Tasted in Chemilly with Guillaume, Marie-France and Marianne Vilain, 23 January 2017.
Domaine de Chaude Ecuelle
35 Grande rue
Tel: +33 3 86 42 40 44
Domaine de Chaude Ecuelle is a family run estate headed by Gérald Vilain. It was the children of Gérald, the next generation, who showed me around. They explained that it was their great, great-grandfather who began things, but he only bottled enough wine for the family to drink. The domaine its current form was created by their parents at the beginning of the 1990s. 60 hectares are owned but only 100,000 bottles, about 1/3 of a normal harvest, are commercialised in bottle.
The name of the domaine is the same as an old parcel of vines from their grandparents. It’s a big cuverie – with 20 big tanks, then there’s a second too – similarly equipped – here there are 6 barrels as a test for their 2016 1er crus the first that will see some wood. Much of the production is exported – the UK being the biggest export market – all their Vaillons is sold to Scotland (Raeburn fine wines) – but the restaurants of Paris are high on the list too – no surprise as their father would deliver wine himself to Paris in the evenings.
And their last vintages? “We lost as much to hail as to the frost in 2016, it was only a 25% harvest, but we can still keep roughly the normal amount we commercialise by selling less in bulk. 2015 hard to compare against 2016, it was all pretty easy – just a hint of hail in our parcel of Montmains so we harvested 2 days later – the rest were fine.”
The domaine’s 1ers and old vines are harvested by hand, the rest by machine. There is 12-18 months elevage for their Chablis up to 2 Years for the 1er crus. All the bottles are sealed with DIAM.
My first visit here and there’s lots to be interested in – some really very nice wines.
2015 Petit Chablis
Fine, direct and fresh with a Little herb and citrus. Nice fresh volume in the mouth, good complexity, big finishing too. Mouth-watering with a tasty minerality. Yum!
Worth about 30 hectares.
A little tight but its a pure, fresh and direct nose. A hint of gas. But really a super mouth-watering effect in the mouth. Saline accented, wide and tasty. Very yum! Generous waves of finishing flavour. Excellent!
2015 Chablis Vieilles-Vignes
Vines of about 60 years-old.
Again a nicely fresh nose, faintly accented with sweetness and citrus. A little more volume, more richness of texture, almost opulent by comparison, yet with a fine energy and good underlying minerality. Quite saline finishing and long.
Relatively flat here. 0.85 ha
Wider and fresher, very inviting complexity here. Oouf! Wow this is bright, direct, silky wine. Impressively mouth-watering stuff. Waves of finishing flavour. Yes!
O.75 ha. Planted 1947… on the hillside.
A modest width, nicely complex, yet just a little tight. Just beautifully mouth-watering, delicious wine, with waves and waves of flavour. This is super stuff!
2013 Chablis 1er Montmains
Round, a little sweeter, still tight in the cold cellar. Ouf – wow – surprise! Despite the vintage this is direct and has a great line of saline accented flavour. A little finishing herb complexity, but really this is much more linear than I expect. Super!
2007 Chablis 1er Vaillons
Actually bought this vines in this vintage.
Still a young colour. Really a modest but fine nose of good width and only a tiny suggestion of anything more mature. Beautiful texture, a hint of richness, here there’s obviously much more maturity – still, it’s only an adolescent – but super tasty, slightly richer style but no lack of either minerality or balance. Yum!