Domaine Ballot-Millot

Meursault, Burgundy

In 2001, Charles Ballot took the helm of his family's already respected domaine, and began to make his mark by moving to more natural farming methods, reducing yields, buying a triage table, and updating the press.

Today, the estate is comprised of 10 hectares of vineyards, seven of which are in Meursault proper. The holdings are reputable and the relative vine age is old: Perrières (40+ years), Genevrières (70+ years), Narvaux (45-60year), etc.

Charles's wines tend toward the so-called “Roulot-school” of Meursault, more tensile and racy, as opposed to the fatter, honeyed and nutty style that dominated the landscape 20-30 years ago. 

The story at this fine domaine is one you encounter more often now in Burgundy. In 2001, a young and motivated vigneron named Charles Ballot took over for his father. Like many talented young winemakers, he wanted to raise the bar and leave his mark. The domaine already had a good reputation from his father’s day, and had been around quite a long time as the family had started to amass vineyards in Meursault starting at the end of the 17th century. They were also privileged to possess holdings in five Premier Crus in Meursault, including the famed Perrières and Charmes, plus Genevrières, Bouchères and Poruzots, not to mention small 1er Cru holdings in the villages of Chassagne, Volnay, Pommard and Beaune. His first tasks were to reduce yields and move away from chemical/systemic treatments to more natural ones. He soon added a sorting table in the vineyards, upgraded the press, and in general found ways to work more precisely in the cellar.

Harvest is all done by hand, and fermentations take place with indigenous yeasts. Otherwise, everything in the cellar is done to encourage finesse and delineation over sheer power. The white wines see only 10-20% new oak (max 25%for sone top wines) and are raised without battonage. They are aged 12 months in barrel, and then racked to tank for an additional six months of refinement as is now standard procedure at more and more of the top estates in Côte d’Or. For the reds, given the slightly more rustic line-up of appellations, the wines are all 100% de-stemmed with gentle extractions and relatively short cuvaisons. Here too, new wood use is judicious, with a max of 25-30% new.