Nathalie & Gilles Fèvre – 2017

Update 20.6.2019(23.1.2019)billn

Tasted in Fontenay-près-Chablis with Julie and Nathalie Fèvre, 23 January 2019.

Domaine Nathalie et Gilles Fèvre
Route de Chablis
89800 Fontenay-près-Chablis
Tel: +33 3 86 18 94 47

Nathalie and Julie on 2018:
Historic! No problems with fermentations – just one that stopped – now all are done and that’s relatively rare for us to have everything finished in December. We had the chance to start harvesting with good timing – but not too late – we could have gone longer but 14.5-14.7° would not have fit with the style of the maison. We are happy quantitatively and it really was a big surprise; we started harvesting Monday 4th September and we toured the vines on the Sunday – the day before – and there was little in the way of morale because even at this stage we didn’t have a real idea of the volume. Clearly some vines, the young vines suffered a little with their more superficial roots. But in the end the vintage resembles 1990 for both quantity and quality – I think – at Chablisienne that year 80 hl with 13° was quite common. But here we had no problem to find place for the juice – because we were already empty.

Nathalie and Julie on 2017:
Only one thing hurts and that’s the volume 2016+2017 together total less than one normal vintage. We had a long period of spring cold – 12-13 times we heated in the vines and we thought we’d done quite well – they looked good but maybe because of the cold that followed when the vines grew, there were almost no grapes, bizarrely more-so in premiers and grands crus than other areas. We made double the volume in our Chablis in 2017 vs 16 but not more in the crus. It was the heat wave at the end of August that allowed us to pick early with a good maturity. Wines with tension and some elegance.

The wines…

Wonderful wines at this address in 2017 – a triumph, despite the small volume for the domaine. The debut of a great new cuvée too.

2017 Chablis
About 40 hl/ha
Lovely depth, round and fine fruit of clarity – yellow fruit. Hmm, richness but also depth, layers – ooh this is a very great villages – many aspects of a premier cru – and a great, saline finish. Bravo.
2017 Chablis Vieilles-Vignes
A new cuvée, minimum 50 years old vines. We did try something like this in 2005 but found it austere and didn’t want to lose the ‘motor’ of the classic Chablis either. It’s a large parcel from Gilles’ parents that exited the Chablisienne in 2016, a slightly longer elevage – bottled in November this year but it’s planned normally to be Christmas +/- and currently only tank elevage. 5k bottles – unfortunately no magnums – this year
A little higher toned, a nose of fresh citrus but also a more overt minerality too. Also some richness, but just a little more fresh width, super clarity, and great texture. A burst of finishing flavour – even higher performing. Bravo!
2017 Chablis 1er Fourchaume
Wide, fresh, more mineral again. Much more intense and driving – the last wines were in comfort mode – here is race mode – but slowly a waterfall of great flavour cascades over the palate. Intense finishing too, saline, really exciting. Hmm, another great wine but one for a little patience!

2017 Chablis 1er Mont de Milieu
Always a little later maturing compared to Fourchaume or Vaulorent, despite direct south-facing – ‘its a mystery!’ In the centre of the vineyard. 15% oak, none new a mix of barrels and 500 litres.
A more composed and floral nose – very fine fruit too. Almost a blend of the previous wines, there is a little more composure but direction like the Fourchaume – a sense of calm. Beautiful on the palate, no big explosion of flavour but a long-lasting weight of fine flavour. Excellent – indeed more than anything, just different.

2017 Chablis 1er Vaulorent
A narrower but deeper, fresh and very fine nose – yes! Much more open and an extra freshness to the volume. A small accent of oak here within a modest richness of flavour. Layered, delicious, complex wine of clarity – great finishing – great stuff.
2017 Chablis Les Preuses
Vines next to Willaim Fevre at the top of the slope.
Not a big nose, but one of floral width – fresh flowers. Volume, but without extra richness, a super mineral clarity, layered, enough intensity. Saline but not too much – everything – but not too much. A super persistence, not explosive or sporty but complete wine.

And two 2018s that are already bottled – one week ago:

2018 Petit Chablis
Hmm, plenty of volume, an almost sherbet style of nose, with citrus – Montagny 1er cru style. Plenty of volume, freshness, a little salinity – always shadowed by a minerality but in the deep. Long, tasty finishing – Chablis? – maybe!

2018 Chablis
First very early bottling, but there will be more through the year:
There’s a similar aromatic style to this nose though the shape is a little different, narrower, deeper, a little fresher. Pure, nice line and texture – a touch of richness but no more, perhaps less than many 2017s. Feels good in the mouth and has a delicious, partly sweet mineral finish – less overt salinity but very tasty wine.

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