Tasted in Chablis with Matthieu Mangenot, 12 January 2018.
45 Rue Auxerroise
Tel: +33 3 86 42 11 13
Matthieu on 2017:
“I’d describe 2017 as agreeable. Of-course we suffered an extended, almost 10 nights, of frost which brought its own pressures. But the flowering went well and quite quickly but there was still some coulure. We made twice as much wine as we did in 2016 – though still about 30% less than a regular vintage. But it was, largely, a relatively easy vintage, indeed calm in comparison to 2016 – because we weren’t fighting so we could look at doing new things – we finished our treatments quite early for instance. The wines appear to show plenty of concentration but with acidity too – it wasn’t too hot – but we had very good ripeness and almost zero to triage. The first tastings are very gourmand. It was still an atypical year because we usually start our harvest in the grand crus but in 2017, because they were perturbed by the frost, they weren’t ready until our second week of harvest – we haven’t seen that before.”
Matthieu on 2016…
“It was historically one of the warmest winters since 1900. Of course there was the famous frost – actually there were 4 frosts in 2016 but the morning of the 27th was the one that everyone will remember. Moutonne was protected, and generally the grand crus lost very little, no more than 15% vs a good volume vintage. The other extreme was the sector direction of Viviers, Beru and the the two hillsides of Chichée – all on villages-rated parcels. It actually rained on the evening of the 26th in Chablis but with the extra altitude at Viviers it was actually snowing before the frost – here 98% was lost! This is the area that is normally last to be harvested and I did try, but at 2 hl/ha it wasn’t worth it. Bougros has the water spray and it was virtually not impacted – the best of all the grand crus here.
“Despite two episodes of hail in 2016, fortunately the domaine’s vines were not touched. Mildew caused daily inspections but we lost not much more than 2-3 hl/ha with that. And then there was some sun-burn in August which complicated matters. We didn’t de-leaf by rote which helped against the sun-burn and also conserved some of the malic acidity. Overall, we lost about 70% – mainly in our villages Chablis – there was so little to harvest in 2016 that whilst we normally have a 12-13 day harvest, we finished in just 4.5.”
Such is the direct, no compromise, approach of the wines from this domaine that certain vintages can offer quite a challenge to the palate when young – but this approach coupled to the modest generosity of the vintage has produced a fabulous range in 2016 – really a great result.
All the bottles will be sealed with DIAM, and it was a little problematic for the Lys today, Matthieu notes “There can be issues when first opening DIAM-sealed wines – they are a little too hermetic for the premiers when opened young – though they are great for grand crus that are waiting 10+ years for opening…”
100% tank fermented, no oak. This cuvée usually represents about 30 hectares worth of vines from all around Chablis over both banks. We taste but this wine is already sold out at the domaine.
Ooh – fresh, floral saline – pure – I can’t ask for more. In the mouth a little touch of richness but wide, gorgeous, mouth-watering flavour. Super-pure, transparent – great villages. Long, long too.
2016 Chablis 1er Les Lys
2 left-bank hectares worth. A more N-E exposure, almost unique for the 1ers, with less stones and more clay here so more acidity and florality. 100% in tank, no oak.
A much deeper nose, a toasty reduction. Wide, super silky, a little more intense, much more saline – wow – is there really salt in this! Super impressive wine… I left some in glass for 30 minutes, but the reduction didn’t improve.
This 2.3 hectare parcel is in the sub climate of Vaillons; Long-Depaquit was originally the only producer, but a couple more are declaring under this label now, rather than using the Vaillons label. ‘If you don’t take care here this can really go over-ripe very quickly – so the date of picking is crucial – the parcel is protected by the forest.’ Again only tank elevage ‘to keep the purity of this place.’
Ooh – this is a great nose – a little floral again, round but fresh – a little delicate peach. Fuller, fabulously transparent, layered wine – this is great. A perfect touch of finishing salinity – long. Top!
A large cuvée of 4.3 hectares, from Les Epinottes (90%) plus a little Lys and Beugnons. Elevage with 10% 2-5 year-old oak, essentially from Vosges. Then blended back into tank.
Ooh – deep, vibrant minerality – the first like this – such an invitation. Cool fruit, sleek and mineral – the feeling is like there are a couple of ice-cubes in my mouth. A vibrant wine – that will be even better in a couple of years at which time it will be as good as the nose. Potentially great Vaillons in 2016
The next two wines have 15-20% of barrel elevage:
2016 Chablis 1er Vaucopins
5 hectares from Chichée, the exposure resembles Vaudesir. ‘A pivot wine between the 1er and grand crus here.’ Just a little more oak here – 15%.
A nose that’s unfortunately a little in the direction of the Lys but still more open. Ooh, more richness of fruit, but almost a ripe lime style – very citrus and mouth-watering. Composed mouth-watering, complex wine – really super!
2016 Chablis 1er Montée de Tonnèrre
Less depth of aroma but a fresh salinity – really a classic oyster/seashore wine. Ouch! So direct, so mineral, a touch of the saline, citric mouth-watering. This is as direct and frank as it comes in Chablis, with some austerity – so have patience – well done for that!
The gcs will be bottled next week – these are filtered samples from tank:
2016 Chablis Les Blanchots
1.5 hectares from the end of the valley, almost always harvested 1 week after Les Clos.
This is not the nose with the most volume, but here is easily the most complexity so far. A touch of gas but really a combination of richness and fresh volume – this is really super – the merest accent of salinity but engaging complex fruit flavour mixed with mouth-watering mineral structure. Delicious in the finish too.
2016 Chablis Les Clos
1.5 hectares worth from 2 plots.
The aromas need a little coaxing from the glass – but what comes is soft, white fruit and flowers a surprising elegance for Clos. Much more transparent and mineral – clearly more mouth-filling fresh flavour – big wine! A waterfall of finishing flavour here. I love this!
2016 Chablis Les Vaudésirs
2.6 hectares of 45 year-old vines. Always harvested at the same time as the Moutonne.
This nose harks back to the vibrant minerality of the Vaillons – an agrume impression – but here there is much more! A little more serious concentration – a little more compact vs the Clos. Touched by salinity and a muscular structure. This is a wine that will take time to open and relax – it’s just so concentrated.
2016 Chablis La Moutonne
2.3 hectares that sits 95% in Vaudésir and 5% in Preuses.
There is a little reductive minerality here too but more overt are the higher, fresher aromas. Mineral, fresh – concentrated but more accessible that the Vaudesir. Extra volume of finishing flavour – the wine really expands here. Super but clearly to wait for!
The only wine with 100% oak elevage – a small 4 barrel cuvee 4-5 year-old barrels.
Vibrant, super-attractive, a hint of oak on the nose. Ooh – volume, density of flavour, this is both concentrated and dense – oh – this is going to take some time – a monument but with everything except openness today – return after 5 years! Just a little touch finishing rigour from the barrels.