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Sunday, 5 October 2014

Pure Chablis: The Tasting

Tasting notes from a horizontal tasting of Chablis vineyards organised by the BIVB and run by oenologist-turned-tour-guide Eric Szablowski of Au Coeur du Vin

After a tour of the vineyards of Chablis with Eric in his 2CV, it was my turn to do a bit of work with a tasting of 30-odd wines from Petit Chablis up to Grand Cru.

For the most part, the judges don't lie and the best wines were the Golds from the best classifications; the best wine overall was the Chablisienne Les Preuses.

For newcomers to Chablis, Petit Chablis is as good a place to start as any - these easy drinkers have the character of Chablis in a lighter, simpler form.

Petits Chablis 2012

Grown on different soils (portlandian, if you were wondering), Petit Chablis is a "junior" version of the real thing - an inexpensive entry-level wine for general drinking. These wines were light, sharp and pale, a good aperitif.

Domaine William Fevre white stone fruit, elegant and persistent
Jean Dauvissat pere et fils floral and rounded with white flowers
Domaine Servin floral, mineral and persistent
La Chablisienne flinty and precise, from Chablis' co-op
Domaine Charly Nicole sweet spice, ripeness, almost honeysuckle
Domaine Sebastien Dampt floral and rounded with beeswax and lime marmalade

Chablis 2012

The first of the "real" Chablis, these were richer and more golden-coloured.

Domaine de Chantemerle richer, more harmonious, balanced and integrated; good texture, assured.
Domaine Gautheron some honeysuckle, floral sweetness and zestiness; good texture
Domaine Jean Collet elegant, mineral; a zestiness develops
Domaine Vocoret et fils white flowers and sweet spices
Domaine Daniel Seguinot et Filles flinty, mineral precise and elegant
Domaine de la Motte precise with stray / hay notes

Chablis Premiers Crus rive droite 2012

Premiers Crus are, incongruously, the second rank of Chablis - these right-bankers were richer and more complex.

Domaine Pinson Freres, Mont de Milieu (Gold) complex honeysuckle and beeswax, rich and ripe orchard fruits. Good textured richness.
Domaine Garnier, Mont de Milieu (Silver) sweet ripe orchard fruits, honeysuckle, persistent finish
Simonet Febvre, Forchaute (Silver) sweet ripe orchard fruits, honeysuckle, zestiness, persistent finish
Domaine Jean-Paul et Benoit Droin, Montee de Tonnerre (Bronze) zesty and pungent, pronounced minerality; fresh with a persistent finish

Chablis Premiers Crus rive gauche 2012

Domaine Pinson Freres, Montmains (Gold) more power than elegance; ripeness and richness. Harmonious with a persistent finish.
Domaine de la Motte, Vau Ligneau (Gold) from a small, cool valley apart from Chablis, the wines can be rustic, but this is atypically elegant. Ripe focused sweet citrus, concentrated and mineral.
Claude Chevalier, Montmains (Silver) floral with orchard fruits and white flowers; elegant and mineral.
Domaine Daniel Dampt Cotes de Lechet (Silver) ripe citrus with mineral persistence.
Domaine Laroche, Les Jaudevey (Bronze) rich, honeyed, ripe citrus and orchard fruit

Chablis Grands Crus

So, we're finally there - this is the best of the best of Chablis; the top seven vineyards, all south-facing, all in a group on a slope overlooking the centre of Chablis.

La Chablisienne, Les Preuses (Gold) Chablis' co-op, but starting to become a domaine with acquisitions of vineyards. This is rich, complex and harmonious, with sweet spice and well-integrated buttery oak.
Domaine William Fevre, Bougros Cotes de Bouguerots (Silver) flinty with pungent hints, ripe citrus and orchard fruits, long and persistent. Just not quite as concentrated or intense as the Gold.

Other related articles
Domaine Ellevin, Chablis

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