Tasted in Chablis with Hervé Tucki and Vincent Bartement, 11 January 2018.
8, Boulevard Pasteur
Tel: +33 3 86 42 89 89
Given the massive volume of wine produced by La Chablisienne – about 25% of all Chablis in a normal year – then they are perfectly placed to give an average view as to the losses in 2016:
Hervé on 2017:
“The December to February period was one of the driest since 1945. Then in the Spring we had 10-12 days of frost, and there are not many times in the memory of (an old) vigneron that that has happened. The frost starting very early – 2-3 in the morning not the usual 5am. The Summer was good though with favourable weather and an early harvest. If we compare, in 2016 it was principally the Petit Chablis and the Chablis that was hit – it was much more egalitarian in 2017! The grand crus didn’t have too much damage in 2016, but they definitely did in 2017 – so roughly a normal harvest vs 12 hl/hl in the grand crus. Globally, the volume looks ~20% down in 2017 – but take that as a rough figure as the officials statistics won’t be verified for about another 3 weeks.”
[EDIT]: The official statistics: “The spring frosts of the month of April were particularly devastating reducing significantly the 2017 harvest on all 4 appellations, the average yield being
42.75 hl/hectare against 28.80 hl/ha in 2016.”
Hervé on 2016:
“2016 is minus 55% in volume in Petit Chablis and Chablis, minus 35% in the 1er crus, and between 10-15% down in the better protected grand crus. It was a long harvest, 1 month between the first and last-picked grapes. There was a big difference in maturities because of the frost, a little porriture too. It definitely wasn’t a catastrophe in terms of quality, the summer was very good, and the harvest conditions were also good. There was some hydric stress and sunburn in August – I note all that happens in each year, and it’s certainly a longer list in 2016 than in most vintages! The Petit Chablis really benefited from the great finish of the summer – they really captured the energy of the vintage.”
As every year, really a range that transcends any prejudice that derives from the word ‘co-operative’ – Good, fine, great – they are all here.
The bio cuvée was blended with this year – not due to very low yields, rather due to human error! It happens to the best of us!
A nice twist of fresh green fruit. Round, a very fine minerality – melting, mouth-watering – green lime fruit, nothing austere. Top!
2016 Chablis Damme Nature
No wood on these bio wines.
Again, a little green lime – this reminds of 2014. Extra width and finer texture – this is a big step up – needs more time vs the PC but this is really fine!
2016 Chablis Le Pearle
A lovely nose – vibrant and mineral – great width. A little gas – more effervescent, faintly sherbet – bubbling with energy. More volume in the mouth. A wide wave of fine finishing flavour – super again!
2016 Chablis La Sereine
More old vines here.
A nose with a more overt depth – ripe fruit melded to minerality – tighter above. Less volume after the last wine, finer points of freshness – wide, a little citrus skin bitterness right at the end – fine.
A little tighter nose but with some lovely fresh complexity. Really an extra width combined with a little extra concentration – beautiful balance and a panorama in the mouth. Great!
2016 Chablis 1er Grand Cuvée
13 different 1ers – theres not always very much of this – the first time I tasted this cuvée I think.
Not the largest nose but there’s an attractive width of fruity minerality. Nice volume in the mouth, soft entry but layered, mouth-watering delicious wine. A kick of finishing flavour – super!
2016 Chablis 1er Beauroy
Grapes from all three parts of the vineyard.
Deeper, higher, not that wide but fine, almost reductive minerality. Really lots of volume, the flavour a little diffuse today and with a little rigour – this needs a little more time – but lots of energy and complexity – it will come together.
This will be bottled in another week.
Ooh – this is a beautifully attractive nose – faintly floral and enticing. Silky, concentrated, with a weight of super-mineral flavour. This is great stuff – Excellent! Love this wine! A reprise of flavour with a little salinity.
2016 Chablis 1er Vaillons
A big assembly of areas.
A nice nose-full of fine open aroma here – lovely. Volume – it fills the mouth well – quite mineral with a modest touch of austerity – another wine that will benefit from a little more time. Fine but will be even better.
2016 Chablis 1er Les Lys
Also a part of Vaillons – of-course – a tank sample.
A lovely width of aroma here – really very attractive. Round but fresh really a core here but melting and fresh – nothing dense – This will only get better and better as the core of the wine melts over that palate. I like the lime inflected finish very much.
Bottled. 80% Butteaux – ‘Here is more clay, here comes more volume, it’s about the roots not the sun!’
A vibrantly mineral nose – super. Ooh this has volume a sizzling, melting acid-led presence. Long, long with a twist of citrus skin in the finish. Love…
2016 Chablis 1er Vaucoupin
Very nice floral inflected mineral notes of transparent purity. Nice shape and weight, a little riper fruit but bubbling fresh, mouth-watering flavour. This is lovely!
2016 Chablis 1er Fourchaume
This bottled this week.
A lovely volume of aroma – freshness and transparency. Fine in the mouth – lots of volume but with fine intent, delivering and delivering again. For the moment it needs a little time to soften a little rigour, but there is everything here.
2016 Chablis 1er l’Homme Mort
Second of the Fourchaume trilogy… all oak elevage, barrels of 4-5 years.
The first wine marked by oak – relatively overt on the nose. Wide and beautifully mineral in the mouth – accented by oak of-course – wait two years before returning but this is really quite a wine!
2016 Chablis 1er Vaulorent
Ooh – now this is far from the biggest nose – but what a nose! Big, fresh, lots of mouth-watering flavour – this is super but today needs just a touch more focus to the flavour. But it’s a very tasty, agrume-style of flavour…
Like the last, this has a super width of fine aroma. Intense, melting flavour, a wide line of intense but not sharp flavour. This is great – buy! And such presence and persistence of finish!
A little more volume of aroma here – and what super aroma. This has a grand cru style about it – this is great wine with a little muscle and gorgeous reserves of flavour. Bravo!
2016 Chablis Bougros
A vibrant nose – accented with oak but modestly so. Really super in the mouth – I take back that the last was grand cru – this has clearly an extra level of energy, concentration and intensity – this is super – it’s young but… Super wine.
‘Only’ 0.5 hectares of vines.
Vibrant again – no visible oak this time – this is a great invitation to drink. Punch! Full, complex, exciting – there is everything here – great wine. Such persistence.
2016 Chablis Les Preuses
This prepared for bottling – the first gc without a bit of cloudy lees in the sample.
Really a pretty width of aroma here. Large-scaled, mouth-watering – growing intensity of flavour. Another with some citrus skin bitters in the finish – a dense and lasting finishing flavour. Super but this will need some time/patience!
I never used to understand the positioning of this wine in the tasting, but for the last two years now it’s been a sensational wine.
A nice aroma with an impression of oak spice but not directly oaky. Intense, wide, cool fruit, lots of energy. Starkly mineral in the finish. This is ‘wow’ wine for its line and rigour alone, but it’s for at least 5 years in the future.
And for the road:
2013 Chablis Dame Nature
The nose has a touch of socks – I assume it’s been open a couple of days. But in the mouth this is direct, delicious, fresh and with a depth of great flavour – I assume it’s a 2012 or a 2014 – slap, bang in the middle – a surprising 13!