La Chablisienne – 2014

Update 2.3.2016(26.2.2016)billn

DSC09150Tasted in Chablis with Hervé Tucki, 08 January 2016.

La Chablisienne
8, Boulevard Pasteur
89800 Chablis
Tel: +33 3 86 42 89 89

As usual, Hervé was in really top form, such that we hardly had the time to taste wine during our 2 hour appointment!

First I asked him about ‘oak-use’ because I had a rather oaky 2006 grand cru this week:
“Yes it’s true there is much less influence from oak in today’s wines than at that time. We occasionally change winemakers and at that time one was relatively new ‘from school’ where they learn that all the wine-making pests come from old barrels – so they got rid of many – but slowly they learned that not to be the case. So actually the amount of oak hasn’t really changed since the 2006s but the average age of the barrels certainly has. Old barrels need more care, but they deliver the best results.”

Hervé on 2015:
“A little hail problem, though more of an emotional, than a practical problem. Certainly the quantities were reduced and provoked a few days earlier picking – but not the catastrophe it would have been if it had happened 10 days earlier. The first juice that came was that which was hailed of course, it was a little darker from a faint oxidation, but no different to not adding sulfur under the press. Oxidation wasn’t really an issue, though all that rain certainly affected the concentration, but maybe for the better versus dried grapes!”

Hervé on 2014:
“The feeling is good; maturity is good, but not from the sun – there’s a difference, but the balance is excellent. Importantly the harvest was very clean. There’s nice dry extract – a little like a more charming 2008. We’re very satisfied and I think the wines have good potential – the elevage is not finished but there is a lot to look forward to.”

The wines…

Simply the best full-range of wines I’ve tasted here – whilst I may have the memory of slightly greater grand crus in 2012, across the full range I think this an even better result.

2014 Chablis Le Pearle
Clarity of aroma, very faint grapefruit. Mouth-filling, more than one dimension, rippling flavour – excellent. A super burst of intensity excellent finishing – ouf! What a start! A hint of austerity from the intensity, but only that – grandiose for ‘classic’ (one might say, basic) Chablis.

2014 Chablis La Sereine
More old vines here, still in elevage so this sample a little cloudy.
A wider, more fruit-driven nose. A hint too much gas, but it melts away leaving a wider more complex impression, sweet grapefruit, lovely clarity – even better! Today will be tough if every wine is better! Less hard, more compliant than the last so easier to appreciate today – super!
2014 Chablis Les Venerables
A sweet fruit, glacée fruit and fresh. More weight of fruit and texture too, bubbling complexity, certainly more contemplative than the last two, really waves of flavour. The best wine of this first trio, but I’d drink the Sereine today.

2014 Chablis La Damme Nature
This already bottled. From 10 hectares of Chablis in bio.
Fresh, wide, more subtle nose; with more swirling a line of fresh yellow fruit comes through. More mouth-filling but also fresher in aspect vs the ‘Venerable.’ More green-fruited but not dense green fruit like a 2008, mouth-watering, a darker but more elegant and finely textured wine of lovely expression. No edges here, just a joyful glass.

2014 Chablis 1er Beauroy
This in bottle. Grapes from all three parts of the vineyard.
Ooh! – direct green apple but a much more floral aspect – very charming. Wide, really an extra intensity after the series of Chablis, a little saline, a suggestion (only that) of oak and a fine density of flavour through into the finish, and beyond. Excellent!

2014 Chablis 1er Côte de Lechets
In bottle.
A more mineral impression, very discreet reduction. More lithe, more melting over the palate, beautifully defined, wide and lingering. A beauty!
2014 Chablis 1er Vaillons
‘Really we’ve done a lot of work here in the last years as I found the wine before not exceptional, today not so…’
Wide, reductive agrume notes. Wide, layered, totally mouth-filling, gorgeous wine!
2014 Chablis 1er Les Lys
Also a part of Vaillons – of-course.
A perfume of discreet oak, and flowers – a very lovely combination. In the mouth a little more direct and saline, fantastic growth of flavour intensity but no brutality – beautiful! A brilliant finish too.

2014 Chablis 1er Montmains
95% Butteaux.
A more resonant, faintly reduced nose of implied minerality. Intensely wide, the first wine I would describe as steely, wide, cool flavoured, just a little agrume. Very different, no less good.

2014 Chablis 1er Fourchaume
An assembly of multiple lieu-dits.
Sweet, fresh, floral aroma. A little more weight of texture with a faint, more implied, fat but here is a beautifully balanced more floral flavour. Lingering gorgeousness. Exquisite! Despite the note don’t expect anything facile or meagre! My favourite – so far!

2014 Chablis 1er l’Homme Mort
An accent of sweet oak, fresh and wide, a suggested reduction too. Really some density here, weight of flavour, concentration, more oak flavour – but riveting texture. A wine to wait for due to the oak component, but delicious!

2014 Chablis 1er Vaulorent
A vibrant impression of minerality here. Large-scaled, an inferred plushness to the texture, but a wine of scale, indeed grandeur. Beautifully fresh finishing – competition for the Fourchaume here, perhaps a few GCs too!
2014 1er Montée de Tonnerre
A much deeper aromatic of agrume, also (for sure) a suggestion of reduction but it’s only that! A pliable, supple texture, layered delivery, rooted in mineral rather than fruit, finishing with salinity. I loved the others so much I didn’t want to love this too – it’s modestly more austere, but I can’t help myself!

2014 Chablis 1er Mont de Milieu
Tighter but wide, a certain sun, but finely balanced. Yes! Wide, complex, mouth-watering, energetic without being raucous, accessible, really, really tasty. Super complex rather than super big – lovely!

2014 Chablis 1er Vaucoupin
Separating since 2013.
Deep, vibrant, a reductive mineral expression – very inviting. Super complex, incisive, clean delineation of flavours, faint reduction. Super mouth-watering flavour. Excellent!

2014 Chablis Les Clos
‘Only’ 0.5 hectares of vines.
Deep, wide, round, fresh and complex – faint oak too today. Vibrant complexity, layered, always a shadow from the oak in these flavours but complex, and simply delicious.

2014 Chablis Les Preuses
Altogether wider, no oak, an impression of weight and complexity but more suggested than delivered… Gas. As it melts so do a multitude of flavours over the tongue. Freshness and simply joyous deliciousness. Bravo!

2014 Chablis Château Grenouilles
I respect the importance of this cuvée to the producer, but not so much their positioning in a tasting. Really, if not timid, I always find this the most discreet of their grand crus – this 2014 is certainly so today.
Very wide at the base, sweetly fruited aromas at the (narrower) top. Again a little gas. Very wide, nicely textured, very little fat but there’s a measured concentration that the intensity defers to. A hint of florality and a very understated but impressive length. Understated but very fine Chablis.

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