Tasted in Chablis with Valérie Beaufumé, 13 January 2017.
5 rue des Vignes
Tel: +33 3 86 47 56 32
There have been three generations growing the grapes of Domaine Beaufumé in Chablis, but you will be forgiven for not knowing the name, as they were suppliers to La Chablisienne. In 1989 Bernard Beaufumé took on the estate and gradually doubled its size – today there are 18 hectares. Three quarters of the estate is in the commune of Lignorelles and the remaining quarter in Villy.
Since 2014 they are now commercialising their own wines – vinified by Bernard’s wife Valérie – a mix of Petit Chablis and Chablis. The holdings are quite morcelated, says Valerie – with 25 separate parcels. The facilities here are fine, spacious and modern. “Nothing has changed in the vines as my husband has always done the work – the difference is that the grapes are pressed and vinified here rather than shipped to the Chablisienne. We are raisonée in the vines, and we are in the vines every day so our reactions to issues are fast.”
In terms of wine-making, Valérie says that she likes a long debourbage (the settling and decanting of the lees after pressing) using only stainless-steel for elevage with thermo-regulation. “I use a single yeast but aim for zero interventions afterwards, keeping the wine on its fine lees while aiming for a bottling, normally, in August.
“We started with zero clients, so we only commercialised 6,000 bottles in 2014. The 16s are waiting patiently on their fine lees but at the moment there’s no incentive to grow the market as we would earn more money selling in bulk!”
Valérie on 2016:
“In 2016 we managed to make our volume as the hail and frost was not so strong here, more was the work in the vines against the maladies. I used a little less lees in this vintage versus 2015 as the wines have a little less power.”
We are not tasting the Petit Chablis, as it is only the Chablis that is currently commercialised. A technical cork, similar to DIAM is in use here.
Two broadly similar wines below, but of excellent quality – potentially a great new address for a simple Chablis label!
The last of the 2015 that’s still in tank.
Really a green-tinged colour. Round, fresh, green fruit, really very attractive. Big in the mouth, fine, fresh volume, deliciously mouth-watering flavour. Intense and really quite a beauty – bravo! – as good as you could wish for in the vintage.
Bottled, and slightly different to the previous tank sample, as this was ‘very slightly’ acidified, and also was cold stabilised.
A little more depth of aroma, slowly it opens and is reflective of the previous wine – maybe the sulfur at bottling brighing a suggestion of savouriness, but becoming cleaner and fresher and lovely. Seemingly a little more fat, but really a joyous acidity flowing through that silky cushion. Intense and the salinity is just a little more notable. Again beautiful, though I have a tiny, tiny preference for the first wine.