In the article about the 2015 vintage at Domaine Georges Noëllat, I wrote: “Immense talent and effortlessness …” This is still the theme of this article and my tasting of the 2018s.
I have followed Domaine Georges Noëllat since the 2012 vintage, and have been consistently amazed by the effortless nature of the wines from Maxime Cheurlin.
But something has changed in the recent years, as Maxime now is cooling the cellars to delay and slow down the malolactic fermentation. The first wines I experienced this with were from the 2017 vintage, and it required some adaptation of my schedule as a reviewer, as the wines did not finish malo until late summer or early fall 2018, almost a year after the harvest.
So this tasting of the 2018s – in July 2019 – is a bit premature, as most wines are still completing the latter part of their malolactic fermentation.
Late malolactic fermentation: effect?
I have followed Comte Georges de Vogüé for many years, and Francois Millet explains that the wines attain a greater precision and complexity when the malolactic fermentation is delayed by cooling them down in cask. The Vogüé wines normally complete their malo over the late summer as the air-conditioning is reduced.
Some producers have a cooler cellar and therefore slower malolactic fermentation naturally – Sebastien Cathiard sees malo completed the following fall for his slowest wines (usually the Malconsort). Amelie Berthaut is another producer with slow malolactic fermentations; hence tasting in summer is difficult.
Normally, this is how it is, and I have rarely comparatively tasted wines with early malo versus later. But it’s different in the case of Domaine Georges Noëllat, as I have tasted Maxime Cheurlin’s first vintages with early malo, and now the more recent vintages with later malo.
So what is the difference, based on my experience with the 2017s? In my very preliminary view, it seems the wines are a bit firmer and more precise with the later malo, and this could – perhaps – translate into more complexity. This is, however, very early and preliminary and does not signal a revolution, or even a revelation. But it is a step further in refining the wines.
The 2018s from Domaine Georges Noëllat
Based on the tasting done in July 2019 – mostly before finished malos – Maxime has refined his style, or should I say increased its precision. And with a vintage that resembles 2015, this is very interesting.
The wines are as always transparent, pure and intense in an effortless way; airy and almost silky with their refined expression being even more based on their individual terroirs.
The 2018s here are magnificent, and the weight of this warm year suits the estate style well, yet the wines will presumably require longer cellaring. Judging by Maxime Cheurlin’s 2015s, the 2018s will no doubt be in great demand.
Notes from the tasting on July 3, 2019
As mentioned, the wines are either at the end of their malo or somewhere in the middle, so conclusions and comments are necessarily preliminary.
The first wine, the Hautes Côtes de Nuits 2018, is still in early development with the malo not quite finished. It’s a delightfully fresh 2018 with cool fruit from the Curtil-Vergy area above Nuits-Saint-Georges. The nose offers cool, vivid fruit, indicating fine density. On the palate, good intensity and depth with fine energy for the vintage. The Hautes Côtes wines do shine in 2018 with their cool fruit. A delightful wine. Very Good – (87 – 88p).
Back to Vosne-Romanée, the Vosne-Romanee 2018 is an intense and vivid village, and quite a hedonistic treasure. On the bouquet, fine red fruit – raspberries, varieties of cherries and some fresh elements of redcurrant – with plenty of Vosne spices. On the palate, fine, delicate fruit that is weighty and precise with very good energy. I love the seductive, velvety character of these wines. Fine+ – (90 – 92p)
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Tasting Notes for this producer
- Domaine Georges Noëllat, Vosne-Romanée Petits-Monts 2015 December 4, 2018
- Domaine Georges Noëllat, Bourgogne 2015 November 29, 2018
- Domaine Georges Noëllat, Grands Echezeaux 2014 May 14, 2018
- Domaine Georges Noëllat, Bourgogne 2014 April 12, 2017
- Domaine Georges Noëllat, Vosne-Romanee 2013 June 4, 2016
- Domaine Georges Noëllat, Vosne-Romanee Les Beaux-Monts 2013 March 28, 2016
- Domaine Georges Noëllat, Grands Echezeaux 2014 March 8, 2016
- Domaine Georges Noëllat, Echezeaux 2014 March 8, 2016
- Domaine Georges Noëllat, Vosne Les Beaux-Monts 2014 March 8, 2016
- Domaine Georges Noëllat, Nuits-Saint-Georges Aux Cras 2014 March 8, 2016
- Domaine Georges Noëllat, Nuits-Saint-Georges Boudots 2014 March 8, 2016
- Domaine Georges Noëllat, Vosne Romanee Petits Monts 2014 March 8, 2016
- Domaine Georges Noëllat, Vosne-Romanee Les Chaumes 2014 March 8, 2016
- Domaine Georges Noëllat, Vosne-Romanee 2014 March 8, 2016
- Domaine Georges Noëllat, Grands Echezeaux 2013 April 4, 2015
- Domaine Georges Noëllat, Echezeaux 2013 April 4, 2015
- Domaine Georges Noëllat, Vosne-Romanee Les Beaux-Monts 2013 April 4, 2015
- Domaine Georges Noëllat, Nuits-Saint-Georges Aux Cras 2013 April 4, 2015
- Domaine Georges Noëllat, Nuits-Saint-Georges Boudots 2013 April 4, 2015
- Domaine Georges Noëllat, Vosne Romanee Petits Monts 2013 April 4, 2015
- Domaine Georges Noëllat, Vosne-Romanee Les Chaumes 2013 April 4, 2015
- Domaine Georges Noëllat, Vosne-Romanee 2013 April 4, 2015
- Domaine Georges Noëllat, Nuits-Saint-Georges 2013 April 4, 2015
- Domaine Georges Noellat, Vosne Les Chaumes 2012 May 7, 2014
- Domaine Georges Noellat, Vosne-Romanee 2012 May 1, 2014
- Domaine Georges Noellat, Vosne Les Beaux Monts 2012 April 30, 2014
- Domaine Georges Noellat, Grands Echezeaux 2012 April 29, 2014
- Domaine Georges Noellat, Echezeaux 2012 April 28, 2014
- Domaine Georges Noellat, Vosne Les Petits Monts 2012 April 27, 2014
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