Tasted in Chablis with Richard Rottiers and Amandine Marchive, 16 January 2019. Guénolé Breteaudeau was on an excursion with some organic viticulteurs…
Domaine des Malandes
11 route d’Auxerre
Tel. +33 3 86 42 41 37
The team on 2018:
“2018 it’s a vintage that you can bottle early and we’ve been mandated to do that for a few entry wines as there’s nothing to sell after the low volumes of 2016/2017. It was quite a simple vintage – apart from the very wet start. We use some herbicides on a large part of the domaine and then followed a warm, dry year so we had clean grapes with no maladies – of-course like everyone else we didn’t think there was any juice until we pressed. Now we’re investing in material for a more general change to organic viticulture – it wouldn’t have been possible without such a good volume of 2018 to sell. Even sectors normally with court noue and low volumes we almost made the rendement. For us it was like nature said – okay, let’s do it!”
The team on 2017:
“2017 was quite hard. We were frosted for 14 days – it was a horror. We typically use candles in 4 parcels but it was necessary to make small fires as the candles were exhausted – with no mare stock – after only 3 nights. The pollution was terrible with all the candles et-cetera but we had to do it. We are part of a trail of ‘Bache de Gel’ – small tents around the vines – they are more ecological though are officially in the testing phase for the INAO – but two years of frost will easily pay for them! Despite the fact that we lit candles for 9 consecutive nights, we still only made 20hl/ha – to be honest we didn’t see that much difference between the candles sections and those with nothing. But we have to be happy with the quality of what remained – again very clean grapes, ripe, and with good acidity – we harvested early – with a warming climate, it’s the future! Mont de Milieu was the only non-frosted parcel for us and gave a very rare full harvest. But we lost a lot of Chablis in Prehy and where it was a nightmare from frost. Of-course we have 5 hectares of Chablis that are now protected by nets – but there was no hail there in 2017!”
One of the few domaines that confirm they will have lower prices in 2019 – but only because they now have some volume to sell. Some other domaines indicated that they would increase their 2018 prices.
A very fine and classic style to the wines in 2017 here. Lots to enjoy.
The grand crus were the last bottled here and they were done just before Christmas – the smaller 2017 wines started in May. Some of the entry wines are sold out – so none to taste. I actually tasted my first 2018s here, but only because they were already bottled or wer to be bottled in the next few days:
The largest cuvée of the domaine. 15 hectares, three parcels in Prehy, another parcel near Montmains and Côte de Lechets. Practically all left bank
Round, a slight cushioning, very attractive. Wide – lovely width of changing, mobile fresh flavour. Fine minerality with a little saline touch. Holds a great finish – excellent.
Right bank in the valley of Vaudesir. 60-year-old vines planted by grandfather – but due to their orientation classed as villages. Doing a lot of work here, ‘it’s almost like dentistry to save the vines from ESCA.’ Always with separate elevage, one part in barrel.
A more agrume fruited nose with a sweetness of oak below – but modestly so. Great texture, mouth-filling – ultra-delicious wine – oaked for sure but subtly done – there’s no lack of tension here. Bravo!
2017 Chablis 1er Côte de Léchet
Vines about 40 years old. All tank elevage. ‘It’s very stony here, we prefer to preserve that with stainless-steel – almost 1.4 hectares that are worked by horse, but a catastrophe here in 2017 – 12 hl/ha – practically nothing, but still 50% more than in 2016!’ Working part of this by horse in the last couple of years – it doesn’t like the steep part, but is happy on the flat part at the top. All tank – the only 1er like that.
A modest nose but pure and mineral. Hmm, that’s great in the mouth, round, depth of flavour, no loss of tension and energy – this is not too much even with the yield – it’s really excellent but good luck finding some!
Very steep vineyard near Beines – it doesn’t have the sun the whole day so is harvested a little later. A mix of hand and machine harvesting. A single block and the biggest 1er of Malandes with 40 year-old vines – ‘It was hard with the young vines as they were a bit too productive and we lost plenty to ESCA – now they have settled down and produce a proper rendement – steep here with 1.5 metre spacing – needs a tractor driver without fear!’ 40% oak but none new.
A super vibration of aroma. Supple, depth of flavour, extra depth of flavour, more complex, interesting – layered – so long-lasting too. Great!
2016 Chablis 1er Montmains
Old vines – planted by grandfather – a massale selection like the Tour du Roy, approaching 65 years old. 30% barrel. ‘Usually a serious wine when young – but not this year.’
Very open, floral perfumed – this is a super invitation. Lots of volume fine energy, complex, deliciously mineral and rounded with a little barrel – I’d wait for the oak to fade a little – there’s a small finishing fumé – but no question about the fine weight and deliciousness of this wine – it’s excellent.
2017 Chablis 1er Fourchaume
From the heart of the historic Fourchaume, parcels from father and grandfather – also about 65 years-old. Lots of millerandes so hand harvested. Also badly hit – there’s aspersion here, but it stopped in a part for 3 hours one day – everything froze. This and Les Clos are always the first harvested – 05 September, the same day as in 2018.
Fresh, there’s depth, less width and with a small accent of oak. Wode, intense, more calmly concentrated – maybe that’s the 25 hl/ha – a long, contemplative line of finishing flavour. A bottle to share with yourself!
A small parcel since 2011– 0.25 ha – swapped some Vaudesir for this – but not the ownership! They simply work each other’s parcels! Always the first parcel to be harvested. The only parcel that had no frost! It’s on high near the wood so doesn’t normally frost – though was decimated in 2016!
Good depth, plenty of mineral aspects – tighter in the width – like the last. Ooh – that’s great – extra dimensions of flavour, super freshness and energy – a seriously great wine. Bravo!
2016 Chablis Vaudesir
Hand harvested from the ‘coté lunaire, not solaire’, needs harvesting 3 or 4 days later. 100% in barrel for 10 months followed by ss for a total of 13-14 months of elevage. Directly opposite Le Moutonne, and now worked by horse.
A big, broad weight of acacia aroma with a touch of oak. Hmm, super texture and shape, melting with great flavour a shot of sucrosity and complexity – minerality too – but wait for the oak to fade – 2-3 years will hopefully be enough – there’s really a fine thing waiting for you. A really great finish!
2017 Chablis Les Clos
All by hand and with the same elevage as the Vaudesir. Also a low yield, using a grey mustard to dynamise the soil.
There’s oak here but also a fresh and floral extra too. Extra mouth-filling volume. More architectural, open, mineral, less about fruit than the Vaudesir, the first flavour has no oak at all, it just comes into view in the last flavours. Proper Clos, the finish showcasing a return of the floral perfume from the nose. Possibly great!
Did somebody mention 2018?:
2018 Côtes d’Auxerre
Bought grapes from friends in St.Bris – bottling in the next days.
That’s a very big and floral, almost minty nose. Mouth-filling, energetic – but pure and ripe at the same time – a completely different fruit profile that would have you questioning if it was chardonnay! It’s really more St.Bris than chardonnay.
2018 Petit Chablis
In bottle – the first of a number of bottlings.
Ooh there is volume here, minerality too – full, but fades in classic way – no hard edges, mouth-watering – but big, almost creamy. Impressive but I prefer the citrus of the 2017s
A deep nose, not so wide, mint leaf sauvignon. Wide, fresh, lovely minerality, not overtly sweet. Big finishing, a wall of finishing flavour – this is good!
And for the road:
2010 Chablis 1er Fourchaume
A little touch of leafy development, beeswax but ripe and rich citrus depth too. Really concentrated, round, very sweet, long-lasting with a very small touch of salinity. For drinking up perhaps but with enjoyment!