Tasted in Chablis with Romain Bouchard, 25 January 2019.
Domaine de l’Enclos
1 rue du Puits
Tel: +33 3 86 48 29 17
Romain on 2018:
I talk with pleasure about 2018! The first normal, no, exceptional vintage here at l’Enclos – the first time I’ve seen full yields for many, many years. 2016 and 2017 didn’t really have normal seasons – of-course 2018 was hot and dry – but that’s summer – the winter was cold too – proper seasons! After two years with very low crops it’s the first harvest that was full, but there’s more emotion because it was such a surprise to have the combination of quality and quantity – everything clean, ripe, and with good balance. At the moment some juice is still fermenting – some are finished but not that many – we work only with native yeast so they take the time that they need – but I’m confident there is structure, body and fruit – I think we will have good things. It’s definitely much easier with the bank – they even came to look in the harvest – I’ve never seen that before! Our harvest started by hand on 6th Sept, on 14th with a machine – about 50% longer to harvest than normal – a combination of following the maturity and even the quantity – but I could have done with a few more pickers.
Romain on 2017:
“2017 for us was a very low volume vintage – 17 hl/ha after 15 hl/ha in 2016. Our placement of vines mainly to the west wasn’t so helpful – here there was the most frost – and it was a rarity, more a Winter frost because the cold was also up high, normally the frost collects at the bottom of the hills. Vaupelteigne and Beines are the major areas for our volume of villages, and that was some of the worst hit. In the end we harvested quite ripe – quite some concentration and pHs that were quite high – but with very healthy fruit, much more-so than in 2016 where there was some botrytis. All harvested between 12.7 and 13.8° – we don’t want to add sugar! It’s a special vintage because we had such low volumes ”
“2017 is also out last year for organic certification,” says Romain “In 2018 most of the vines will have AB certification.”
A ripe style for all the wines – yet with fine freshness. Some wines tend to a golden fruit, almost pineapple, others are completely classic.
All crus are harvested by hand and about 20% of the Chablis. Only use some sulfite after pressing and before bottling. No racking, wines on their lees during elevage – it’s the same whether tank or barrel – no batonnage for the barrels. Crus bottled in November, Chablis July and the PC in April. “Today is a root day with a descending moon so it’s not the best day for tasting – I try to look at these aspects for all the operations in the cellar” says Romain.
2017 Petit Chablis
The only technical cork wine – a very low production in 2017 – they still have a contract with Bichot to supply juice until 2021, but with a reducing volume each year – all of this went to Bichot in 2016, mainly because there was so little, but this year there are 2,000 bottles. A single 1.7 ha vineyard for this cuvée
A big nose – forward and embracing. Rather ripe fruit, tending towards pineapple, but lots of freshness and energy. Waves of fresh and attractive finishing flavour. Yum!
All tank elevage, one blend, one bottling. East facing grapes in La Chapelle de Vaupelteigne – looking towards Fourchaume, other vines in Beines that run up to Vau Ligneau – 5 hectares here. Plus some small parcels in Chablis and Fontenay.
Hmm – a nicely vibrant nose. Ripe fruit more agrume and citrus than the pineapple of the PC. Width, delicious energy. Long – Ooh that’s excellent!
2017 Chablis 1er Beauroy
The domaine’s 2nd Largest parcel with 2.40 ha of 40 year-old vines on the steepest part of the vineyard – in Côte de Savant looking towards the lake of Bienes, only 100m away. Here with aspersion so there’s some protection.
Ripe again – a modest touch of pineapple the rest more citrus. Full but fresh, not the softness of many Beauroy, ripe but fresh and saline. A super finishing weight and complexity. Super.
2017 Chablis 1er Vau de Vey
The domaine’s largest parcel with 2.80 ha, organic since 2007 – not far from Beauroy. This a cooler valley and also very steep. Planted in 1979 and usually the last harvested – 8 days after the Beauroy
Bright, fresh, clean – a pure nose – ripe fruit again. A little gas. Fresh, round, complex – lovely the combination of energy and complexity here – this is really excellent stuff and persistent too!
The domaine’s youngest vines, planted in the 1990s. In the west part high on the hillside, but plain south-facing looking towards Chablis. The soil is a little different here – the same for our neighbours Billaud-Simon and Samuel Billaud – white soil with silt. 0.25 ha have been pulled out due to court noué – and it was only 25 years old – so just about half a hectare is in production for now. This year only 3 barrels – ‘I find more volume is more secure, more safe.’
A vibrant nose, citrus skin here. Supple, deep, great concentration but always with freshness. Open-ended with an extra depth of flavour in the finish – relatively rare are the MdM that I recommend this year – but here is a great one!
2017 Chablis 1er Montmains
Older vines, planted by grandfather in 1971, 0.55 hectares, but still the healthiest vines of the domine. Montmains-Montmains 100m from Forêts. ‘We have a lot of hillside vines so this is a pleasure to work as its much flatter!’
A nice vibration of aroma here. Wide, fresh, very mineral a little of something green at the core but complex, fresh and saline – this needs a little time. But the finish is a great one lots of citrus skin bitters here…
2017 Chablis 1er La Fourchaume
0.85 ha in production but replanted half a hectare in 2018. ‘Fourchaume is large, but in Vaupelteigne the classic core of the aoc is La Fourchaume – call the ‘La’ a little local fetish!’ Three parcels, one from the 1950s, and two from the 1980s – there was an older part too, but its being replanted as there were virtually no grapes.
A nose of saline freshness and ripe fruit. Fuller, more concentrated, approaching some grand crus here. Wide, melting with great layered flavour here. Absolutely delicious finishing and wide and long. Potentially great wine here – just super!
The domaine has 3 grand crus:
2017 Chablis Vaudesir
Plain south-facing, the hottest part of Vaudesir, close to the centre of the valley from bottom to top – vines between those of Drouhin and Droin – an early harvesting place. Replanted by father in 1990-1991 – 0.57 ha.
A modest, quite guarded nose – but there is plenty of depth. Full, round, great texture. Nice acidity and touch of phenolic texture – a tannin. Lovely and mouth-wateringly long – the start is not exceptional today but the finish is really great – just give it some time…
2017 Chablis Blanchots
0.23 ha on the steeps, worked by hand and by horse ‘You can’t work with a tractor here, towards the bottom of the slope near the road and it’s very frost sensitive here – but the candles didn’t save it from the frost.’ Planted in 1982 by their father. ‘Only one barrel in 2017 so that’s hard to vinify – there’s no safety net – there could be 5 barrels here!’
Like most a ripe style of fruit – golden citrus, almost suggesting pineapple – guarded like the Vaudésir. A texture of tannin again – more width of flavour – more line of flavour, intensity. Fine.
2017 Chablis Les Clos
‘0.67 ha – with a nice view back to Chablis, with bottom-middle placing but not right at the bottom – on the eastern side and not very steep – planted at the beginning of the 1960s by grandfather. Usually very low yields, even in 2018 we didn’t get to the rendement – always millerandes so small grapes.’
A freshness, almost a perfume here – still a modest volume of aroma. Bright, ooh – energetic and with clarity – proper Les Clos – with a tannin again – pure and intense fruit – ripe citrus – insinuating and intense but always well-cushioned. Long, long, wine. Excellent even for Les Clos!