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 Producer Profiles :  Burgundy : Ballot-Millot


An Atherton Wine Imports Direct Domaine

Long-time wine writer John Tilson has heralded Charles Ballot as a “rising star of gorgeous red and white Burgundy.” We heartily agree with him. After Charles took over from his father, he began to farm his 11.5 hectares using an approach the French refer to as lutte raisonée, meaning ‘the reasoned fight.’ With this agricultural philosophy, the vineyards are farmed organically, unless a significant threat to the vineyard warrants more extreme intervention.

Ballot’s work in the cuverie is modern and forward thinking. His winemaking starts on sorting tables set up in the vineyard, eliminating the leaves and any damaged grapes before anything is moved into the cellar. He de-stems completely and presses into barrel for fermentation - this begins naturally with the native yeasts that come in from each vineyard, and progresses very slowly in his cold cellar.

Unlike the previous generation’s practice of battonage, Charles does not stir the lees, looking for the most pure, focused, and unmasked profile of each unique vineyard. He leaves the wines on their lees in barrel for 12-18 months and, depending on the vintage and the cru, uses between 15% and 50% new wood, but there is no recipe. The wines are racked and transferred to tank where they rest until bottling - typically 18-20 months after vintage. The extra time helps unify the wines, but is much more expensive and difficult because there are always two vintages ageing in the cellar. Sulfur (SO2) is kept as low as possible and Charles prefers to retain naturally occurring carbon dioxide as protection from bacterial growth and oxidation. These are modern practices of what are really very old and traditional methods. The results are spectacular.

Praise for Ballot-Millot

“When I first tasted the wines of Ballot-Millot from the 2004 vintage, I was very impressed. This week, I visited the domaine for the first time. Located in Meursault, the 30-acre estate is run by Charles Ballot, 30, who made his first wines from the 2001 vintage, and his father, Philippe. I was initially impressed by the purity and focus of the whites from Ballot-Millot, but I also discovered that they make very fine, elegant reds.”
Bruce Sanderson, The Wine Spectator, Jan 25, 2010

“At Ballot-Millot, an up-and-coming producer based in Meursault, the ’09s are fine and meticulously made.... Like any good vigneron, however, Charles Ballot, the talented young producer, is focused on the future.”
Eric Asimov, The New York Times, June 13, 2011

“This is the third year I have reviewed the Red and White Burgundies of Domaine Ballot- Millot after bottling. All three vintages have produced outstanding wines both white and red. There is a great elegance and purity to the wines and the consistency is amazing. Domaine Ballot-Millot is now on my list of White Burgundies to buy every year."
John Tilson, The Underground Wineletter, March 25, 2012

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