Tasted in Fontenay-près-Chablis with Nathalie and Gilles Fèvre, 9th January 2015.
Domaine Nathalie et Gilles Fèvre
Route de Chablis
Tel: +33 3 86 18 94 47
Husband and wife, Gilles and Nathalie began in 2004, before that they were with the coop; Gilles grandfather was one of the founders of La Chablisienne in 1923, and his father was also a Chablisienne President – Nathalie worked at La Chablisienne for 12 years, too. With 15 hectares (that was once with the coop) the pair began in 2005 – and when Gilles parents decided it was time to stop with their 25 ha (of-course, also with the coop) half the vines came to the domaine and half stayed with Chablisienne – but from 2015, Nathalie and Gilles have the full amount.
So, the domain is today 48 hectares; about 30 hectares of villages, much of which is in and around Fontenay; they have only a little (0.5 ha) of Petit Chablis, but 10 hectares of Fourchaume 1er cru and some others, plus a little Preuses grand cru. In 2006-2008 rows of shiny stainless-steel tanks were installed, and in 2014 an upgrade was made so that they no-longer needed to pump material around the winery, rather the harvest now arrives upstairs and is then moved by gravity to tanks from the presses. Each thermo-regulated tank is 50 hl, which equates to about 1 hectare of vines, and each is vinified separately before the assemblage. Elevage is mainly in tank here, just a little oak is used for a few cuvées.
Nathalie on 2013:
“2014 was a 13-14 day harvest, but it was more complicated in 2013; we needed only 6 days but with day and night working to bring everything in as fast as possible.”
Nathalie notes that the grapes needed quite a bit of triage but she’s happy with what was done. Only 30 hl/ha in 2013 – that’s almost half a harvest. Normally they hope for an average of 50 hl/ha, Nathalie noting again that “Our philosophy here is about the work in the vines – only!”
A fine set of wines from this domaine!
No oak used for the villages, normally 10-12 months of elevage.
Pretty, intense clean, indeed incisive citrus notes. Big, round, plenty of minerality and acidity that grows into the mid-palate – really excellent intensity. It starts modestly and just grows and grows into something really fine. Excellent Chablis.
2013 Chablis 1er Fourchaume
Also 100% in tank, more like 14 months of elevage, so bottling after the following harvest.
A wide and very good Chablis nose that evokes the sea with pretty citrus notes too. Less round to start, more direct, and again with growing intensity – here with a more intense mineral and extra salt. Super, contemplative length – more character, maybe less overt energy than the villages. Tasty!
2013 Chablis 1er Mont de Milieu
More high tones (15% of this sees some wood). A more floral expression here (2007 was hard because some parcels were hailed 4 times!) mineral, with some salt and very fine acidity. Quite some power here. The biggest finish so far – power and shape – super! A much larger wine vs the more direct fourchaume
2013 Chablis 1er Vaulorent
Also about 15% wood but unlike milieu here is also a little new wood.
Lemon and lime – very pretty fresh notes. A more contemplative start here, wide but with a very fine minerality – less weight but more lithe flavour. A direct flavour in the finish – very long. I’d like a little more, the sweet acidity of other years, but this is still pretty compelling stuff. ”Closed” says Nathalie, “We won’t be selling this before September.”
Only just finishing selling the 2011 here. 30% oak elevage, half of which is new.
Very wide nose, very complex with a riper core – but relatively discreet too. How to describe minerality? Every wine is different but the descriptor is the same – a shame. The texture here is silky but not fat, but very complex and long. Really long. Truly excellent wine.
2012 Chablis 1er Fourchaume
Deep and much more obviously riper At the core. Just a faint mineral impression. Fresh and concentrated with a lovely growing, mouth-watering acidity. Mouth-watering finishing flavour too. Very excellent…
A little more higher toned and with a trace more weight too – very wide and complex, again clear minerality and mouth-watering complexity. This is really super in a discreet but not at all modest way. Really impressive length.
2012 Chablis Les Preuses
Will probably start to sell this in the Spring.
Very discreet nose – lots of width, but really not much depth or high tones to start with. Also wide, intense discreetly complex too, a wine that needs your attention but responds in kind. Really the most overt it becomes is in the finish. A wine of potential but to wait for…