Why Big Red Diary?

Jean-Paul et Benoit Droin – 2014 + 2008

DSC09184Tasted in Chablis with Benoit Droin, 13 January 2016.

Domaine Jean-Paul et Benoit Droin
8 Boulevard de Ferrières
89800 Chablis
Tel: +33 3 86 42 16 78

Benoit Droin on the 2015:
“The wines have finished both fermentations and can even be tasted now (I declined) plenty of hail problems of-course, almost half the domaine affected – but began harvesting only 1 day after and the grapes were ready. Lost about 25% yield in Clos, Montée de Tonnerre 50%, 100% in Blanchots – fortunately our Blanchots is only a small parcel.”

Benoit on the 2014s:
“2014 was very clean, very proper – a grand millesime classic – no other description. Maybe too much acidity for those that are drunk in 18 months, they will be at their best after 4 years. Some of the acidities are shaded by the ‘volume’ at the moment – but that volume is superb. Hard for the restaurants because these will be great from about 10 years!”

I was fortunate to be able to also taste close to the full range of 2008s from this producer too – not always my favourite vintage, but this was a treat.

The wines…

All the 2014s are sold-out / reserved – and no surprise given the quality here – but, yes, there was a small augmentation in pricing for these 2014s.

The domaine is all DIAM now, only the first wines in 2008 were DIAM sealed – unfortunately the 08 Clos was lightly corked, so no note…

2014 Petit Chablis
One parcel above Les Clos on Portlandian, not much soil, mainly limestone. Wait about 6 months to drink.
Wide, fresh, faintly accented with reduction. Good mouth-filling roundness, modestly rich textured too, but a great line of flavour going through the middle. Excellent!
2014 Chablis
Almost 40 parcels assembled, and like the Petit Chablis, harvested by machine.
Lovely freshness with a fine point of reduction. More width, more intensity. Lovely mouth-watering and growing flavour. Super tasty wine – really a treat Chablis!
2014 Chablis 1er Vaillons
Assembly of 5 terroirs from Vaillons
Deep, reductive too – but very attractively so. Lithe, supple, but precise flowing flavour – wow wine! My job is easy eh?!

2014 Chablis 1er Montmains
Much deeper soil here.
Wider nose, similar reductive element, almost the rind of agrume. Bigger in the mouth, rounder too yet at the same time very sleek, pin-prick intense complexity. More mineral, modestly less tasty than the Vaillons – today. But what a great finish!

2014 Chablis 1er Mont de Milieu
Here almost a toasty Côte de Beaune impression at the start. Slowly opening with a little white pear and maybe something more exotic but much fainter. Wide, beautiful points of acid complexity, swirled with minerality, rind of lemon, maybe a suggestion of a reductive quality. Really at the end another dimension – floral. Yum!

2014 Chablis 1er Fourchaume
A really floral nose that’s wide and very inviting. More obvious minerality, slowly leaching citrus acidity, less attack from the energy – but it’s there, just like the impressive minerality. So different! But so yum! Really fine finishing persistence.

2014 Chablis 1er Vaulorent
Second vintage with 36 year-old vines.
Exquisite reductive citrus complexity. Big bright wine – round, very citrus with a slowly growing complexity below – despite its size and obvious minerality – the lack of overt complexity vs the others makes me think this could be a little tight – it tastes great despite that – but different. Almost a lime minerality in the finish.

2014 Chablis 1er Montée de Tonnerre
Vibrant super-inviting nose of minerality and a small reduction. Super wide, intense and mineral – wow! Slowly a mouth-watering citrus complexity starts to fill the palate. What a wine – get over the initial shock and you are swimming a great wave of flavour.

2014 Chablis Vaudesir
A subtle nose, beautiful all the same, of faintly salted citrus aromas. The merest suggestion of richness to the texture but really wide, ingraining flavour, very mineral, but neither aggressive nor harsh, just ‘present.’ Seriously great finishing. Excellent!

2014 Chablis Valmur
The nose is a little tight, but opens with a little texture and soft fruit – perhaps the softness is a little oak sweetness – but the level is so low… Bigger in the mouth, not really rich rather with structure and complexity. Yes, here is a little oak flavour but so much complexity too. Really super!

2014 Chablis Grenouilles
From top part of Grenouilles.
Also a little tight but with an impressive and a little vibrant depth – here, like the Valmur, a suggestion of oak notes. Wow – now that’s mineral. Lots of energy, mouth-watering flavour, really lots of bright, pure width too. Quite a big, impressive wine.

2014 Chablis Les Clos
A big, rather impressive nose, there’s a textural impression that makes me think of the augmentation of oak, but no real oak aromas. After a few moments perhaps a vanilla crusting to the emerging citrus notes. Really large in the mouth – totally filling every possible place. An almost aching intensity but sufficiently padded that you are not forced to decide whether to swallow or spit – a super roundness but impressive volume – Volume is the word here. Excellent!

Les 2008s…

2008 Chablis 1er Vosgros
Direct, lovely mineral and saline nose – super! Rich, but excellent balance and complexity – real fresh dimension of clarity. Wow! Almost a creamy oak finish – but there was no oak!

2008 Chablis 1er Vaillons
Less overt aromas, more floral, more elegant. Wow – super fresh width – a hint more saline today with an extra richness of fruit, but the same face as the 14! Like a photo flash of 14 before the extra maturity

2008 Chablis 1er Montmains
A reductive, mineral character. Also a bright flash of mineral width, which stays mineral and long and is really something of a baby. Hold if you have these!

2008 Chablis 1er Mont de Milieu
Bright yellow citrus and a faint salinity. Classic, perfect Chablis. Saline, sweetly mouth-watering fruit. Long super tasty, begging you to refill the glass. One of the best wines in this trip!
2008 Chablis 1er Fourchaume
Wide and deep nose – super-contemplative – yet seemingly a baby. A richness to this texture but no lack of balancing acidity – some oak notes here augmenting (if necessary) the complexity of flavour. Just excellent in every way…

“Oak hangs around more in colder vintages” – says Benoit.

2008 Chablis 1er Montée de Tonnerre
Fresh And wide – saline too – simply gorgeous! Whilst mineral, indeed predominantly mineral, this has a roundness to the shape, a certain sweetness and modest but not inconsiderable freshness and energy. Again a baby wine, but really one to savour…
2008 Chablis Vaudesir
Certainly not a massive nose, but one that almost vibrates with slightly mineral quality. Very mineral flavour, flowing and flowing over the palate. There’s a weight here and a volume that is particularly impressive – even in this context. Bravo!
2008 Chablis Valmur
A wide nose and of depth too – but relatively modest in volume. More alive, more complex, more communicative – less obviously concentrated, yet the volume and intensity grows. Bravo – great wine! Grenouilles must wait, because the flavour wont stop here.
2008 Chablis Grenouilles
Deep and very appealing nose, surely a touch of oak, but who would care? Big, mouth-filling, wow! Sweetness of fruit, complexity and a super flowing flavour. Wow! And just to emphasise that – WOW!

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