Tasted in Chablis with Cyril Testut, 23 January 2019.
38, rue des Moulins
Tel: +33 3 86 41 45 00
Cyril on 2018:
“It’s the first time for 30 years that I’ve seen a vintage like that. The very first time I used zero grams of sugar too. it’s surprising for the quantity of excellent grapes – even in the old vines – I expected the same problem as 2017 though – plenty of grapes but no juice – it could only have been the reserve of water in the soil that changed that. Given the age of our vines it’s 10 years since I had a similar volume. I worried about the amount of acidity of-course, but I needn’t have – clearly it’s a sunny, fruity, rich vintage but it’s powerful long and balanced too. I think people will be surprised. For harvesting I kept calm, and waited until 12th to start harvesting as the maturity was different in different areas, but then I attacked with more harvesters than usual and completed the harvest in one week – 13.5° – it’s not every year we see that.”
Cyril on 2017:
“The third hard vintage in a row was 2017 – but it’s an interesting vintage – we have a concentration in the wines. The grapes were lovely, I’ve hardly seen better but they were a big surprise when they went into the press because there was a lot of skin and pulp but not lots of juice. I like 2017 very much, it’s both fine and subtle but with richness too. It’s precise and correct. I wanted to save some, but I don’t have a single bottle of the villages left at the domaine – not even one for me!”
Never the most energetic wines, but sometimes with a zen-like calm. Always with balance though.
A mix of DIAM and natural cork are used here – Chablis and Vaillons using DIAM5. A curtailed list of what’s available here – but with a small surprise at the end.
2017 Chablis 1er Vaillons
Some of the oldest vines, planted in the late 50s/early 60s. From Beugnons. Only one-third of a regular volume. Bottled in September.
Freshness, pure fresh lemon and lots of aromatic depth. Wide, calm, detailed – fine acidity, and a lovely little burst of fine, pure minerals and salinity – like a little squeezed lemon on an oyster. Delicious.
2017 Chablis 1er Montée de Tonnerre
Ripe but fresh, more pineapple in this mix of citrus. Wide, more complex, more overt minerality – fresher too – there is more of everything here – except perhaps the calmness of the Vaillons. But this is a delicious thing – with a little more finishing energy too. Excellent!
0.20 ha of 80 year-old vines, the same age as Beugnons. Only replaced with massale selections.
Hmm, now that’s an even nicer nose – a little extra freshness and minerality – more mineral energy here – perhaps even a fumé suggestion of barrel too. More direct, more freshly citrus-mineral but with an inner calm not unlike the Vaillons – ooh this is great stuff – a beautifully melting finish. Great – often my favourite wine here.
2017 Château de Grenouilles
0.32 hectares – the high part with the other producers, ‘we’re lucky not to have been frosted – 40 hl/ha’ – Chablisienne has all the lower part. Father planted in the 60s. 2002 was the first vintage here for Cyril and that was a bigger vintage in terms of volume than he wanted, so worked since then on the soil – and there’s not a lot up there, and in recent years he’s had it ploughed by horse. ‘Today I’m happy with the balance in the plants. But whilst there’s magic in certain parcels, you have to work to unlock that magic!’
A little nod to the Mont de Milieu in the aromas here with some pineapple in the mix – but this is a more forward and more vibrant nose. Absolutely mouth-filling, complex, fine ripe but always fresh fruit, a slight touch of rigour – no complaints in a mineral grand cru, in fact a thumbs up from me – wide, sinuous, mobile. Really an excellent wine with an energy that almost makes you miss the great texture – of-course the great finish of 2017 a little muted here but very long…
2018 Chablis Vieilles-Vignes
A small 30 hl bottling, the first of several – done less than 3 weeks ago. Côte de Brechains – on the right bank.
That’s a big nose – it needs some time for composure – blind I could easily guess from the Mâcon, though with time in the glass it does take on more freshness. In the mouth it’s probably not from Mâcon, it’s certainly ripe but there’s a mineral presence here. I don’t yet see the salinity, I might even detect a little apple in the flavour. The finish is suggesting something a little more classic – I hope that with more bottle time, or the following bottling, gives this the space to grow ever-more classic.