Profile: Domaine Colbois


Tasted with Benjamin Colbois in Chitry-le-Fort, 20 January 2017.

Domaine Colbois
69 Grande Rue
89530 Chitry-le-Fort
Tel: +33 3 86 41 43 48

This is an old family domaine that dates, roughly, from the early 1900s. Benjamin Colbois is the 4th generation of the family. He tells me that things are very different today versus the first generations that ran the domaine – before it was a polyculture of cereal, cows, vines and cherries. In the late 1960s Benjamin’s grandfather one of the first to commercialise wine in bottle – just a small amount, the rest was sold in bulk as before.

The domaine today covers 20 hectares, 14 in and around Chitry and 7 in Chablis. There’s about 100 hectares in Chitry appellation, the vast majority of which is sold in France.

Benjamin on 2016:
2016 here was like in nearby St.Bris – only a small amount was harvested – 90% lost. Only the Chablis vines near Beine were okay, much of the rest of our Chablis is in Prehy, so that was lost to the hail.

And 2015?
2015 was good harvest. We started the vintage just two days earlier than planned due to the hail. We harvested with the machine – we were ready. Our last full yield was 2011, but we were not too far away in 2015, so are happy.

The wines…

An interesting range of wines – and my first real visit in Chitry.

2014 Bourgogne Pinot Noir l’Ombre d’Ane
This is actually not in Chitry, rather St.Bris. A few days of cool maceration, slowly increase the temperature. ‘Both fermentations are quick, maybe less than 10 days.’ Mechanically harvested.
A modest colour. A little herb but grows very pleasantly in the glass. Wide, fresh, but ripe, a little impression of a more volatile fruit. Only very modest tannin – its a fruity, easy thing – and okay for that. Almost a cherry stone finish.

2014 Bourgogne Chitry, Les Dames
Les Dames is the lieu dit, south-facing and ready 1 week earlier than the last. Elevage is longer, minimum 12, often 18 months, and then aged in bottle a little before commercialising.
A very open, slightly herbed but attractive fresh pinot. Much more silken, with more concentration, super intensity, really a higher class of wine with plenty of finishing complexity. The nose is not the greatest incitement to drink, but in the mouth this is lovely silky stuff with a very good second half. Yum!

2015 Bourgogne Chitry, Les Dames
From barrel.
Deeper colour, a more spicy cherry nose. Supple, bright, but with fruit of depth and really a very fine wine. Very much the cherry spectrum of fruit, but this is delicious.

Les blancs…
All thermoregulated, with elevage on lees…

2015 Aligoté
One part of these vines are over 60 years old – ‘Always with very small grapes.’
This is fine and effusive – pretty and very pure. Wide in the mouth, actually a super acidity here, with a suggestion of herb, but it’s really alive and energetic, it finishes well too. An aperitif, but a really good one!

2015 Bourgogne Chitry Blanc
A range of parcels from 15-35 plus years of age. About 5 hectares worth.
Wide, with a suggestion of spice and plenty of minerality. Good volume here, a sweetness of fruit, long and with a very good persistence. A modest but attractive complexity. This tastes very well. Yum!

2015 Chablis
About 5 hectares worth here.
A little extra fresh complexity, citrus complexity. An extra depth of citrus flavour. Very faintly floral too. This is very nice in the mid-palate and certainly in the finish. This is a lovely bottle. Very yum!

2015 Chablis 1er Cote de Jouan
Quite a short elevage, 8 months, hardly any lees.
Direct and mineral – no austerity. A little roundness, and really another level of intensity. A very good salinity, and a fine line of flavour. This is very tasty indeed, and for only 12 euros, ex domaine….

2015 Chablis Vieilles-Vignes
Part barrel elevage, a little longer elevage of 17 months. A blend of barrel and tank elevage. 2.5 hectares worth. This was the only parcel with a normal harvest volume in 2016.
More volume and weight of aroma, a little more green-fruited. Also more volume in the mouth – it’s a rounder wine with just a little more comfort (some!) to the texture vs the 1er cru, but a modest salinity and good flavour. Pretty in the finish, though not the same line as the last.

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