Jean-Claude Courtault + Michelet – 2015


Tasted with Stéphanie Michelet in Lignorelles, 13 January 2017.

Domaine Jean-Claude Courtault
1 route de Montfort
89800 Lignorelles
Tel: +33 3 86 47 50 59

Stephanie on 2016:
“2016 – like for everyone – difficult. We retained only one-third of our normal harvest. It wasn’t just the hail, there was a lot of rain that contributed to coulure, of-course there was also the frost. It seemed that the soil had some influence; Lignorelles has plenty of clay so stays humid hence a strong frost effect. Following all that, there was almost too much heat, then some rain combined with the heat near the harvest prompted some porriture to appear. I’m happy it’s over. But really it’s not yet over, the training of the vines for 2017 is very difficult, trying to find a good shoot with a good reserve. At least the cold winter will help remove some of the mildew that remains in the vineyard.”

Stephanie on 2015:
Prices! It’s almost obligatory to increase prices, and possibly at least 10% just to help get through the year. It’s a good year though, with very nice wines. They have a little less acidity but they are aromatic and powerful. The weather has really made the Petit Chablis very successful. Still the wines have a good structure. The terroir comes through well.

The wines…

The two domaines, as always presented together; the wines of the Domaine Jean-Claude Courtault usually being the more fruity, approachable wines. The last three wines represent négoce purchases, and these wear, in most markets, the Jean-Claude Courtault (but a different colour) label, but sometimes, like in Harrods, UK, they wear a Michelet label.

The ‘Vincent’ wines with DIAM; 3 and 5 for the Petit Chablis and Chablis (respectively), cork for the others. Stephanie’s father remains ‘very traditional and is attached to his corks!’

2015 Jean-Claude Courtault, Petit Chablis
Mainly from Lignorelles, average 20 year-old vines
An open, faintly sweet, faintly herbed but attractive nose. Supple, lithe, a very fine line of citrussy lime. A little but wide wave of finishing flavour. Excellent!

2015 Michelet, Petit Chablis
Vinified exactly the same. Parcels from Bienes, Maligny and Fye. More like 10 year-old vines. Bottled also in July.
A higher-toned citrus personality – nice! Much more direct, much more fresh, intense, very mouth-watering. Oof, this is an incisive wine, not for the acid shy, yet the finish is lovely and the style is completely classic and overcomes the vintage. Clean and tasty…

2015 Jean-Claude Courtault, Chablis
A blend of Lignorelles and Beines – 20-35 year-old vines. Usually more fruit from Lignorelles, structure and minerality comes more from Beines.
Nicely fresh, faintly saline. Hmm, this is lovely in the mouth with a fine acidity and a very good line of flavour, but saline, finely textured and mineral. Attractive and delicious without any facile element. Excellent!

2015 Michelet Chablis
70% old vines, with a young vine in Bienes, the rest over 60 years old in Lignorelles.
A more subtle nose, but fine and almost delicate and textured. Silky, saline, a growing mouth-watering wave of flavour. Super minerality here, and very strong finish, there’s power in the finish, not particularly austere but it would be worth showing just a little patience. Lovely wine.

1ers are all bought as must – its hard to buy grapes… but these are quite long-term purchase from the same producers.

2015 Jean-Claude Courtault, Chablis 1er Mont de Milieu
Only tank elevage here.
A big nose – open, complex, fresh and very attractive indeed. Super in the mouth, round but meltingly mineral. Wide, fine texture, lovely length. This is simply delicious – bravo!

All bottled so far this last one in September.

2015 Jean-Claude Courtault, Chablis 1er Beauroy
Troesmes and Côte de Savant
Extra saline – fresh and deep – citrus and a faint spice. A little extra weight, pretty and even floral above, deeper and more stern below. A very fine line of mineral flavour in the finish. Very good! Persistent in the finish and very different to the last wine.

2015 Jean-Claude Courtault, Chablis Valmur
Making this cuvée since 2013, though they have no grand crus in 2016. Only tank elevage for this. From the south-east facing hillside.
This nose needs a little time to open its arms, it starts a little tight and dense – slowly opening with notes that offer a core of fruit with an almost spicy minerality as a halo to the fruit. Hmm, depth of flavour, very nice texture, a clear, clean minerality but always with a certain concentration and weight. A beautiful and weighty finishing flavour that’s mineral, long and very modestly citrus-inflected. Understated in a way but the balance is fine if not effusive. Just a wine to contemplate and enjoy – lovely stuff.

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