Billaud-Simon – 2015


Tasted in Chablis with Olivier Bailly, 24 January, 2017.

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

Olivier on 2016:
“It’s a good vintage, with plenty of concentration, but unfortunately the volume depends very much on the sector. For us it was the frost which caused the most pronounced losses. Volume wise, it’s about half a harvest for us.”

Olivier on 2015:
“A part of the domaine was hit by the hail; the beginning of the harvest which had been planned for the Monday was brought forward to Thursday – the hail had hit Sunday night/Monday morning the 30/31st. The heavy rain that came with the hail seemed to help wash the grapes and keep everything clean and rot free – certainly a relief! In 2015 we harvested using small cases to collect the grapes, just like in the Côte d’Or followed by triage with a new table – only the Petit Chablis and Chablis were harvested by machine.

“I think it’s a good vintage, they have turned out well. Les Clos, Blanchots and Montée de Tonnerre, were touched, but 2014 was certainly a larger volume vintage here.”

The wines…

I know there are some low volumes in Chablis, but I had to watch as Olivier ‘Coravined’ the pours into my glass – I might understand with 2015 Blanchots, but 2015 Petit Chablis? Particularly as the contents of the glasses were not being saved for topping up. It made the tasting much longer too!

I don’t know it was Coravin-related, but the wines were very good rather than the ‘excellent’ that I’ve come to expect over my visits here. These are really tasty, long and appealing wines, though I was surprised by their relative softness – maybe that is indeed due to the aeration involved in the process…

Note, all the GCs are now yellow wax-topped.

2015 Petit Chablis Sur Les Clos
100% tank elevage. Literally two parcels from the flat land on the top of the hill above the grand crus of Les Clos and Valmur – totalling 1.33 hectares…
Really a very perfumed nose. Supple, nicely weighted, a melting flavour over the palate. Just a little more rigour in the minerality of the saline accented finish. But really this is already lovely…. fine finishing too.

2015 Chablis
From 3.17 hectares of vines on the continuation of the Blanchots hillside, direction north above Fye. 100% tank elevage also.
This is also a rather perfumed wine, less so than the PC, more floral. Really good volume in the mouth, fresh, a lovely leading exge of acidity, a slight, soft, ‘give’ to the texture and a long line of cushioned, tasty minerality. The finish is likewise very tasty, and still with a type of perfume. Still, Super!

2015 Chablis Tête d’Or
Assembly of the best parcels – 2.83 hectares from under the Montée de Tonnerre and between the Montée de Tonnerre and the Mont de Milieu. There’s some wood elevage here – some new wood too – this is a cuvée for ‘washing’ the new barrels so they can be later used in other cuvées.
Another perfumed nose (I’m sure the smell isn’t me!) here with a ripe lemon fruit, soft focus in attendance. Great volume again, here with a little more richness than the last wine. Wide, growing in intensity, but like the nose with a softeness to the packaging that makes it very tasty. A little minerality sticking out in the finish – more rigour here – but long and lovely…

The ‘Tête’ was bottled in August, part of the 1ers and GCs just before Christmas – the last were done last week.

2015 Chablis 1er Les Vaillons
Multiple parcels that amount to 2.95 hectares, all vinified separately and assembled before bottling.
Again a little perfume, but here is a wider perspective, fresh, mineral and with aromatic energy. Lovely in the mouth, almost a bubbling energy, not the most intense, but really a very tasty wine of good complexity. Fresh in style but like the others with a hint of cushioning, so no austerity. Yum! Pure sweetly mineral in the long finish…

2015 Chablis 1er Fourchaume
0.25 ha. The last part of Vaupulent.
Once more back to a rather overt perfume. Bigger volume in the mouth, with cool fruit then lots of bubbling complexity – a wide, persistent and very tasty wine – long finishing – and, as all, sweetly mineral, here none of the modest rigour of some of the other wines. Excellent!

A new wine:

2015 Chablis 1er Vaulorent
Made from purchased grapes, ‘hand harvested so we can pick the date and also decide the press program!’
Again with a strong perfume but also a vibrant depth of minerality too. A little soft halo to the palate, but here is lots of energy, then a growing width of mid-palate flavour – and very tasty flavour at that. Long and delicious flavour in the finish.

2015 Chablis 1er Mont de Milieu
Four parcels, 0.35 ha at the top pulled out after the 2015 harvest as there was virus and too low yields. 2.77 ha in total.
Less perfume, another nose with a vibrant depth of minerality – this smells great! Melting flavour, quite good volume in the mouth, a little rigour to the minerality, yet there is also a lot happening on the plate. Tasty wine, again just a little soft in personality – yet still delicious. It is pure, modestly intense and mineral finishing…

2015 Chablis 1er Montée de Tonnerre
2.15 ha in three parcels.
A bigger nose, fainter perfume, more overt agrume fruit and a decent minerality too. Wide, vibrant flavour, again a little soft which dulls the intensity, yet the balance and flavour are lovely – I’m simply missing a little impact… long and tasty again, just a little less modest finishing intensity of flavour. As always, very tasty wine…

Another new wine:

2015 Chablis Bougros
All in tank elevage.
A little less aromatic volume, but there are very nicely presented agrume and mineral notes. Here there’s more weight of flavour, more layered, a suggestion of salt. Nothing to complain about! Weight of flavour, certainly some cushioning of the texture, but this has definition and a fine finishing, part floral finishing flavour, eventually modestly mineral. Excellent!

2015 Chablis Les Preuses
One parcel of 0.41 ha, vines that are 63 years old. Just a little wood, like Montée de Tonnerre.
Ooh – this is wide, mineral, layered, hardly a note of oak in the aromatic. Good volume, mineral flavour with added agrumes, but fine energy and there’s a fine concentration here. A little more rigour than the Blanchots, and there’s a very faint accent of oak in the flavour, but this has lots going for it. A super finishing complexity, becoming ever-more mineral. Yum!

2015 Chablis Vaudesir
Three parcels here that come to 0.49 ha. Only bottled last week. All tank elevage.
Ooh, that’s nice – almost an orange or mandarin component to the agrumes. Lots of energy in the mouth, this has volume, complexity and some delicious flavour – I don’t think it’s quite fully together after bottling, but it really seems to have everything – I’ll give this this the benefit of the doubt, and say bravo!

Les Clos for our 200 years (1815) anniversary we will make something a little later with this wine and some advertising, so we’re not showing it today…

2015 Chablis Les Blanchots
The tiniest parcel of grand cru here, just 0.18 ha – also right at the top near their parcel of Les Clos. ‘Sad about the losses to hail here as the vines looked so great.’
Hmm, not the biggest nose, or the most complex, yet the mineral vibration here is strong (Luke!) This is another wine with a certain softness of delivery, and a little rigour to the minerality, yet the flavour that glues everything together, is once more, excellent, and here is a very impressive finish. Very yum!

2015 Chablis Valmur
Aromatically a little tight vs most – a modest freshness and something riper in the depth – but little else. More weight and density of flavour in the mouth, a little less volume. There is some impact here, a little softness again, but less than many. The mid-palate flavour has a nice minerality and an even nicer complexity. This is again, very tasty wine and just a little perfume in the finish. Yum!

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