Tasted in Chablis with Benoit Droin, 25 January 2017.
Domaine Jean-Paul et Benoit Droin
8 Boulevard de Ferrières
Tel: +33 3 86 42 16 78
Benoit on 2016:
“In 2016 we had frost in 11 places. The first hail was not so bad here – the second was worse. Then the maladies came, though they were not the worst – but the drought also didn’t help – in the end lost about 60%”
Benoit Droin on the 2015:
“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. The hail also hit the vines in Courgis.
“The rest had pretty much a normal level. Maybe down about 20-25% I haven’t actually calculated. I’ve tried unsuccessfully to calm demand based on volumes, I may have to try increasing the price!
“i think 2009 has a lot of similarities, though not 2005 which I find heavier. Both were relatively earlier vintages too.”
The domaine is all DIAM now.
One parcel above Les Clos on Portlandian, not much soil, mainly limestone. Wait about 6 months to drink.
Good aromatic volume, fruit in the direct of ripe lime. Plenty of sweetness, round fresh volume, almost layered – wow! Great PC! Bravo! Virtually no hail here.
Almost 40 parcels assembled – About 12 hectares worth – and like the Petit Chablis, harvested by machine.
A wide and fresh nose, just a suggestion of florals too. Again plenty of volume – even finer flavour, super energy – great, mouth-watering flavour. Again, simply top wine for the label. A little more silken in the finish. Perhaps less overt energy but more crystalline vs the PC
Assembly of 5 terroirs from Vaillons
Super width, almost a mandarin fruit to add to the mineral notes – super! Again plenty of volume, freshness too, yet this is a wine that subtly, mouth-wateringly creeps up on you. Fine, mineral and long. Really an extra minerality in the finish. Delicious…
2015 Chablis 1er Montmains
Much deeper soil here.
Wider, more herbs, plenty of minerality, still an attractively sweet impression. Extra wide, a little extra intensity, more overtly mineral. Really a fine mineral, perhaps subtly reductive, complexity in the mid-palate, and not even a suggestion of austerity – you could enjoy this with gusto today!
2015 Chablis 1er Mont de Milieu
Wide and a little floral above – attractive – of-course. Here it’s a narrower entry but getting wider and wider – very wide and mineral in the mid-palate, but with more considered and finely complex notes and more overt cushioned silk. Really a lovely, ingraining wine!
Here is a more open, transparent and quite deeply mineral nose – almost vibrant. Mouth-filling, lots of agrume complexity, a little fat to the silky texture, but always with great poise, indeed tension. Just a gorgeous finish!
Third vintage with 37 year-old vines.
An extra aromatic freshness, green fruited. Directly a more mineral attack, fine texture and a beautiful presence in the mouth. Ultra-mineral with a little salivating citrus for company, perhaps a little more rigour than the previous wines, but what a wine – bravo! – A great finish!
‘This is always a complicated wine when young but after 5 years it really seems to take off! And be happy if you can find one that’s 10-15 years old!’
Wide and freshly complex aromas – a little green-tinged citrus in support. Hmm, this is a little more modest of energy, rather a wine that slowly melts its minerals and fruit over the palate. This is almost subdued vs many here, yet the finishing width of flavour is on a grand (cru) scale – that’s impressive.
Not so wide a nose, but a modest depth of faintly reduced notes. Super volume in the mouth and the extra depth of flavour is easy to see – comfortably textured yet gorgeously, elegantly mouth-watering. Simply, delicious. Bravo! A hint of finishing tannin too!
2015 Chablis Valmur
Hmm. Here is a little more width and much more complexity, yet, still not as open as many of the 1ers. Oof – more direct, really more mineral, a subtle austerity yet you will quickly forget – a touch of mid-palate oak today – but this is more about the silken, comfortable, mineral ride into the finish than the persistence of the finish. This will be great but definitely wait for 5+ years.
2015 Chablis Grenouilles
From top part of Grenouilles.
Rather modest in aromatic volume today – perhaps a suggestion of oak, eventually a little vibration of minerality in its depth. Very different in shape – almost the minerality of the Valmur yet the shape is round rather than linear. Very silky, with depth of flavour, really more in the mineral than the fruit register. Also with a little rigour in its character – also wait at lest 5 years there’s very much waiting to be discovered here!
2015 Chablis Les Clos
Harvested only 1 day earlier than planned.
Ooh – more flamboyant, minerals and fruit and fresh energy. In the mouth weight and über-mineral yet still with delicious flavour – there’s easily the minerality of the last two with a more open and accessible aspect. Layers of mid-palate and finishing flavour – you could drink this while waiting for the last 2 – maybe better to take the Vaudesir though 🙂 excellent!
And blind for the road:
Broad, open, fresh and mineral, lots of depth, perhaps some lime fruit. Direct, lithe, intense, a great premier or no surprise if ifs grand cru because there’s such intensity, perhaps still a suggestion of oak or slightly lactic caramel, but really a lovely texture. In the end the lime had it, it’s 2008 Chablis 1er Vaillons. ‘Maybe the caramel/lactic is actually the conversion of plenty of malic to lactic‘ says Benoit.
Golden colour, a big, vibrant, beautiful nose – deep, faint white truffle. In the mouth a great line, not the weight of the last wine, but here is the fine complexity of age, white chocolate, old wool, wide. It’s 1991 Chablis 1er Montmains ‘It’s a vintage that lost lots of volume, weather like 2016. It lacks concentration‘ says Benoit, but I find it a dream from the perspective of perfectly matured, hyper-complex Chablis!