Tasted in Chablis with Benoit Droin, 17 January 2018.
Domaine Jean-Paul et Benoit Droin
8 Boulevard de Ferrières
Tel: +33 3 86 42 16 78
Benoit on 2017:
“Globally a good year excepting the frost of course. So it started not great – the push of growth was early and rapid – but the cold was a little more problematic than the frost as there were two weeks of this after the frosty days – so not frosted but still penalized a little. But otherwise it was a vintage which I would describe as warm but not too much, we had rain but not too much – so it was fine all the way up to the harvest where we had a good ripeness. Here it’s a little more than half a harvest in terms of yield, and it was the reverse of 2016 where the Chablis and Petit Chablis was badly affected but the crus less-so. But, quite far out, it looks like a very good or even great vintage.”
2017 is actually the 3rd consecutive vintage here with appreciable losses, because they were also hailed in 2015. So that’s less than 1.5 harvests in 3 years. Unsurprisingly, all the 2016 wines have been allocated from the domaine since September…
Benoit on 2016:
“In 2016 we had frost in 11 places. The first hail was not so bad here – the second was worse. Then the maladies came, though they were not the worst – but the drought also didn’t help. In the end it’s only 30% of a regular harvest here. There’s no Fourchaume in 2016.”
Here are wines of layers and purity, complexity and balance. It’s (as usual!) a fine vintage here with just a little oak showing here and there but it won’t last for long. Mainly both you and the wine will benefit from patience, but what rewards await! Excellent to great wine here in 2016.
The domaine is all DIAM now.
One parcel above Les Clos on Portlandian, not much soil, mainly limestone. Wait about 6 months to drink. Really a small cuvee.
Lovely – a wide, mineral, faintly reductive nose. Big wine, powerful, concentrated wine – this is great – a bigger wine than many from villages Chablis in 2016, yet still with great balance! Take a little time before approaching this one, But what a wine! Fabulous!
Normally, about 40 parcels assembled – About 12 hectares worth – and like the Petit Chablis, harvested by machine.
A little finer, less impact. Like the nose, finer, not bigger – fine texture, flow, all very beautiful. Super wine, only the length is extra here vs the PC but this is excellent.
2016 Chablis 1er Vaillons
Assembly of 5 terroirs from Vaillons
More high tones, more energy and a hint of perfume. A touch of oak in the flavours, but this is a mobile, complex and deliciously fresh and involving wine in 2016.
2016 Chablis 1er Montmains
Much deeper soil here. “I sometimes find this wine a little Burgundian but this year its more Chablisien!” says Benoit.
Ooh – more vibrant, floral perfume – such an invitation. A hint more richness, a suggestion of barrel again, more spiced this time – wide and complex – beautifully detailed. Such a fine wine – Excellent!
2016 Chablis 1er Vaulorent
Fourth vintage with 38 year-old vines.
A deeper nose, mineral, perhaps an accent of reduction. More volume, more mouth-filling, layers of flavour here. Wide, subtly saline – wait a little while for this but it’s a beauty!
2016 Chablis 1er Montée de Tonnerre
‘This is always a complicated wine when young but after 5 years it really seems to take off! And be happy if you can find one that’s 10-15 years old!’
A little tighter but still a width of fine complexity – subtly spiced from oak. More direct, melting flavour, a little oak in the middle again – but what a wine – complex, melting flavour, simply delicious!
2016 Chablis Blanchots
Only tank elevage
Not the most open but like the last there’s a nice width of aroma – some fine higher tones. Direct, fresh, pure, the first nose like this since the Petit Chablis! Slowly melting great flavour over the palate. Super wine.
A little more open so there’s extra width and depth of aroma. More overall mouth-filling – really lots of energy here. Tons of complexity, ever-changing with great mid and finishing presence – character! I love this!
2016 Chablis Valmur
Less width but a little more vibration of minerality in the depth. More mineral, with super breadth of flavour – this is really a wine of concentration and bulk of flavour but not oppressive – lots of salinity – really to wait for but super-impressive.
2016 Chablis Grenouilles
From top part of Grenouilles.
Not super open but a fine and pure lime fruit and mineral purity. Ooh – that’s intense and mineral – with waves of acid-led flavour. Wow intensity! To wait for, without doubt. A wine of line and grand cru power. Bravo – but it’s not easy either – wait 5 years!
2016 Chablis Les Clos
A more considered width of aroma, seemingly muscular but pure, perhaps betraying faint wood too. Volume, mineral, like the nose it’s practically muscular, a little extra wood flavour but additive not distracting, multiple layers, sweetness and salinity – a great finish.
And blind for the road:
2005 Chablis 1er Mont de Milieu
“Rich with power over mineral is my memory” says Benoit.
Wide, giving, pure – a nose of width and vibration with some iodine development. Yes! Rich, really rich, but such a fine complexity and really there’s everything in here. There’s a growing freshness that matches the depth of flavour – a saline and complex finish – it’s a meal in itself – and a great one!
Pretty, fine, pure, faintly salted and high-toned. Mouth-filling, fresh, complex, really quite young but the complexity is vivid – this is still a baby but it’s also just great today!