Domaine Ninot is based in Rully, in the Côte Chalonnaise. This is just south of the Côte d’Or, and shares similar geology. Ninot is one of the 23 winegrowers in Rully, a village with a population of just 1500. I visited with Erell Ninot (pictured above), who works with her brother in this family owned 13 hectare domaine.
The Chalonnaise is becoming quite interesting for top quality Bourgogne wines. It has some really nice soils, and with prices rising elsewhere in the region, there’s an incentive for winegrowers to start making more ambitious wines. The northernmost commune is Bouzeron, which is the only appellation dedicated to Aligoté (see my visit to Les Champs de Themis in Bouzeron). Then there’s Rully, which in addition to having 23 winegrowers, also has 23 premier cru vineyards, and is mainly planted to Chardonnay. Going further south there’s Mercurey, which is mainly Pinot Noir and has 20 premier crus, and then south of this is Givry (mostly red) and Montagny (mostly white).
Erell’s grandfather began putting wines from their vineyards in bottle, rather than selling grapes, and took production to around 10 000 bottles a year. They are now making 50-80 000 bottles each year.
Her younger brother Flavien works solely in the vineyard, and when he came on board they began a conversion to organics. Previously they had been farming using lute raisonée (sustainable) but they had been using herbicides. They asked for organic certification in 2017, and achieved certification in 2020.
They have vineyards in both Rully and Mercurey. Rully is the prolongation of the Côte de Beaune, but Erell explains that a fault separates Rully and Mercurey to the south. Wines tend to be lighter, fruitier and brighter in Mercurey, and the whites tend to be more mineral, she explains.
Rully is just one slope, facing south east. It’s a slope with a plateau, and the further down you go the more you get the cereal fields, and there are fewer vineyards. In Mercurey you have south west and north east slopes, and it is more like a valley.
Erell described some of the different cuvées that they produce. Rully La Barre is at about 400 m altitiude. ‘You nice aromatics here,’ she says. They machine harvest La Barre: the vines are 40 years old and are set up for machine harvesting. Everything else is hand picked.
Rully Chaponnière has soils with a bit more clay, and just a bit of limestone. This creates wines with more body.
Rully Gresigny is planted on the rock, with very bony soils, and this makes the most mineral wine.
Vinification is 60% in barrel, 40% in stainless steel. It’s very classic with 10-18 h settling, then everything going to barrel goes to barrel. All wild yeast ferments. Usually 11 months ageing in barrel.
Domaine Ninot Rully La Barre 2017 Bourgogne, France
No more than 10% new oak. Full, vivid, nutty and spicy with lovely citrus, pear and apple notes. There’s a richness here but also freshness and good acidity. There’s a lightness on the finish. Easy pleasure but also some seriousness. Lovely wine. 92/100
Domaine Ninot Rully Chaponnière 2017 Bourgogne, France
Wonderful nose of nuts and spice with vivid citrus fruit. Lovely mineral core to the palate which is bold and spicy with lovely intensity, some peachy richness and a long lemony finish. A lovely wine with lots of dimensions to it. Has richness on the mid palate. 93/100
Domaine Ninot Rully Premier Cru Grésigny 2017 Bourgogne, France
This has really stony limestone soils. 100% barrel-fermented with 10% new oak. Beautiful delicacy here with a fresh, lemony, mineral core to the wine. Bright, focused and pure with nice intensity. Has a really stony, mineral streak to it. Very fine. 94/100
Domaine Ninot Rully Chaponnière Rouge 2017 Bourgogne, France
Bright, floral red fruits nose with some spicy overtones. The palate is fresh and supple with a stony, mineral edge to the bright raspberry fruit. Lovely brightness here. Very fine and bright. 91/100
Domaine Ninot Rully Premier Cru Marissou 2017 Bourgogne, France
Destemmed, cold maceration, 2-3 weeks in vat. Low temperature ferment (22-25 C). 30% stainless steel, with just 10% new maximum for the barrel component. This has a bit of flesh and some sweet cherry and plum fruit, with raspberry brightness. There’s some savouriness here too with a slight green hint, but also nice texture. Lots of dimensions to this bright, structured red. Nice finesse. 92/100
Domaine Ninot Mercurey 1er Cru Les Crêts 2016 Bourgogne, France
North east facing slope. Taut and vivid with bright raspberry and plum fruit. It’s burly, savoury and structured with grippy tannins. Nice fruit presence here. There’s a real line to this wine and it could develop in interesting ways. 90/100
Domaine Ninot Mercurey 1er Cru Les Velleys 2016 Bourgogne, France
South east facing slope. Floral red fruits nose. The palate is compact and bright with lovely cherry and raspberry fruit. There’s good tannin and acidity here, but also lovely pretty floral red fruits. Grippy but with prettiness. 92/100
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