Tasted in Chablis, at the BIVB, 6th January 2015.
All these wines were tasted blind, to be unmasked at the end of my tasting. In terms of my recommendations below, I’ve chosen to recommend what I consider to be well-balanced, interesting and sometimes exciting wines, but essentially wines perfect for their label or indeed seemingly even better than their label…
So, 12 highly-recommendable wines from 24 samples – which is a better ratio than in 2012. I think it is a measure of the vintage for Petit Chablis, where there is almost the concentration of 2012 (similar yields), less overt minerality but with a twist more richness and ripeness – both of which can’t do harm to a Petit Chablis – and both presumably a result of the longer growing season.
In these times of price inflation, this is the best value burgundy you can buy with a 2013 label.
Medium-pale colour. Bright, fresh, very forward nose with lemon skins. Big, bold, bright acidity but also with volume and balance – a certain perfumed element to the flavours too. Very long for the label and very impressive wine.
Wine 2, Chablisienne – Pas Si Petit
Medium-pale. A higher toned nose, less ebullient but with a little more bite and a faintly reductive quality. The acidity is more forward but the fruit is pretty ripe. With a little fat and again plenty of length with a floral twist. Very good!
Seems to have more viscosity. Slightly darker ‘medium’ yellow colour. Big punchy aromas, more classically Petit Chablis with some phenolics over a more 2013-style base of ripe fruit. There’s a certain richness to the texture but with super acidity too and plenty of bite (crispness) to the mid-palate flavour. Really super – a more classic Chablis-style flavour profile than wine #1 but not necessarily better.
Wine 4, Bardet et Fils
Medium yellow. Deep, slightly phenolic, slightly austere nose. Bright, indeed penetrating, acidity. Lots of gushing mid-palate flavour and a nice finish too, but essentially this remains a little tart.
Wine 5, Lamblin et Fils
Medium-pale yellow. Deep, mildly reductive nose. Big in the mouth, the acidity leading the charge. A width of largely phenolic-style flavour but no dryness and plenty of mouth-watering flavour. Quite good.
Medium yellow. Deep and again slightly reductive in an agrumes sense. Nice – plenty of acidity but a much more mineral and direct aspect than those that went before – just a little buffering richness too. Round, tasty slightly creamy finishing. Fine
Wine 7, Domaine des Marronniers
Medium yellow. There’s a suggested depth with a faint creaminess – some weight too. Round in the mouth with a direct, almost prickly (gassy) form. The finishing flavours are quite fine, and indeed long. The acidity need to become part of the overall wine, rather than a weapon, but if the CO2 fades a little this should be excellent.
Medium yellow. Deep, with a very faint reductive aspect that quickly leaves the glass to offer a modest width of lemon-styled fruit. Wide, fresh, almost no richness until later in the mid-palate, but here the acidity has the mouth-watering sweetness you associate with Chablis (that is hard to come by at many addresses in 2013!). Less impact than some but quite delicious, particularly in the finish.
Wine 9, Clotilde Davenne
Medium yellow. Some depth and a little width – here with a little toasty reduction to start, becoming sweeter and faintly textured with time. Acidity-led, with plenty of energy and some good flavour components – the finish has a nice lingering complexity too – yet just a little tart.
Wine 10, Albert Bichot
Medium, medium-plus yellow. Airy, pretty aromas with more of a suggested weight below. More mineral (closer to wine 6 style) with forward but not ‘full-attack’ acidity, but here with lots of green-skinned fruit too, perhaps also a little herbal. I really like the finishing complexity and length but I don’t find this particularly delicious today.
Wine 11, Sylvain Mosnier
Medium yellow. Slightly reductive with agrumes. Big in the mouth, slightly gassy acidity but lots and lots of mid-palate flavour, complexity and energy. Lingering finish too. Yum.
medium-pale yellow. Pretty, fresh, transparent, high-toned aromas – lovely. Good weight in the mouth, round, growing flavour that’s a little phenolic. Very good but well-buffered acidity. Long but with modesty, you could easily assume that this is ‘real’ Chablis.
Pale yellow. Faintly creamy-oaked nose that fades to a more rounded creamy lemon. Round, perfectly balanced, indeed silky acidity – very modest acidity in the context of the average wine here. High-toned in the mouth with a little impression of dry-extract in the finish too. A little contemplative for Petit Chablis – but excellent wine.
Medium-pale yellow. Another rounded, rather composed nose of slightly tight, ripe lemon notes. Round, indeed silky, with super acidity in the middle – that’s quite smooth. Long finishing with silky yellow fruit. Very good indeed!
Medium-pale yellow. A modest nose with high-toned phenolics and a tight weight below that seems to be accented with reduction. Wide, acid-led (but not too much!) with plenty of intensity and something transient but green in the middle, followed by a very good finish. Good Petit Chablis.
Wine 16, Charly Nicolle
Medium yellow. A wide nose of some depth too, but with a component that is rather concentrated and herbal – and not to my taste. Wide, silky and with very good acidity and a faint richness. Good finish too. The wine is slightly accented with the same note from the nose, but at this intensity it is completely fine. Not a fan of the nose then, but the form and flavour profile are lovely.
Pale yellow. A high-toned nose of modest aromatic power, hinting at a tighter riper core of aroma. Bright, very fresh but never biting acidity. Just a suggestion of richness and a nice mid-palate development of flavour too. Modest finishing. Very much a ‘junior wine’ but very finely crafted.
Wine 18, Céline et Frederic Gueguen
Medium-pale yellow. A depth of faintly biscuity aroma and some accents of higher-toned herbs. Round, some minerality and indeed some sweetness to the mouth-watering acidity – yet – all is presented essentially a tight little ball of flavour. The finish is very good, there is balance and I see promise, but today it doesn’t show enough.
Wine 20, Isabelle et Denis Pommier
Medium yellow. Big, boisterous and with a nice phenolic kick too. Big but rather too gassy for drinking today. I think the acidity fine if modest in a PC context, and there is some interesting fresh flavour. But really too much CO2.
Wine 21, Dominique Gruhier
Medium-pale yellow. Deep, ripe lemon and something a hint lactic. Lots of ripe fruit in the mouth – way more than usual and with a creamy aspect. The balance is fine with a little richness. Not the energy of most PC. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is ‘a bit natural’ – though it’s not faulty. Quite tasty, but sticks out like a sore thumb in this line-up – I actually need to wash the glass out twice to remove the smell of this wine! (Back-label says ‘vinifaction naturelle’ whatever that might mean…)
High-toned with nice freshness and a herb-crusted tight core of ripe citrus – interesting! Round, sweet acidity, nice weight to the fruit and good complexity too. Excellent PC!
Medium-pale lemon yellow. A nose that’s a little modest (or tight…) but offers a pretty array of higher-toned notes. Another with sweet, mouth-watering acidity and a lovely mid-palate lift of pretty flavour. Fine length too. Again, excellent.
Medium-pale lemon yellow. Tight with faint high tones and something deep but faintly reduced. Swirling makes the reductive note become a little more toasty and eventually almost spiced. Floral fruit on the palate and quite good acidity – not a bit sharp, that helps the mouth-watering finish go longer. Very tasty!