2011 Ballot Millot Meursault “les Narvaux”

downloadToday the nose is showing a bit Loire-like with its parsley, Kafir lime, and tarragon notes, enriched by  cream, lemon zest, touch of gravel and toasty notes, but it may very well just be a bit disjointed and out of sorts after its voyage across the Atlantic and through the Panama Canal.

This is much more elegant and much less concentrated than the 2010 Meursault Village I reviewed last July which was dense and a little tough-edged. This on the other hand, is very clean, with a light lively palate that sings, with parsley, basil-lime, grapefruit, Meyer lemon, minerals, light cream notes. I really like this, although it isn’t what I would call impressive, but it begs another sip, and then another glass. Its palate impression is light to mid-weight in terms of Meursault, with a weightless but firm palate impression.  It show only the vaguest of oak on the nose (and the palate). It’s application of oak is perfect: deft and balanced.  This will gain some weight and fill out with another year or two, and the cream will take on a larger role, and I suspect the green notes will integrate completely.  Score: 90 points.

imgresCharles Ballot is a young winemaker who some, like wine writer John Tilson of the Underground Wine Letter, are calling a rising star.  In his thirty’s, Charles Ballot took over from his father Philippe a few years ago, and is driving the domaine toward a more elegance style, and that has been particularly evident in the domaine’s reds which includes two well situated Premier Crus, Pommard Pezerolles and Volnay Taillepiedes.  He farms his vineyards lutte-raisonnee, which generally means he farms organically,  unless  the situation requires something more drastic, or perhaps if it doesn’t suit him – there are no laws or oversight surrounding the use of this term. At a minimum it usually means no weed-killers and no chemical fertilizers, and a reduction of other treatments.

Meursault Narveax, lieu dit

Meursault Narvaux is a go-to for the budget conscious Burgundy drinker. Narvaux-Dessous is a fairly large, village appellated vineyard that is situated just above the Premier Crus of Les Genevieres and Poruzots, a bit higher up on the slope. This is one of the more well-known lieu dits (named vineyards) and while using the name Narvaux is optional, many winemakers choose to bottle this as a single vineyard, and put the name of the vineyard on the label. Bottling this as a single vineyard, and naming it, can be attributed in part to marketing, and in part to the superior position of this climate (another French word for vineyard-microclimate).

Narvaux’s up-slope vineyard position means thinner soils, as well as shallow top soil due to erosion, so it is typically lighter-bodied than Premier Crus that sit below it.  But the vineyard is well protected by the hill and its excellent exposure, it gets plenty of ripeness to make a satisfying drink. According to The Wine Spectator’s Bruce Sanderson, Ballot has two parcels in Narvaux-Dessous, one has 35-year-old vines, and the other plot ‘s vines are 60 years old.

Narveaux arial map

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