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A Burgundy Producer on the rise: Domaine Michel Noëllat

A Burgundy Producer on the rise: Domaine Michel Noëllat

Our Head of Marketing, Grace Bowler, takes a look into our Producer of the Month, Domaine Michel Noëllat, and a relatively new discovery for the team.

The name Noëllat is synonymous with Burgundy; the family is an extraordinary network of wine makers across the Côte de Nuits and several famous names. Domaine Georges Noëllat comes from the cousin of the late Michel Noëllat, whilst the connection with Hudelot-Noëllat in Clos Vougeot comes from ancestors further up the family tree.

Domaine Michel Noëllat are based in the heart of Vosne-Romanée and for March are our Producer of the Month. With some exceptional vineyard sites and a dedicated family at the helm, Domaine Michel Noëllat, in our opinion, produces some of the most exciting wines coming out of the Côte de Nuits today.

“This is a producer that I think is about to get into its stride…They certainly are going about things the right way and farm holdings with great potential.”

Whilst they may not be the biggest name in the village – Domaine Leroy is a notable neighbour – the Domaine is one that has been on our radar for a while. It is one that several critics have also started to take note of, namely Neal Martin who first visited in 2016 and said “I had heard that the wines were worth checking out at this address and so it turned out to be truth.” It is one that we had highlighted when looking at up and coming, quality Burgundy producers and so two years ago, during our En Primeur visit to the region, our CEO Gregory made sure that we visited the estate and met Sophie Noëllat, the sixth generation of the family running the estate, along with her cousin Sebastian.

Arriving on a dull October morning, we were warmly greeted by Sophie, who took us down into the cellars where they have created one of the most interesting tasting rooms we have been to, with history of the family and estate in every nook and cranny! This was rustic Burgundy with a twist, a modern winery up top and a warren of stone cellars underground. Sophie directed us down into the cellars, where the 2021 vintage slumbered in rows of new and old oak barrels. She explained, in depth, their process in the vineyards and what changes they have made over the past few years to grow and improve their range. We were also lucky to try a few cuvees from the barrel, a fascinating insight into how the different aged oak makes its mark on the developing wine. We then made our way down into the tasting room, a trip back in time as you are surrounded by memorabilia and history of the estate as you sit around an old barrel with walls lined with dusty bottles.

We couldn’t wait to get back in October last year to see what their 2022 vintage produced, and we were not disappointed. Our Senior Buyer Stephane was full of praise for their classy wines, which were brimming with fresh, aromatic red and black fruits, with a wonderful balance of acidity, silky tannins and concentrated fruit.

Senior Buyer Stephane Cutty, Sophie Noëllat-Sirugue and CEO Gregory Swartberg during our visit in October 2023

In 1980, Michel Noëllat expanded the estate’s facilities by constructing an authentic stone vaulted cellar under the property. This was followed by the acquisition of an ultra-modern winery in 2007, equipped with forty thermo-regulated stainless steel vats and a dedicated tasting cellar. Since 2012, the estate has been managed by the 6th generation cousins, Sébastien, in charge of viticulture, and Sophie on the winemaking and commercial side, who continue to uphold the family’s winemaking philosophy and spirit of the Domaine. They are now starting the get the audience and reputation they deserve, after purposefully flying under the radar and only exporting c.10% of their yearly production. With a modern touch, all of the Domaine’s bottles are also electronically chipped to ensure absolute authenticity and traceability.

The estate has c. 27 hectares of vineyards dotted all around the Côte de Nuits, from Pommard to Marsannay, supplemented by a few parcels down in Savigny-les-Beaune. The average age of the vines is between 60 and 70 years old. The Domaine produces 24 wines in total, three regional whites, eight village, eight from Premier Cru sites and two Grand Crus from Echezeaux and Clos de Vougeot.

Sustainable viticulture is practiced, with no herbicides or pesticides used (lutte raisonée) and all grapes are harvested and sorted by hand. Sebastian has stated that they don’t want to leave the imprint of oak on their wines, so they are mostly matured in one-third of each new, one-year and two-year old oak. The wines showcase their terroir beautifully, and the style, with judicious use of new oak is deep, generous and incredibly appealing. These wines are a must for lovers of Vosne Romanée, with a hedonistic touch.

Since we first tasted their wines, we have been really impressed with the range and the family behind them. Sophie and Sebastian have made significant improvements over the last few years, and it is now really showing in their wines. As a company we can resonate with their values; a strong entrepreneurial spirit and a desire to progress by investing to adapt to new technologies, whilst remaining respectful to their family philosophy and traditions.

They are most certainly on the up and of all the Noëllat Domaines, this is one to follow with a beady eye and to keep on your watch list. With sensible prices and a beautiful quality to their wines, we are extremely excited to see their development in the coming years.

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