A formidable rendition of this reliably superb cuvée, Michel's 2017 Chablis 1er Cru Butteaux Vieilles Vignes wafts from the glass with a complex but reserved bouquet of fresh peach, crisp yellow apple, iodine, mandarin oil and paraffin wax. On the palate, it's medium to full-bodied, deep, dense and concentrated, with a racy spine of acidity cloaked in vibrant fruit, concluding with a long, searingly saline finish. This is well worth seeking out. Guillaume Michel presides over this important 22-hectare estate, which has long been the reference for tank-fermented and matured Chablis, a style that the Michel family did much to popularize in the 1980s. Intense and tensile wines are the calling card here, pure and unadorned by style and consistently high in quality. Indeed, I sometimes think that Louis Michel is the most underrated of Chablis's great domaines. Certainly, prices remain very reasonable. As usual, certain cuvées stand out—at the premier cru level, the old vine Butteaux, the Fourchaume (from Vaulorent) and the Séchet, Montée de Tonnerre having taken a beating in recent vintages—but the overall standard, even for the lower appellations, is regular and high. They come warmly recommended, and their 2018 collection shows plenty of promise. (WK)
The 2017 Chablis Butteaux Vieilles Vignes 1er Cru is truly fascinating. In this vintage, the Vieilles Vignes is airy and lifted, with its weight and power more implied than overtly stated. Citrus peel, white flowers, mint, crushed rocks and white pepper give the 2017 a striking aromatic top register. This is such a gorgeous wine. (AG)
The old vine bottling of Butteaux was also showing fine potential at the time of my visit, delivering a nascently complex bouquet of lemon, pear, chalky minerality, dried flowers, beeswax and a smoky topnote. On the palate the wine is full-bodied, focused and shows off excellent mid-palate depth, with lovely soil signature, bright acids and fine cut and grip on the long, refined and classic finish. 92+
Not surprisingly the nose is quite similar to that of the regular cuvée except that the mineral reduction component is more prominent. As is usually the case, the medium weight plus flavors possess more power and concentration if not quite the same precision on the once again super-saline finish. This mouth coating effort offers fine quality and is worth considering. *Outstanding*
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