Tasted blind, at the BIVB office in Chablis, 08 January 2019.
I didn’t do this tasting for the 2016 vintage because most of Petit Chablis had been badly frosted. That said, so was a lot of 2017 too!
I have anyway renewed my acquaintance with this AOP because I find it a great source of new names, of new producers whose wines I haven’t already explored. I do this because I think it’s much harder to make a great Petit Chablis than it is to make a great grand cru! It’s a system that works for me, and from the wines below, I have a bunch of new labels whose makers I hope to meet when I make another trip to Chablis that I’m planning for March this year.
Sixteen truly great Petit Chablis – that’s a lot in percentage terms – 30% – but this is a vintage that is open and accessible yet also with good concentration – rare is the mineral rigour of most vintages – indeed of most Petit Chablis in most vintages!
There are plenty of new names in the list, below, too – which is exactly why I do blind tastings such as this!
An inviting sweetness and width to the aroma. Decent size in the mouth, shimmering with a good mix of flavour and energy on the palate – lingering in the same fashion. This is delicious.
More freshness, less sweetness – more drive to this nose. Attack – fresh, energetic – a very different style – more lime-citrus – more growing intensity. This is a wine that demands a little attention – rightly so, it’s excellent.
Bardet et Fils – Ferme de la Borde
A little less width of aroma, but there is depth to compensate. Some CO2 here – a less obviously ripe style but with more salinity and still an engaging sucrosity in the finish – excellent again – but once-more, very different!
La Chablisienne, Pas Si Petit
A deeper nose – almost suggestion something reductive – but with no overt reductive notes. Some CO2 again, also less overtly ripe as the first few wines – a touch of ‘sours’ in the finish – but a finish of power and length. Fine enough today, but certainly less delicious than those that have come before.
La Chablisienne, Dame Nature
Depth of aroma, faintly lactic to start, with some green herb, almost pyrazine notes. Fresh, direct, a little asparagus which reminds me of a 2011! Waves of fresh acidity – but I need that to take the taste away…
Another deep and almost herby nose. Lots of fresh volume in the mouth, another with a touch of asparagus and an insinuating acidity. Narrow in the finish – austere for sure here. Maybe a little patience?
Charlène et Laurent Pinson
Manual harvesting here.
More depth, more airy and with a touch of aromatic sweetness. Some CO2 again, and wide and mineral perspective. A modest touch of austerity – but the small finishing waves of flavour are a comfort. I’d give this a little patience, but it looks good!
Jolly et Fils
A narrower nose but with a fine line of attractive aroma, part floral part citrus. Some CO2 again, plenty of acidity – but a width, not a penetrating prickle. The finish could have more sweetness, but it is persistent. Quite good.
A modest volume of aroma but an attractive aroma! A wine that grows over the palate, mineral, melting – not quite the energy of many here but it doesn’t need it – open, tasty, nice texture – lacking an ounce of concentration, but delicious and perfumed in the mouth all the same!
Another relatively modest volume of aroma but an attractive aroma – quite floral perfumed! Some CO2. Plenty of volume, layers of flavour, great texture, becoming more mineral and intense – ooh – easily the best wine so far – bravo!
A much tighter nose with a little green herb. Mouth-filling, complex and energetic – quite a ripeness of citrus here – intense and long – ooh – this is excellent – it needs the aroma to unfurl for more – but excellent!
Some aromatic depth and quite reasonable width too, faintly herbed, almost pyrazine. The herb/pyrazine is present on the palate too – which is a shame as the texture and concentration are fine – long finishing – actually a lovely finish. A curate’s egg!
A nose of depth and some more limited width – slowly adding higher tones. Full, concentrated, slowly melting with flavour – there is richness here – such a big wine, with proper saline finishing complexity – save for the lack of a little extra energy this is only excellent – but it is really excellent!
L&C Poitout, Sycamore
A width of aroma – green fruit, almost pepper. Some CO2, sleek, direct and fresh. Lip-smacking and tasty with just the right amount of austerity – not quite ready, but quite lovely. Excellent wine!
A bigger aroma of freshness and flowers. Very fresh, mineral and direct. Not quite the extra cushioned sweetness to start with but the mineral rigour is far from hard – give it 6 months – it’s a lovely though, if today a less accommodating example – call it more classic!
A nice nose of slightly mineral depth. Sleek, initially a little herb before a more general grapefruit agrume flavour. Another lip-smacking finish with a certain lingering concentration. Very good!
Camille et Laurent Schaller
A more delicate but complex and deep nose – nice. Lots of mouth-filling volume, a little mineral rigour, and sustaining a large finish, faintly saline at the edges. A young wine but potentially excellent.
A deep and considered nose – some ripe lime ‘sweetness’ which slowly becomes higher toned – hmm – this is getting interesting! Too much CO2 today. But even as the gas fades there remains energy, mouth-filling width of flavour, lime-style again, but nothing austere – great! Intense finishing too – love this – bravo!
Garnier Père et Fils
Good aromatic width – it’s an invitation. Some CO2 but much less than the last wine, complex, composed a little biscuity, this has a lovely overall flavour – behind the last but tasty and long – an easy yet still delicious thing with fine length.
Château de Chemilly
A more compact nose but lacking for no freshness. Volume, energy, fine texture – a wine of line but also insinuating intensity – easy and delicious with a proper finishing complexity – excellent.
Pascal Bouchard, Blancs Cailloux
A bigger, open, and freshly complex nose. Quite a lot of CO2, reasonable fresh volume in the mouth. Slowly mouth-watering in the finish. Very tasty – more lime-citrus flavoured wine.
Also a lime-citrus nose – with a nice airy presentation. Fresh, with attack, but the structure quickly starts melting over the palate – great texture, lovely flavour, slightly saline. Hmm – one of the best of these! Bravo.
A more vibrant and more perfumed nose. Some CO2, giving way to a very fresh mouth-filling volume. Slowly relaxing over the palate. Layers of finishing flavour – ooh this is good! Less ready than the last but possibly just as good – bravo!
Vibrant lime fruit – slowly becoming more composed in the glass. Some CO2 again, but good energy, lots of cushioned lime, a lovely fresh concentration. We seem to be in the sweet spot of this tasting. All you could wish from a Petit Chablis – bravo!
A modest nose but with decent volume and some complexity. Mouth-filling, beautifully textured, proper concentration. There is finishing complexity too – even some florals in the finish. A wine that would certainly benefit from a little more energy, but is deliciously excellent all the same…
A nose that’s tighter still – but below is some beautifully pure lime fruit. A subtle CO2 that quickly departs. Open, muscular but with sufficient cushion that I wouldn’t say ‘rigour’ – mineral, deliciously lime-inflected flavour – and so long! Bravo!
A lovely saline-inflected width of aroma. Good energy, fine texture and a growing intense line of ripe citrus in the middle – a line that pulls you into the finish – but not too quickly! Really an excellent finish – Bravo!
A more lime-citrus nose – not the biggest – but attractive! Lots of volume, and good complex energy – plenty of salinity here. Another wine that is open, complex and fresh – as good as you could wish for – bravo – finishing more perfumed!
A more concentrated, weighty nose but not heavy. Big, bright, mouth-filling. Plenty of growing complexity, salinity with citrus-highlights – the two slowly exchanging prominence. A wine that seems to get better and better – starting good, becoming very good, then excellent – the finish is bravo – take your pick – a super wine!
A deeper nose – mineral reflections – still with freshness. Stricter, but with concentration, more lime-style, plenty of proper Chablis rigour. The finish is a dream – rather like the last a wine that evolves in the mouth from good to great – bravo!
Plenty of aromatic volume, depth and salinity – it could be more appealing though – perhaps a little sulfur here! Good in the mouth – volume and concentration – plenty of wine, tasty, relaxed flavour. Delicious and mineral in the finish – it’s a great finish!
Céline et Frédéric Gueguen
A stricter nose, narrower but not less forward – very citrus. Direct yet growing in width too – fresh, mineral, complex and great finishing again. Simply an excellent wine – lovely!
A nose of volume – fresh citrus – very pure and transparent. Volume and freshness. Ooh this is so good! Intensity and so much melting depth of flavour – this is great Petit Chablis!
Domaine du Chardonnay
A deeper register to the aromas – some riper citrus below. Volume and intensity – more strict, a little more rigour but also salinity here. To wait for but the finish is complex – good stuff but it needs a little time.
Hmm – a little floral extra to the fresh aromatic complexity. A little reductive style to the minerality. Depth probably because of that reductive impression – almost a touch of phenolics to the texture. Not showing its best but with a lovely finish.
A narrower but fine-textured nose. The palate has decent volume, decent energy and a decent complexity – decent wine then! Quite mineral in the mid and finishing flavours – the finish is the best, citrus-inflected part.
Millet Père et Fils
A width of complex, quite fresh aroma – nice. The palate is quite direct and citrus-driven. Good layering of finishing flavour too. There’s some early rigour to this wine, but it has the potential to be excellent – it’s just a little tight today…
A width, some sulfitic elements here. Nice energy and shape in the mouth with a fine, slightly grained – almost tannic texture. Complex, great energy – ooh this is so good – I’d have like a better aromatic performance but the rest of this wine is top – give it a little time – bravo!
Sebastien Dampt, Terroir de Milly
A bottle that’s a bit heavier than necessary for PC! But the nose is fresh, mineral and attractively complex. Big in the mouth – some CO2 – saline edged, lots of citrus energy. Also a little phenolic grain. Beautiful finishing energy. Excellent – perhaps also great!
I could say the same about this bottle! A deeper, more mineral-driven nose. Also some CO2, but less. Round, complex, saline, mineral – a mélange – perhaps a ménage! Long, more mineral – a less delicious mineral finish today but a very excellent wine.
The lonesome screw-cap.
Ooh – a faint touch of reduction, but also plenty of salinity. Big in the mouth – lots of energy, sucrosity in the energy, complexity too. A great finish. Very fine, certainly excellent.
Ooh – that’s nice! A very open, mineral but also sweetly complex nose – yes! Big, layers – no, waves of flavour! Minerality to the fore but without austerity but certainly with concentration. This is a big and very successful, great textured wine – bravo!
Another heavy bottle.
A little ‘dirty’ reduction on this nose – sulfitic – but it brings the salinity to the fore. Mineral, driven, direct wine – a certain austerity and a little of the aromatic sulfitic character to the flavour. There is much here that is excellent though – the finish in particular – but not the ensemble today…
Dampt Dupas, Elégance
Fresh, wide, saline – citrus below – very nice! Mouth-filling, also round in the mouth, lots of flavour, great balance – it’s an ensemble, harder to pick out the individuals here. But the finish is really quite super – Excellent wine!
A differently shaped bottle. Shame it’s corked. Bottle 2:
Fresh – open, a suggestion of the mineral and the saline. Big in the mouth – weight but with energy – layers of really great finishing flavour. Bravo – a great glass of wine!
Looking at the technical sheet for this wine after the tasting – 80 year-old vines – you probably won’t find older in the PC AOP.
Ooh – that’s very floral – very perfumed. Round, fresh, good weight, slightly saline-inflected flavour. Mineral, melting, delicious finishing. This is a beautiful, elegantly styled ‘bravo’ Petit Chablis.
Alain et Cyril Gautheron
A tighter, biscuity depth, but there’s still width to this nose – salinity too. Plenty of CO2 an almost lychee fruit in the citrus – and with a super intensity of fruit flavour through the middle – different but excellent.
Ooh that’s a heavy bottle.
Very different, certainly some saline aromas but much tighter. Far from tight on the palate – fresh, great concentration, beautifully mouth-watering agrume fruit. This is really excellent – even better if it had some aroma. Excellent wine.
Another tighter – narrower – nose, but here with quite some faintly reductive depth. The flavour is a little reductive too – but with a lovely and open citrus complexity behind – shame – this seems really great in terms of clarity and texture – but the reduction perturbs everything. The finish is top – potentially great – but certainly not today…
After the last, this is a big, aromatic hug to the senses – enough freshness and a certain perfume – simply a lovely nose. There is volume but the flavours are very mineral – no austerity though – melting, layered, almost never-ending in the finish – clearly a great Petit Chablis!
Hmm – lovely – wide, mineral, soapy fresh linen – lovely. Lots of volume on the palate – saline, mineral, not as accommodating as the nose but not with too much rigour. The finish is weighty, wide and lingering with some saline aspects again. Excellent, maybe even bravo – for now I’ll stay with the former.
Wine number 52 – I’m so happy they included it!
A modest nose, quite a strictly mineral nose – but still a very inviting nose – big is not everything! Some CO2, but also volume and interesting citrus and saline complexity within that volume of flavour. A little touch of herb in the middle then a big wave of finishing flavour that you can ride into the sunset. Bravo!