In mid-June, I visited Domaine Georges Noëllat to have an early peek at the 2020 vintage. Malolactic fermentation was not fully completed in all the wines, but in general, all were showing well despite that fact.
So let’s get down to business with the initial comments and notes on the Georges Noëllat 2020s.
Delaying malo – a note
It is important to understand the change the Georges Noëllat wines have undergone, presumably as its aim is to create more precise wines.
Maxime Cheurlin has begun cooling the cellar to delay and slow malolactic fermentation. The first wines I tasted here were from the 2017 vintage, and they finished malo in late summer/early fall 2018, a bit less than a year after the harvest.
Some producers have a naturally cooler cellar and therefore slower malolactic fermentation. Sebastien Cathiard sees malo completed the following fall for his slowest wine (usually the Malconsorts). Amelie Berthaut is another producer with slow malolactic fermentation, hence tasting in summer is difficult.
Normally this is how it is, and I have rarely comparatively tasted wines with earlier malo versus later. But it’s different in the case of Domaine Georges Noëllat, as I have tasted Maxime Cheurlin’s first vintages with earlier malo, and now the more recent vintages with later.
So what is the difference, based on my experience with wines from 2017, 2018, and 2019? My initial opinion is that the wines with later malo are a bit firmer and more precise. This could – perhaps – translate eventually into more complexity. One could also say that they have a slightly darker note. It is, however, too soon to draw firm conclusions, as the Cavin barrels also have an influence.
The 2020s from Domaine Georges Noëllat
Based on my June 20 tasting, the 2020s from Georges Noellat follow the tendencies found at other estates. The wines are concentrated, with good intensity. They are – or should I say appear to be – cooler than the 2019s and 2018s, although the temperatures and drought in 2020 were equally severe.
The acidity has been maintained, and this gives an interesting element to the wines, along with a certain coolness. It’s still too early to give a final judgment, but the coolness does make me optimistic.
Notes from the tasting on June 20
The Vosne-Romanee 2020 is ripe and sweet with surprising concentration for a Noellat village. This showing very well, although more linear than the sensual and sexy 2019. It’s a more serious wine than the ’19 (as are the other 2020s), but quite likable due to the fine acidity.
(Drink from 2028) – Very Good –
The Chambolle-Musigny Les Feusselottes 2020 is always a success, it appears. While I found the sensual 2019 delightful, to say the least, the 2020 is perhaps lacking its delicate sweetness. But the cool style and relatively deep soil give it a more serious feel. Very good concentration, and a delicious wine.
(Drink from 2030) – Very Fine –
Beaune Clos de la Mignotte 2020 is one of the estate’s newer wines, having made its first appearance in 2016. It’s a small monopole located just south of Aux Cras. The 2020 is intense, with impressive concentration. It has joyful liveliness, and if the freshness is maintained into bottle this is going to be a lovely Beaune.
(Drink from 2030) – Fine+ –
The Chambolle-Musigny Les Lavrottes 2020 is a new addition to the line-up. This interesting 1er cru is located below the southern part of Bonnes Mares. Discrete oak underscores a wine that’s quite dark and intense. Vivid and lively, but also a powerful and intense wine – typical in 2020.
(Drink from 2032) – Very Fine –
A rare bird, the Morey-Saint-Denis Monts Luisants 2020 is from the plot above the grand cru Clos de la Roche. This is one of the more interesting wines of the vintage, and I found it lively and vivid, with lovely tension from the impressive acidity. It has a floral bouquet with a lovely mineral note and airy red and dark fruit.
(Drink from 2032) – Very Fine –
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