I had always assumed that William Fèvre, of the eponymous grand domaine in Chablis, was somebody who was long lost to this world – but I was wrong.
William was born in 1929 and only departed this world two weeks ago. He established his, I would say, emblematic Chablis domaine in 1959, and with only 7 hectares of family vines. Given the ravages of frost, this was a hard time for Chablis, but a good time to accumulate vineyard land, such that when William sold his domaine to the Champagne house of Henriot in 1998, it had grown to 64 hectares, including 15 hectares of grand cru. Today, still under Henriot, the domaine now stands at 78 hectares plus the equivalent of many more from purchased grapes
The Fèvres have, for hundreds of years, worked the vines of Chablis, predominantly from their base in Fontenay-Près-Chablis, and it remains a large, extended family, including independent producers such as of Nathalie et Gilles Fèvre.
Goodbye William Fèvre…
There is one response to “say goodbye to william fèvre”
William was an interesting, dynamic, and charismatic man, a true “personnage”. A staunch defender of the appellations of Chablis, he was a persistent opponent of new world appropriation of the term “Chablis”, even going so far as to label petit Chablis as “Napa Chardonnay” on bottles for sale in their small shop in town. He was opposed to the expansion of the Chablis appellations into Portlandian terroirs, championing the purity of wines from Kimmeridgean limestone, while at the same time using oak barrels for aging his wines. It was rumored that as a director of France’s motorways system, he attempted to route the new A6 through the Grands Crus of Montrachet, but he once insisted to me that he merely wanted to follow the line of the N6, albeit with a wry smile. He, his wife, and daughter Elizabeth were always welcoming and generous, in true Burgundian style. I am sorry to hear of his passing.
A wonderful insight, Jerome!