Profile: Thomas Ventoura


Tasted with Thomas Ventoura in Fontenay-près-Chablis, 09 January 2019.

Domaine Ventoura
3 Rue des Puits
89800 Fontenay-près-Chablis
Tel: +33 3 86 42 19 39

This is a young domaine, but one that shares a similarity in its history many other domaine – particularly in Fontenay. 2014 was the first vintage commercialised for this domaine, Thomas’s father and grandfather (Claude and Auguste) had both produced wine for the Chablisienne, Thomas working with his father since 2009. Today outside of the co-operative, the domaine comprises 11 hectares of vines in Petit Chablis, Chablis and 1er cru Fourchaume – some bought grapes from Mont de Milieu is new too.

It was Claude Ventoura who planted most of the vines, et-cetera, August had arrived in France from Portugal and started working some land – mainly with cows and rabbits – but there were some vines too. Claude extended that – 1984 and later are the plantations, “but they are already a good age,” says Thomas.

The cuverie is all ‘new’ starting for the 2014s. Thomas is planning to extend a little so that he has a place to keep the modest number of barrels that he uses for some elevage – but just that. The vast majority of the production here uses stainless steel tanks with thermo-regulation.

Thomas still uses some herbicide but no insecticides, “I still have some conventional treatments around flowering – we are a young domaine and have to protect the flowers. I’m aiming for 50 hl/ha, as I’m looking for the quality that this will bring. Habitually I bottle in July but because of the low volume in 2016 a part of my Petit Chablis and Chablis were bottled in April to have something to sell. For some parcel selections and the 1er I plan to do 18 months of elevage. In the vines I still stick to the convenience and easy scheduling that machine harvesting brings.

Thomas has 4 different climats in the Chablis, all from around Fontenay, and all with separate elevage – he is still keeping an eye on those with the plan to eventually make some separate bottlings. Like most young domaines it’s been much easier to find an export markets than to sell in France so most of the domaine’s production is exported.

Thomas on 2018:
2018 has long and natural fermentation, no added yeasts. In the vines it was quite an easy vintage, though resulting in a rendement that I haven’t seen before – but with quality too. I had some worries about the acidities but they are not bad and remind me of 2015.

Thomas on 2017:
2017 – its quite a rich vintage but open and more complex than 2016 at the same stage. Nice fruit, minerality and freshness too, I think it’s a really good vintage. Compared to 2018 it was a more complicated vintage in the vines – more work with the weeding but really only that.

The wine…

A young domaine but already on a great track – excellent to great wines in the small but perfectly formed range!

All the wines are sealed with DIAM; DIAM3 for the Petit Chablis and DIAM5 for the others – “I’ve had no returns, and no negative comments.

2017 Petit Chablis
This the second bottling in July
Bright, fresh, pure, a little yellow citrus and sweetness. Hmm – lovey – clean, pure, mineral but with a sweetness and freshness of ripe citrus. Simply delicious, more agrume in the finish.- Bravo!

2017 Chablis
This also 100% tank elevage
A more concentrated nose – also a little more tight. Much more richness in the mouth but with a growing intensity of well-cushioned minerality – no rigour, no austerity. This is easy over the palate despite the concentration. Deliciously flavoured – simply excellent, great texture too.

2017 Chablis 1er Fourchaume
In Vaupulent – an enviable 1 hectare parcel.
A fuller nose – more weight but there’s freshness behind too. The richness of the Chablis but with a more incisive, more direct, more meltingly complex mix of minerals and complexity – ooh this is so very good. Absolutely class, long, delicious, proper Chablis – bravo!

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