Tasted in Chablis with Frédéric Drouhin, 10 January 2019.
Domaine Drouhin Vaudon
Moulin de Vaudon
Chemin du Moulin
Tel: +33 3 80 24 68 88
Frédéric on 2018:
2018 was a great harvest – we still wait to see how the market is affected in terms of base prices and the wider sales markets – there should be more clarity in the following weeks, months. We always hope for logic!
Frédéric on 2017:
“In 2017 the volume was 30 to 50% lower, depending on the parcel – this was due to the frost. It’s a vintage that I like for it’s persistence and texture. It’s a vintage where we’ve returned more to the terroir and see less the effect of the vintage weather. It’s still a drink but they are so approachable and tasty. When you taste them you can’t imagine the hard times that were behind these wines in 2016 and 2017.
“I’m happy, I’m enthusiastic about the quality of the vintage.”
Frédéric on sealing his bottles:
We’re using some screw-caps for the markets that have requested them, and of-course there are tests ongoing with other potential solutions, including DIAM, which for half bottles I’m assured that they fit perfectly for that size for zero faults and also bottles that evolve faster. For now, for the great wines, I’m not yet ready to change – you can be sure we are working on so many details with our cork suppliers too! For me the question is how to keep the eclat of the wine and it’s aging potential.”
And on Drouhin-Vaudon in general:
“This domaine formed in 1968 and Chablis was much smaller in those days – there were trees growing in Les Clos! The best way to look at how important it is to us, is that the 40 hectares here in Chablis is half of Domaine Drouhin! And we’ve been biodynamic here for almost 30 years – it’s almost a generation of vines here that have never seen herbicides! We are still looking to reduce even further the amount of copper that we use.
“We are very lucky to have good size parcels in great places. All wines are fruity these days but where do we get that ‘extra?’ – It can only be from the place!
“We are not finished though – in 2013 we bought 1.6 hectares of Mont de Milieu which was particularly nice, because the rest of the wines were on the other bank. Still, we’ve had to pulled out a part of the Mont de Milieu which now has some ‘resting’ soil. Although we use a horse for ploughing in many parts – particularly the grand crus – our harvesting is a mix; manual for grand crus and partly for the 1ers, the rest is done by machine. We press the grapes here but we have everything that we need in Beaune so have no plans to extend further in Chablis – at least in terms of the winemaking.”
As every year the wines here are very fine – but in 2017 the finishes are absolutely outstanding.
Preuses was very small in 2017 so not shown. Chablis and Chablis 1er were bottled in July, the grand crus also around July – a normal bottling for here.
Domaine – from the Vallée de Vauvillains on the right bank, representing 23 hectares – a mix of horse and tractor work here in rotation so to allow treatments but not to compact the soil too much.
A very pretty depth of aroma – saline and faintly herbed as highlights. Full, lots of volume, plenty of concentration, here is plenty of weight, really a persistence of weight in the finish too, where it’s saline and has some finishing citrus elements.
Mainly Montmains with a small part of Forêts. Vines in the mid 20s year-old. A little more than 1.8 hectares. Risky for frost here at the bottom of the hill as there’s not much air circulation.
More fresh, mineral and citrus infused aroma – almost airy. Supple, depth – more open – there is concentration but with less overt weight than the Chablis – more open, complex – absolutely delicious and a burst of beautiful finishing flavour. Bravo!
Mostly from the lower levels of about 25 years old, 2.2 hectares.
A more immediate and spontaneous charm – a little more weight to the aromas – halfway between the last two wines. Ooh – fuller, more concentrated, supple, layered, a touch of phenolic texture, absolutely gorgeously detailed and complex in the finish. Wow here in the second part of the wine – bravo!
2017 Chablis 1er Mont de Milieu
Always some of the earliest vines to grow and harvest. Two parcels, one very old that was pulled out in 2017.
A fuller nose – more overtly yellow-citrus fruited. More volume, but also more clarity and full of tiny detail – a wine of tiny complexities. More depth of ripe fruit but without a weight of fruit. Orange zest finishing – another great finishing wine with a touch more of the phenolics in the finish.
2017 Chablis Vaudesir
Two parcels – one at the top with very old vines, vinified separately then assembled. 1.4 ha in total. Elevage uses 300 and 500 litre barrels – none new. The soil is light and mobile but it’s steep too – so we use a horse to plough.
Great width of aroma, more perfumed and more floral. Hmm, depth, extra texture, more perfumed fruit – a gras here but with no lack of fine balance. Extravagantly finishing – complex and delicious.
2017 Chablis Les Clos
Old vines no question about quality but they struggle on quantity so a small parcel has been pulled out for replanting. ‘Always a particular character – a sunny disposition – no surprise as direct south facing.’ Two parcels in the middle of the clos bt separated by other vines – 1.3 hectares.
Needs a little more coaxing from the glass but it also has a more a floral perfume than a particular weight of any fruit. Direct, a wine of energy, of drive, but great texture, vibrantly flavoured, layered in the finish – probably the most complete wine yet – but all have had their great parts!
2017 Chablis Bougros
‘They are my vines’ says Frédéric. ‘I’ve also a little Chambolle 1er though!’ This was touched by the frost a little in 2017. ‘They are steep vines, often with a strength and austerity at the start.’ 0.3 ha – usually not too many maladies in this area.
A family perfume to these grand crus – not the same, but similar. Full – rounder than Les Clos but with a similar freshness, a little more to wait for versus the ebullient Les Clos, but frankly great stuff again and I would drink it at lunchtime without qualms… Such fine persistence…