Notes of plums, wild berries, orange rind and coniferous forest floor introduce the 2018 Nuits Saint-Georges 1er Cru Les Procès, a medium to full-bodied, layered and succulent wine that's supple and charming, with refined tannins and a lively spine of acidity that carries through the precise, mineral finish. This, too, is a fine success. This lieu-dit is located at mid-slope next to Les Pruliers just to the south of the town of Nuits-Saint-Georges. As I wrote last year, the thoughtful, intelligent and increasingly self-assured Charles Lachaux seems to gain in authority each time I taste with him, and my most recent visit prompted the same reflection. As readers will know by now, in the cuverie, wines that were once heavily extracted and lavishly oaked are now gently macerated, with significant percentages of whole clusters, and matured in mostly used barrels. In the vineyard, the evolution has been just as dramatic. The vines' canopies are now rolled, emulating the practice of Domaine Leroy, and a new parcel in Aux Reignots has been planted at a density of fully 20,000 vines per hectare. That's hugely labor-intensive, yet it appears to be paying off, as Lachaux is able to achieve a concentration in the vineyard that permits the most gentle of extraction in the cuverie. (WK)
The domaine owns about half of this small premier cru close to the town. Unlike Les Poisets, it was spared hail damage in this vintage. The nose is packed with zesty red fruits and shows clarity and precision. It's concentrated yet delightfully fresh. There's ample grip and weight of fruit, good spiciness, and a compact structure. Assertive without being aggressive, it has sufficient acidity to give a long stylish finish. Drinking Window 2022 - 2035. (SB)
This too is quite firmly reduced and aromatically unreadable at present. More interesting are the sleek, vibrant and delineated middle weight flavors that display good salinity on the firm but balanced finale that betrays only a touch of rusticity.
The 2018 Nuits Saint-Georges Les Procès has a complex bouquet featuring earthy and woodland aromas and touches of morels and black truffle. The palate is medium-bodied with slightly chalky tannins, and more compact than the Les Poisets, showing a touch of black pepper on the finish. Give this four or five years in bottle, because it has more to give. (NM)
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