Billaud-Simon – 2016


Tasted in Chablis with Olivier Bailly, 18 January, 2018.

Domaine Billaud-Simon
1 quai de Reugny
89800 Chablis
Tel: +33 3 86 42 10 33

As is the Faiveley way, soon after purchasing this domaine there is a lot of investment – the fine old house next to the Serein river is being completely gutted and renovated – with a fine new tasting room included. It was practically a shell when I visited, but maybe all will be in place next year!

Olivier on 2017:
2017 is a good vintage but there was a lot of damage from the spring frosts – the bottom of hillsides were badly hit. A much cleaner vintage with no maladies vs 2016. It was warm very early in the vintage but August was easier. In the end it looks quite classic – our yields are similar to 2016 – that’s about 60% of a regular vintage. Monté de Tonnèrre was bad at the bottom, Mont de Milieu wasn’t bad! We had candles in Vaudesir, Vaillons was quite good.

Olivier on 2016:
I’m happy with the vintage. The wines are a good compromise between 2014 and 2015, with really good differentiation between the vineyards. The wines are rich but with a really good line. To compare, the 2014s remain a little austere just now but the 2015s are great, less classic, but they are open and taste great. We have all the usual cuvées in 2016, but the volumes of some are quite small.

The wines…

A very strong set of wines at the villages and 1er cru level – but the grand crus were simply great at this address in 2016!

2016 Petit Chablis Sur Les Clos
Bottled in July. Literally two parcels from the flat land on the top of the hill above the grand crus of Les Clos and Valmur – totalling 1.33 hectares…
This nose is not fully open but and impression of round, slightly rich fruit. Super in the mouth – yes round – but the richness is an anecdote to great line and insistent, long flavours. This is really excellent PC!

2016 Chablis
From 3.17 hectares of vines on the continuation of the Blanchots hillside, direction north above Fye. 100% tank elevage also. Also bottled about the time of the Petit Chablis
A little more width of aroma, some yellow citrus in the mix. Very like the PC but with more mouth-filling volume of flavour and a more persistent minerality in the finishing favour. Just a very modest rigour that says ‘wait a few more months’ but delicious!

2016 Chablis Tête d’Or
Assembly of the best parcels – 2.83 hectares from under the Montée de Tonnerre and between the Montée de Tonnerre and the Mont de Milieu. There’s some wood elevage here – some new wood too – this is a cuvée for ‘washing’ the new barrels so they can be later used in other cuvées. Bottled at the end of November.
Less wide but with finer and deeper aromas. More attack, fresher, more volume and layers of energetic flavour – this is great – super purity and mineral length – bravo!

All wines that follow are not yet bottled:

2016 Chablis 1er Les Vaillons
Multiple parcels that amount to 2.95 hectares, all vinified separately and assembled before bottling.
Ooh, that’s a beautifully deep and mineral nose – super! Some gas here, but not terribly so – but what a palate – really fresh agrume, almost a suggestion of orange flesh in the mix. Top – so juicy!

2016 Chablis 1er Fourchaume
0.25 ha. The last part of Vaupulent. Didn’t make much in 2016 – but was much worse in 2017.
Nice depth of aroma though more compact than the Vaillons today. Super in the mouth there’s fine mouth-filling volume and a complex, insistent fresh flavour, almost sherbet. Very tasty wine indeed – the minerality shining through, the deeper you go into the finish. The finish is really the most open and impressive part of the wine.

2016 Chablis 1er Vaulorent
Second vintage made from purchased grapes.
A lovely, clean, deep nose. Bright, beautiful points of pure flavour complexity, really a citrus fruit wine, long and lingering too – a great reminder – super wine!

2016 Chablis 1er Mont de Milieu
Four parcels, 0.35 ha at the top pulled out after the 2015 harvest as there was virus and too low yields. 2.77 ha in total. About the same yield as 2017 – 25 hl/ha.
Just a hint of toasty reduction, tight width but good depth of, growing, mineral aroma. Really a zesty, energetic mouthful of interesting wine – this will be delicious again – super wine once more, almost a suggestion of grapefruit in the finish.

2016 Chablis 1er Montée de Tonnerre
2.15 ha in three parcels. Unlike 2017, the yield was not bad here – similar to 2015
A nice width, also citrus, here a little more in the direction of lime. More gas. This is just so crystalline and pure – but at the same time full of zest and energy – such a beautifully classic wine. Great wine!

Almost all the previous 1er cru wines will be bottled in the next 10 days.

2016 Chablis Bougros
Second vintage – Not much of this wine – 300 litres.
Rather a compact nose today but there are flashes of really exciting minerality at the base. More mouth-filling – okay that’s not possible(!) but there’s more density of flavour behind. Really a lovely and complex wine that, today, is more citrus-fruit driven, than it is mineral – but give it time, there’s no doubting how absolutely delicious it is!

2016 Chablis Valmur
A little more open – certaintly more high tones here. Gas again so recalibrate – such width of fine flavour – pure precise, really insistent. Slowly adding some mid-palate richness – a tiny point of salinity and a little citrus-skin bitters. Excellent!

2016 Chablis Les Blanchots
The tiniest parcel of grand cru here, just 0.18 ha – also right at the top near their parcel of Les Clos. About 340 litres before filtration…
Fine width of aroma though it’s much tighter below. Plenty of gas again. More depth of texture – call it richness – but there’s freshness and energy that cuts through it all. Complex, a little more considered but really there’s everything here. I love this!

2016 Chablis Vaudesir
Three parcels here that come to 0.49 ha. Only bottled last week. All tank elevage.
This is compact/subtle/tight – choose your descriptor – but there are glimpses of very fine and pure citrus escaping the glass. Here is a little more power, more insistent concentration but really great fruit – there’s not the richness of the last just more volume in all respects. Great wine for sure as the balance and flavours are impeccable!
2016 Chablis Les Preuses
One parcel of 0.41 ha, vines that are 63 years old. All tank – no oak.
This is more open with depth of minerality, high tones accented with faint spice. More direction that the last but with the weight of the last – that’s impressive! Really more overtly mineral. Small waves of finishing flavour radiating from the core – and so persistent too. Great wine again!
2016 Chablis Les Clos
The most open nose of this set of grand crus – round, deep and with high tones – everything. Extra, extra! Really it does what the Vaudesir does but with more muscle and intensity, with more complexity but composure and with more salinity. The greatest here!

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