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A Beaune to pick (Cote de Beaune, France – Day One)

Something that amazed me when I first came to Burgundy back in 2010 was how small the region was compared to how important it was, particularly in comparison to Bordeaux which is as big as it is important. The Cote d’Or stretches for about 40 kilometres from North-East to South-West, and is as narrow as 500 metres wide in such places as Premeaux-Prissey. The amount of wine that is produced can’t be that much considering the yields of only a few tonnes per hectare, and yet you can find Burgundy all around the world. Despite the relatively small size of the region there are a lot of differences between each part, particularly between the Cote des Nuits and the Cote de Beaune. The Cote de Beaunes starts in Aloxe-Corton, stretches north of the town of Beaune (the heart of the Cote d’Or) and continues past it all the way to just past Chassagne-Montrachet. I was always confused by the claim that the red wines of the Cote des Nuits were more feminine than their counterparts further south, whereas I (and several of my fellow students at university) felt the opposite was true. Pinot noir from the Cote de Beaune is first and foremost lighter, more pure and fresh, shows the minerality better and most importantly is more approachable sooner. I much prefer the red wines of the Cote de Beaune for all of these reasons, but it is also the chardonnay wines that distinguish this part of Burgundy as supreme, with the Montrachet Grand Cru parcels producing arguably the best white wines in the world. I was thrilled to visit three producers today that all exemplify the style of the Cote des Beaune yet have their own unique expression of it.

Ma Cuisine, one of the best dining experiences of my trip

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Ballot-Millot – 10/12/2012

2011 Meursault
Surprising amount of minerality, a little green, a little flint. Nice and straight, good texture, nice mouth feel, good savoury components, not too rich or fat or heavy, ot creamy quite crunchy, not what I imagined Meursault to be.

2011 Les Criots Meursault
Toastier and more intense burnt minerals, almost magma-like, deeper and broader also richer in texture, but still not heavy fat or too creamy, not over ripe, plenty of good savoury flavours and textures. Deserving of cellaring.

2011 Narveaux Meursault
Softer and quieter, more complex, less vibrancy, needs more time. Fine straight, a little creaminess, quite closed for the moment, needs a little more time.

2011 Meursault Charmes Premier Cru
Denser riper yellow floral and citrus notes, very intense scratchy minerality, Rich rolling ripeness, tall on the palate, straight and focused but lifted and dense at the same time. Nice balance and extension, a little citrus pith note.

2011 Meusault Genevrieres
Volumous bold and rich, very intense smoky flinty minerality. Very rich ripe and complex, broad but also focused, very gentle texture, creamy but not fat or sweet, round and rolling, still bright with some floral notes.

2011 Meursault Perriere
Green vegetal smoky minerality, tight linear citrus lime notes. Denser and a little too tight on the front, a biting acidity almost tart, perhaps too much tartaric acidity. Definitely needing more time.

2011 Chassagne Morgeot
Closed but complex, very shy and unassuming, Soft and light but really building on the palate, like a coiled spring waiting to explode, very intense and serious, wonderfully rich and mineralic but needing time.

Volnay Santenots 2010 Premier Cru
Nice tight bright classic Cote de Beaune nose, red cherry with some stalky elements as well. Fresh pure but inense, good ripe red fruits, approachable and balanced with finesse elegance and mouth filling soft tannins. Couldn’t ask for more.

Volnay Taille-pieds 2010 Premier Cru
Soft quiet delicate nose, long and elegant, some brightness but not the same intensity. Perfect silky tannins, very elegant and long, still fresh and bright, a touch of warmth on the end. Soft and haunting.

Pommard Charmots Premier Cru 2010
Light and fruity, quite candied and fresh, very bright but also soft. Soft silky ripe round, nice dark red sweet fruits, very delicate with some nice supporting minerality and savoury texture.

Pommard Pezerolles Premier Cru 2010
Darker fuller and more roust with floral notes. Richer and fuller, a little bit heavier and denser but still amazingly delicate and rich compared to other appelations and producers. Wonderful purity and depth, round and long with silky tannins. I do love silky tannins.

Domaine Ballot-Millot

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