Tasted in Chablis with Patrick, 14th January 2015.
25 rue Emile Zola
Tel: +33 3 86 18 85 73
Patrick, Canadian by birth has worked at a few addresses in Burgundy, including Verget, Olivier Leflaive and Jean-Marc Brocard – eventually he decided to go it alone – though with backers he notes! Patrick buys enough grapes to make about 150,000 bottles per year – but he does his own picking, usually just calling up the owner the day before. He produces up to 18 cuvées, using no added enzymes or yeasts, without temperature control and, he says, lets the wines take the time they need…
Patrick was rather frank about the vintage:
“It’s not the best vintage I’ve ever seen, almost 50% rot, so lots of triage, a bit more sulfur and a longer debourbage (decanting from the lees) – basically my emphasis was on getting the cleanest juice. So less lees too, and bottling a little earlier, aiming to avoid an apricot aspect in the wines.
“Actually, I couldn’t have timed my picking much better, as I actually finished on the Saturday when it rained 40 mm. But realistically it was actually the Thursday night, before the rain, that really killed the vintage, as the night-time temperature was 17°C coupled with 100% humidity and the next day was 27°C – that was the root cause! I’m amazed the wines are drinkable after that!
“The first time I thought that we’d done a good job was when I smelled the aromas in the cellar – it’s a cool cellar so I didn’t finish the alcoholic fermentations until March. I want acidity as the backbone to the wines, not an alcohol backbone: Alcohols are actually a little low here; 12-12.3%”
Tasty as these wines are – and they are all very tasty – they are also some of the roundest and richest I met on my travels. Everyone of them is very different from the next, but at least the first half-dozen might have you scratching your head for reference points – and I’m pretty sure that Chablis may not be on your list of possibilities.
2013 Chablis Terroir Découverte
Harvested on the last day under the pouring rain.
Wide with a modest core of ripe fruit. Round and rich, with a suggestion of oak – but there is none! Long and tasty, but lacking some acidity – at least in a Chablis context, because the balance is okay.
2013 Chablis Terroirs de Courgis
Thicker layers of clay so this is more reductive during elevage, but more fruity after.
Wide, fresh, but a little tight. Fresher, still richly textured with a sweetly flavoured core of fruit. More accented with minerality in this case.
2013 Chablis Terroirs de Fleys
These vines touché on Montée de Tonnerre in some places.
Fresh aromas, again a little tight. Much more mineral, a hint of reduction, with a more mouth-watering flavour. Very good!
2013 Chablis Terroirs de Chablis
From the north facing hill of Fôrets.
Again a tight nose. Wide and mouth-watering with a hint of mineral and salt. Good density and dimension of flavour in the finish. Yum!
Now 100% barrel elevage, but only used barrels…
2013 Chablis 1er Vaillons
From ‘Melinots’ at the end of the valley – which is also the warmest part of that cru.
A little more aromatic depth and width. Very wide, silky, and here with an undertow of minerality. Grows more and more flavour in the finish too, if more modestly than the last wine.
2013 Chablis 1er Les Fôrets
Wide but tight nose, with a faint oak note. Fine and fresh, still rather rich but with an impressive weight of flavour in the mid-palate. Long finishing. Slightly ripe but really super.
2013 Chablis 1er Butteaux
A nose that is fresh and shows quite some depth, though like all these wines (so far) a little tight. Wide, with plenty of mineral notes through the ripe fruit. Silky texture that is a little padded, leading into a good finish that also has a few herb notes. Long and contemplative wine – very nice.
2013 Chablis Bougros
Really very tight, almost no nose. Big, silky and round, but full of complexity. Lots of fruit and real depth of fruit too. Super weight of flavour in the finish. Very tasty and complex wine..
2013 Chablis Cote de Bouquereaux
A more mineral aroma with tight, deep, ripe fruit notes. Wide and fresh, much more mineral too – much, much, more… Still a rich texture and modest (for Chablis) acidity, but lots of flavour action here and not unbalanced.
2013 Chablis Preuses
Just a faint reductive toast on the nose. Another wine of both width and minerality. There’s richness here, but not to the same level as the previous wines. The most complex finishing of the wines, and indeed lovely if mainly showing fruit-driven flavours.