Tasted with Stéphanie Michelet in Lignorelles, 11 January 2018.
Domaine Jean-Claude Courtault
1 route de Montfort
Tel: +33 3 86 47 50 59
Stephanie on 2017:
“2017 was frosted here, some of the worst frost in Chablis – together with Maligny – our vines mainly in the north-west corner of Chablis – but the wines are looking great! The big difference with most of Chablis was that we had a couple of hours of rain before the temperatures plummeted to -8°C, everywhere else remained dry so they had a small advantage. But this is an area that normally doesn’t frost – it was really the combination of rain followed by the cold that did the damage – some vines looked like they’d almost been killed – they took a long time to come back. We still managed roughly 50% as we had vines that compensated in other areas. So we have more wine in 2017 than 2016. Two vintages in a row so low is hard but we were lucky to have a decent vintage in 2015 and not all is already sold so it gives us a little bridge. Still, I think way may be moving quite quickly from selling 2016 to 2017!”
Stephanie on 2016:
“¨2016s were bottled quite late. It was quite a particular vintage – the nightmare for vignerons – normally some parcels compensate for others, but for us everything was touched – and with so many maladies too… We like to make first treatment quite late and we don’t like to make too many treatments but it was important to be systematic in 2016. We retained only one-third of our normal harvest. It wasn’t just the hail, there was a lot of rain that contributed to coulure, of-course there was also the frost. It seemed that the soil had some influence; Lignorelles has plenty of clay so stays humid hence a strong frost effect. Following all that, there was almost too much heat, then some rain combined with the heat near the harvest prompted some porriture to appear.”
The two domaines, as always presented together; the wines of the Domaine Jean-Claude Courtault usually being the more fruity, approachable wines. The last three wines represent négoce purchases, and these wear, in most markets, the Jean-Claude Courtault (but a different colour) label, but sometimes, like in Harrods, UK, they wear a Michelet label.
The ‘Vincent’ wines with DIAM; 3 and 5 for the Petit Chablis and Chablis (respectively), cork for the others. Stephanie’s father remains ‘very traditional and is attached to his corks!’
The wines like every year show a little structure but a lot of classical style too – good wines here.
201& Jean-Claude Courtault, Petit Chablis
Mainly from Lignorelles, average 20 year-old vines, bottled end of July.
Ooh that’s a lovely and fine nose, pretty fresh fruit and lovely fine line – a hint floral too – fabulous. Supple, a little richness of texture but a line of acidity that follows long in the finish – plenty of acidity, a food wine. But delicious.
2016 Michelet, Petit Chablis
Vinified exactly the same. Parcels from Bienes, Maligny and Fye. More like 10 year-old vines. This vintage there’s nothing from Maligny – ‘Normally this brings the ‘fruit’ character.’
A little tighter, deeper, precise, mineral nose. Supple, wide, a hint of herb but beautiful balance – really much more mineral and wide – less fruity but super wine!
2016 Jean-Claude Courtault, Chablis
A blend of Lignorelles and Beines – 20-35 year-old vines. Usually more fruit from Lignorelles, structure and minerality comes more from Beines.
A good depth, slightly greener fruit with a suggestion of reduction. Lovely attack and good volume in the mouth. Very faintly saline edged, sweetness of mouth-watering fruit. Tasty, very tasty wine with a fine depth of flavour. A lovely finish – very attractive here.
201& Michelet Chablis
70% old vines, with a young vine in Bienes, the rest over 60 years old in Lignorelles – just one old barrel as part of the overall elevage – maybe 5% of the volume.
A pretty width of saline aroma. More intensity and weight – freshly mineral and with mouth-watering flavour – really very tasty flavour, accented with florals and long too.
“1ers are all bought as must – it’s hard to buy grapes… but these are quite long-term purchase from the same producers.”
201& Jean-Claude Courtault, Chablis 1er Mont de Milieu
Bought from same producer since 2008. All tank elevage on the fine lees.
Tight, slowly opening going deeper and deeper – vibrantly mineral at the base. Silky, a little richness but such a width of pure, largely mineral flavour. Growing in the finish – an airy, fine wine – lovely, persistent stuff.
2016 Jean-Claude Courtault, Chablis 1er Beauroy
Troesmes and Côte de Savant. A little barrel elevage here looking for openness of aroma – nothing from the wood flavour.
A more open width, a mix of floral and lemon style fruit almost suggesting apricot too – attractive. Lovely width, layered and slightly saline accented mineral wine. This is delicious and lots of pretty finishing energy. Yum!
“No GCs in 2016 – it was a war to get them so probably not in 2017 either – we could have done but the price was so high…”
2014 Jean-Claude Courtault, Chablis
Wide, fresh icy-pure fruit. Lots of width, some green-skinned fruit, impact, density, with a width of mouth-watering and super flavour – lots going on here – really wide in the finish. Tasty wine – Excellent!