chuerlin has been feted as the new young “hot” winemaker at Domaine Georges Noëllat, and I would count myself among the number of fans. Since taking the helm in 2010 at the tender age of 20, after growing up in Champagne, there has been no holding him back. That said, I have to confess that over the last couple of vintages, I found some bottled wines flirting with excessive volatility and maybe just a tad too ripe so that it obfuscated their respective terroirs. Given that the growing season bestowed some concentrated wines due to reduced yields, not least in Vosne, which by and large was left relatively unscathed by frost, I harbored fears that maybe Maxime’s 2016s might tip over into excessiveness.
You know what? It was almost as if Maxime had read my mind, because I was taken aback by the untrammeled elegance and refinement of his 2016s. No, the capriciousness of the growing season did not permit Maxime to make a consistent set of wines, either domaine or his eponymous négoçiant line. His Echézeaux felt discombobulated by the frost and the Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Boudots a bit fatigued. Yet the range is bejeweled by wines that equal his 2015s, and yet stylistically, I might prefer the best of his nascent 2016s.
It’s almost as if Maxime showed what he can do in previous vintages and then sagaciously eased off the accelerator. Darker fruit maybe, slightly firmer tannin, but greater precision and more terroir focused. There is greater sophistication on his best wines, such as the Grands Echézeaux and Vosne-Romanée Les Beaumonts. Plus there are some very promising debuts such as the new Beaune Tuvilains and Gevrey Fonteny. If you have not discovered the wines of Domaine Georges Noëllat yet or, for that matter, those under Maxime’s own name, then now is the time to do so. Before I go, a message for “Lafite,” Maxime’s faithful hound. Please…I only just managed to swerve and avoid your gigantic poo-poo in the courtyard. First Growth dogs clean up their mess.
- Neal Martin, The Wine Advocate
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