Billaud-Simon – 2013


DSC05909Tasted in Chablis with Jérôme Flous and Julian Martins, 12th January, 2015.

Domaine Billaud-Simon
1 quai de Reugny
89800 Chablis
Tel: +33 3 86 42 10 33

Of-course Jérôme is the, Director Téchnique for Faiveley, who announced this acquisition only a couple of months ago. So, how will it all work and what will be the first differences that we will see? Well, not surprisingly Jérôme isn’t going to be pinned down on much ”Well, we are tasting 2013s and they had, of-course, no input from the Faiveley side.” Jérôme did, however, allow a small nod of his head when I asked if they planned any modest changes for the 2014s. Of-course there will be no changing in the label for the foreseeable future.

On average, 2013 was virtually half a harvest here – some vines delivered over 30 hl/ha, others only 20 – but about 30 hl/ ha on average, so a little more than in 2012…

The wines…

Frankly this is a really great, super-tasty selection of wines. Half of this range have been bottled already, the rest are planned for March, possibly April.

2013 Petit Chablis
Pretty, a little floral and with slightly green-shaded fruit notes. Round, with good sweetness and fine weight and intensity. This is very lovely.
2013 Chablis
Right bank, in bottle July, 100% tank elevage.
A little more weight and sucrosity, and certainly more mid-palate intensity. A really lovely line of flavour into the finish. Excellent!

2013 Chablis Tête d’Or
80% stainless-steel elevage, bottled in November. This is a parcel selection of right bank fruit, largely from under the Montée de Tonnerre – about 2.5 hectares worth.
A faint spice slowly lifts from the glass, the base aroma is round, ripe but rather tight. Much bigger and rounder in the mouth. The flavour is similarly intense to the last wine but spread wider. Just a little more contemplative and less obviously dynamic – but just as delicious – it’s just a different style.

2013 Chablis 1er Les Vaillons
All tank elevage.
A really fine and bright nose – lots of detail but then it tightens and seems more sullen. Direct, transparent, and with really good attack. Rather direct to the finish but holds a great line. I like this style very much.

2013 Chablis 1er Fourchaume
All tank elevage.
A pretty, half floral, half citrus nose – very inviting indeed. Really very fine acidity, an interesting and reasonably fine width of flavour and energy – a little more savoury finishing but excellent all the same…

2013 Chablis 1er Mont de Milieu
More weight of aroma here, just a little perfumed, with ripe lime. Round, a little less energy, but still a beautiful, complex mouth-full. Seems to grow a little more intensity when you swallow and holds a great length. I normally prefer the direct style but this is incredibly charming.

2013 Chablis 1er de Milieu Vieilles-Vignes
40% oak and a parcel selection. First wine still in tank.
Fresh, hinting at some gas content, pretty with a hint of coconut oak. Lovely freshness and growing intensity then a width of super complexity. Bravo!

2013 Chablis 1er Montée de Tonnerre
A pretty, complex and fresh nose – yet squeezed into something tight. A little fuller with more weight and texture; super acidity and here, almost for the first time I’m thinking about minerality and mouth-watering minerality too. Super…

2013 Chablis Les Blanchots
100% oak, including a very small amount of new oak – ‘just an anecdote.’
The nose is wide, friendly and more oak-led with vanilla and coconut notes – but discreetly so… Round, oily-textured, but not lacking for an ounce of balance as the acidity bubbles below and redoubles the intensity. There’s weight of flavour in the finish without too much explosion. Very fine, super- contemplative wine…

2013 Chablis Vaudesir
This wine offers a width of clean aroma today but little in terms of high tones or bass notes. Slowly there is a weight of fresh, ripe, slightly exotic fruit at the base of the nose. Here is a much higher level of complexity and just a little salinity – a really wide panorama of flavour. Gorgeous.
2013 Chablis Les Preuses
Very forward aromatic with a little exotic fruit like lychee yet with very fine freshness too. Really palate staining concentration here with fine acidity and a super intensity, both in the mid-palate and into the finish. Super excellent – powerful but with finesse too…

2013 Chablis Les Clos
From vines planted in 1952.
A rather tight nose. Big, round, powerful, with very fine balance. A wine that fades slowly then holds a very discreet note for longer.

For the road:

2002 Chablis 1er Montée de Tonnerre
Plenty of weight of aroma – more developed and a little biscuity, slowly gaining in depth. There is honey and wide complexity in the mid-palate with super finishing complexity – this is really super in the finish. I find this good until the finish, which takes me into another world – ‘of brilliance…’

2000 Chablis 1er Montée de Tonnerre
Much fresher, seashore and an almost iodine note. Round, with rolling complexity across the palate, still rather young and direct finishing. Brilliant but if only it had a finish less direct and a little more like the last wine!

2001 Chablis 1er Montée de Tonnerre
Smells a little older but it’s very inviting with a little white chocolate and a dark spice note. Fresh, cool and direct in the mouth with a long line of direct flavour. Hard to see that this is the wine that bisects the last two – it’s a little more evolved but offers a big complex finish – still not as good as the finish of the 2002 though!

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