Tasted in Chablis with Hervé Tucki, 22 January 2019.
8, Boulevard Pasteur
Tel: +33 3 86 42 89 89
These are interesting times for La Chablisienne, changing times. Each year this bulwark, this banker of the region is losing more and more members – it’s now a quickly shrinking co-operative – minus 200 hectares in 2018, and another 250 will go in 2019. This is great for dynamism and diversity, for new names, new domaines, but as we see from this tasting, it doesn’t necessarily follow than any better wines will be made!
Hervé on 2018:
“One of the most precocious vintages of this century! A wet winter and a warm early Spring – the March average temperature was more than 2°C above the average – the last day of March registering 24°C! One of the hottest summers on record. The vintage was generous with a maturity and balance that resembles the well-reputed 1982 wines – but, of-course, with more yield.”
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 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.”
Verbatim from last year: “As every year, really a range that transcends any prejudice that derives from the word ‘co-operative’ – Good, fine, great – they are all here.”
Actually there are a couple of wines that are less good this year – wines that would be better avoided; the Petit Chablis ‘Damme Nature’ tasted in my blind round-up of Petit Chablis – to add insult to injury, our control bottle in this tasting was corked! – And the Chablis Preuses – such a shame but essentially, problematic.
2017 Petit Chablis Pa Si Petit
A width of freshness – slightly lime-fruited, faintly reductive. Plenty of volume, layered – good volume in the mouth too, saline. Long – tasty wine.
The 5 different Chablis cuvées of the this producer:
2017 Chablis Le Finage
Multiple origins, of-course with a tank elevage.
An attractive and very faint reduction here – a nice nose. Round, a touch of softness but there is depth salinity and a proper Chablis with a nice sweetness to the fruit. Tasty wine with an attractive line through the core.
2017 Chablis Dame Nature
Organic vines, all tank elevage.
Another nose with a faint and attractive reduction – wider in this case. Full, more complex, more energetic, less sweet – but enough – a wave of finishing flavour – attractively saline.
2017 Chablis La Pierrelée
Not yet bottled, some parts with a little elevage in wood.
A deeper nose, vibrant, riper, perhaps faintly reductive – impressive! There’s plenty of gas. More open – volume but not richness – still fine texture. A more architectural wine. Fine finishing – great potential.
2017 Chablis La Sereine
Plenty of old-vines in this too.
Hmm – a more compact nose but with a modest and attractive mineral base. Fresh, open, more density and a little more depth of texture vs the previous. Lovely over the palate – it could be more chiseled – that will come with more elevage says Hervé – but not much more tasty – really excellent stuff!
Also not yet bottled, alcoholic and malolactic fermentations in tank but some part with a later elevage in barrel.
Also a fine, nearly vibrant fruit at the base. Wider, more intense – proper agrume fruit, only modestly with sucrosity – great intensity and tension – bravo.
13 different 1ers – theres not always very much of this – the second time I tasted this cuvée I think. Alcoholic an malo here part tank and part barrel before re-assembled. Not yet bottled.
Hmm, a great nose, a little air liberating some extra perfume and plenty of minerality. Hmm – multi-complex – super delicious, mineral, energetic – enigmatic – directly a bravo wine!
2017 Chablis 1er Beauroy
Beauroy and a little Troesmes
Ooh – that’s a fine nose again. Less sweet, less bubblingly energetic, but good line and minerality – almost a little rigour. But the finish is excellent. Not your ‘average’ slightly soft and ripe Beauroy here!
Hmm – a really great and vibrant mix of agrume and mineral – perfect! Wide, melting, saline. Eventually the agrume fruit comes to the fore – more grapefruit with it’s slight bitterness. Really a great 1er and very long!
2017 Chablis 1er Vaillons
Recently bottled. A diversity of sub-crus in here.
Tiny touches of citrus in a saline width. Mouth-filling energy, layers of flavour – great purity and intensity. An excellent Vaillons – great finishing width too!
Also a part of Vaillons – of-course – a tank sample.
Vibrant and pure nose – a great nose! More direct, fine and growing width – open wine, with very fine detail, plenty of salinity. Another really great 2017.
2017 Chablis 1er Montmains
Bottled. 80% Butteaux, a little Forêts and a little Montmains too! ‘Here is more clay, here comes more volume, it’s about the roots not the sun!’
Also a little vibration of mineral, but with more weight and even some depth of fruit – slowly augmenting with a floral component. Much rounder, mineral, ripe but very citrus fruit – a wine of depth, saline and complex in the depth – citrus skin in that depth too. Excellent wine!
‘Crossing the river:’
2017 Chablis 1er Fourchaume
This is bottled – in part – they have a lot! Much Fourchaume in this, but plenty of sub-climats too
Higher toned more lemon fruit, lovely freshness, faintly perfumed. Direct, intense, citrus, a touch of phenolic texture, juicy finishing with a touch of orange skin.
2017 Chablis 1er l’Homme Mort
40 hectolitres – a small cuvée here. All barrel elevage
This the first with a touch of oak on the nose – but lots of freshness. Hmm – big, intense, lemon-lime-skins, depth, the oak is more discrete in the flavour than the nose. Great potential, excellent wine.
2017 Chablis 1er Vaulorent
Not bottled yet
A lovely combination of both depth and freshness for this nose. Fuller, really very similar in style to previous wines with freshness and energy, less sweet than the nose suggests, citrus skin, and plenty of salinity. More agrume fruit style today.
Ooh – the glass needs a little working but this has such a great and vibrant nose – yes! Lots of volume in the mouth, complex, energy – almost as if there are bubbles – but there are none. Extra finishing weight in this finish – almost with some involvement from orange fruit too. Great wine – a big step up from the last.
2017 Chablis 1er Mont de Milieu
Hmm – a more subtle nose – highly attractive with a faint spice but majoring on the citrus. Round, some richness, depth of flavour – extra dimensions – a nod to the grand crus here. Layered and super depth of flavour.
2017 Chablis Bougros
Fresh, a touch of barrel but also perfume. Less overtly energetic, but with depth and a certain complexity of flavour. A big finishing wave of proper finishing flavour – real grand cru here.
2017 Chablis Blanchots
More volume and more complexity in this aromatic – really fine – a very faint anecdote of oak. Fuller but also fresher – really more overt grand cru here, yellow fruit, lots of complexity and freshness plus a certain barrel element.
‘Only’ 0.5 hectares of vines.
A nose with less volume but more attack, more direction – yes! Much more energy though a little gas here too. Slowly becoming more calm in the mouth – but only slowly. Full, extra depth of texture. Concentrated and balanced – really top – super wine.
2017 Chablis Les Preuses
Fresh, very deep, some vibration of minerality in that depth – a nose with plenty of interest! I love the shape and the depth, but there’s a strong green component here, and it marks and spoils the wine to an extent – that’s a shame.
The smallest harvest on record at the Chablisienne – 12 hl/ha from the frost.
Ooh that’s a very perfumed nose – I’m ready for this. Round, really great texture, equally great depth of flavour – concentration. But freshness, vivacity and an always changing shade to the flavour. Not the biggest or fullest of grand crus but a complete wine – bravo!