Simonnet-Febvre – 2016

Update 22.1.2018(16.1.2018)billn

Tasted with Jean-Philippe Archambaud in Chablis, 16 January 2018.

9 Avenue Oberwesel
89800 Chablis
Tel: +33 3 86 18 95 69

Jean-Philippe on 2017:
2017 was globally a good year, but complicated from the perspective of pricing – which makes export hard. The last big frost was 2003 so we have forgotten a little – there have been small pockets of frost since 2003 but nothing like 2016 and 2017 – and those were strong frosts, not -2 to -3° but -5 to 6°C – more a black frost that comes from above not mounting from the ground. You can really see that the other side of the vine – opposite the current of air was much less touched. We lost about one-third of the harvest to frost.

Jean-Philippe on 2016:
We produced about 40-45% less in this vintage so, as you can see, it’s also quite complicated for export as there is the combination of not much wine and higher prices.

The wines…

There are many wines here that I quite like – admire almost – but they are rarely the Chablis – and I have no idea why yet – next year I will try again – maybe I will bring along my own tasting glass to see if there is any improvement!

A DIAM ‘equivalent’ is used here – from Trescases.

I have found the Chablis wines from this producer, year-in, year-out, to be austere and really not my thing. It was for this reason that I chose not to taste their 2015s, but I decided to work harder – some people like these wines, so I have to find out why!

Perhaps my problems have stemmed from the mix of wine styles we traditionally taste before the Chablis wines that were (maybe?) affecting my palate? Time to test – this time I requested to taste the Chablis first and the rest after – it wasn’t a great start that the wines were far too cold – much cupping and swirling of the glass follows:

2016 Petit Chablis
One part already bottled but this is a tank sample from the rest. From Lignorelles and some Beines. 100% stainless steel and all the malo – aged on fine lees.
Tight but a small floral perfume. Very direct – too cold – plenty of acidity. Probably the most ‘classic’ PC I’ve tasted this year – ie it will need a little time – none of that ‘riper packaging’ of other domaines here!

2016 Chablis
Grapes from Courgis, Prehy, Lignorelles – multiple locations.
A tight nose – very little to see (smell!) Much easier in the mouth than the PC – still very direct but with just enough cushioning to make this more of thrill than a task. Really mineral and long. Good.

2016 Chablis 1er Vaillons
2 parcels in Epinottes, 1 in Sechers and one in Vaillons – this bottled in September – never any wood. Because there was a good harvest in 2015 they are only just starting to commercialise these 1ers – unlike the villages where there isn’t enough wine – all we be sold by February.
Tight, faintly saline – something vibrant trying to escape the glass. Wide, transparent, energetic a little saline here too. Really a width across the palate – hyper-classic – no fat – really direct wine.

2016 Chablis 1er Mont de Milieu
12 hl/ha! ‘Globally in the 1ers it was hard in 2016!’
Aromatically very tight. In the mouth this is wide, intense and very fresh – hard to reconcile with all the other tastings as the wines here are so minerally direct with the padding of fruit. A second bottle has a more open nose, almost a little vibrant. A little more to see here – more intensity of flavour.

2016 Chablis 1er Fourchaume
Some from Vaulorent and the rest from Fourchaume
Another very tight nose. The wines are very tight – they are cold – but still hard to say much. Wide, very fresh but with a good cushion to the texture – one of the few! Plenty of complexity and mid-palate interest – this is very good! Fine finishing too.

2016 Chablis 1er Montée de Tonnèrre
In the Côte de Bréchains – 85% – the rest MdT.
Here is a tight but pretty nose that’s trying to get out – a little reductive vibration of energy here. Almost sour acidity – direct acid-led – this smells good but I don’t understand the flavour – certainly not in the context of the vintage. Really quite a sherbet finish without the sweetness – but long and wide all the same, actually the finish is super. I tried this again after all the other wines: I re-taste – it can’t be that bad can it? Deep aromas of reductive minerality. Yep still sour, I still like the finish but not the start – or the middle…

2016 Chablis Blanchots
These GC wines are now samples – pre bottling – probably to bottle in February. Elevage was 50% in wood – none new.
A very tight nose. Lots of volume in the mouth – all the spaces are filled – lots of complexity – fresh, a great finishing line of flavour. I like the line but there’s not enough definition to say more today.

2016 Chablis Preuses
This has only tank elevage. The steepest part pf Preuses.
Very tight again – but there is a depth of very attractive fresh and yellow fruit – and it’s getting better and better. Ooh – this is wide, intense with a depth of fine flavour – powerful but balanced – by far the best wine so far – indeed a very fine wine. How did that happen?

2016 Chablis Les Clos
This with 60% elevage in tank. Two parcels – one from the bottom and the other mid-slope.
Deeper interesting, complex, faintly oaked nose. Good volume, mineral style – actually the combination of mineral and muscle is very Les Clos – accented in this case with some oak notes but they are not too intrusive – wait 12-18 months and they should be gone.

Three reds but all 2015:

2015 Côteaux Bourguignons César
‘2015 was a great vintage so I decided to make this cuvée’ – 20 months in barrel – 2 and 3 year old barrels. Now bottled. Three weeks of cuvaison but no pigeage. ‘Needs to be a warm and ripe vintage for 100% césar’
The nose is just a little tight – plenty of oak – a faintly resinous width but as I’m struggling for a descriptor, that’s not necessarily a negative descriptor for you! A good volume in the mouth, a modest rasp of tannin – the wood is in the ascendant today, but this has good shape in the mouth. Long, oaked but nothing much more to see – positive or negative…

2015 Irancy
In this vintage it’s 100% pinot hence the separation into 2 cuvées. 70% tank elevage also with 20 months of elevage. 5 different climats from Irancy.
There’s a hint of oak here – but really a nice and open nose. Really mouth-filling, fresh, a base of earthy but interesting flavour – wide and with lots of interesting complexity. Quite saline finishing. Very good.

2015 Irancy Paradis
All pinot, all barrel elevage.
This is oaked again – coconut oaked – there is dark-red fruit behind but I have mainly the coconut. The last drops in the glass are a beautiful acid cherry – so good! Mouth-filling, again a more transparent red fruit, a little too much oak once more, but really an interesting – indeed delicious finale – very tasty here.

The following are not yet bottled:

2016 IGP Côteaux l’Auxois Esprit de Lyre – Auxerrois
80% lost in this area in 2016…
A little more pungent depth of aroma. Supple, round, tasty wine, a little saline, a good line of finishing flavour. Very tasty wine!

2016 IGP Côteaux l’Auxois Savour de Lyre – Pinot Gris
Fresher, more mineral, more interesting – this is a fine invitation to drink. Nice volume in the mouth, mouth-watering a little mineral and with lovely complexity. I like this very much – super wine!

2016 IGP Côteaux l’Auxois Quintessence de Lyre – Chardonnay
A little more open than most of the Chablis wines – a vibration of minerality, faintly reductive and toasted – not directly delicious but interesting. Wide, a good combination of density and freshness – lots of finishing complexity. Lots to commend but the previous wine is much tastier.

Crémant de Bourgogne Brut Cuvée S2013
100% 2013 vintage. 65% pinot, 35% chardonnay – grapes from around Chitry, though in 2013 some Epineul too – 4 years sur lattes and 6g of dosage.
A hint of toast but also sweet and interesting aromas. An acid peach! Really very fruity but with a fine acid – I don’t see this as a particularly sweet wine – but a good wine!

2013 Crémant de Bourgogne Dosage Zero Blanc de Blanc
Wide, interesting, quince fruit nose. Direct but the fruit holds it well, fresh – as it should be – long. I like.

2016 Bourgogne Vézaley
Tank sample
Fresh, open, quite a mineral nose. Nice volume, good complexity, mineral wine that’s very tasty and accented with a little salinity.

Agree? Disagree? Anything you'd like to add?

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