Tasted blind, at the BIVB office in Chablis, 21 January 2020.
As always, I find these blind tastings a great source of new names, of new producers whose wines I haven’t already explored. A number who made wines I rated highly in the 2017 vintage were profiled for the first time in Burgundy Report in March last year.
A frost-free vintage, and a warm vintage too – all that we need, in theory, for plenty of well-ripened Petit Chablis.
In the 2017 vintage I noted 16 wines as ‘great/bravo’ – and that was from 52 samples. This year I have 9 great 2018 wines from 56 samples.
On one hand, his properly sums up the potential quality of the two vintages but, on the other, tells you nothing about the wines’ ‘drinkability.’ 2018s are easy and accessible and certainly more elegant than 2017 – whereas the 2017s are more structured, more incisive and, frankly, more ‘Chablis.’
If you are an avid buyer of this AOP, then drink your 2018s now – the 2017s will happily wait another year – and the wait will be to your benefit!
As each time with these blind tastings, the labels are hidden and only the wine’s ‘number’ is visible. Only when all the wines are tasted, is the spreadsheet of producers pulled out to add the producer name to the note for their wine. The wines are listed in the order that they were tasted:
2018 Domaine du Colombier
There’s a little aromatic salinity here, a roundness, possibly of oak too. Burst into life on the palate, good minerality and nicely mouth-watering length. That’s very good PC.
2018 Domaine Besson
More high-tones, almost floral. More incisive, more driving acidity, the finish is lovely – a big wave of citrus minerality and the merest suggestion of salinity. The acidity is sharp before the finish – so a few months for this to calm a little would be a good idea.
2018 Nathalie & Gilles Fèvre
More depth of fruit and more floral aroma – a little swirling was needed to shake-off some sulfur. Wide – a fine balance of citrus acidity and depth of flavour. Definitely a small touch of salinity in the finishing complexity before a persistent and tasty, steely, minerality takes over. Excellent!
2018 Domaine de la Borde
A little more colour. More volume of aroma, a little less impact. More classic, vibrant acidity, for PC. The fruit is tasty – very citrus – the minerality modest the salinity absent. Very tasty wine, however, with a certain floral impression in the finishing flavours.
2018 Domaine Alain et Cyril Gautheron
A bigger punch to the aroma – a ripeness of fruit, some citrus, some a little more exotic. Also in the mouth, despite a nice drive, direction and fine acidity, the fruit is certainly of a different style – of ripeness – but it finishes very well. Tasty wine.
2018 Maison Pascal Bouchard, Biologique
A more compact nose – modestly mineral and rounded with some equally modest fruit. Very fine in the mouth – scale, steely, cool minerality – the texture is fine. I’d like a little more clarity in the flavours, but this is excellent PC.
2018 L&C Poitout, Sycomore
A nose of much more depth – a little sulfur but also with citrus. Scale, energy, driving flavour complexity. Absolutely vibrantly finishing – despite a small note that I take to be a reduction, this zesty-finishing wine is a great 2018 PC, despite no overt salinity! Bravo!
2018 Guy et Olivier Alexandre
A much riper core of fruit – tending towards exotic. The same style of fruit in the mouth – but a wine of both concentration and balance – the acidity is cushioned but there’s still plenty – the finish is great, easily the best part. Yum!
2018 Maison Pascal Bouchard, Blancs Cailloux
An interesting nose of freshness and perhaps lychee fruit. Acidity is a little sour, but here’s a wine of impressive persistence, indeed a very good finish.
2018 Domaine Millet
A smaller nose but one with a little salinity. Good width, minerality that’s mixed with ripe, wide citrus fruit and acidity. A long diminuendo of a finish. More than competent, excellent – if calm – Petit Chablis.
2018 Gerard Tremblay
Plenty of aromatic volume – more mineral and lime citrus style. Fresh, lots of volume, less sweetness of fruit than most, even a little reductive. Long finishing – tastily finishing but generally more austere than most.
2018 La Chablisienne, Vibrant
A little sulfur and then spice followed by something more floral – many things but still quite a compact nose. Round, quite good energy, certainly mineral. A mildly spiced wine of modest proportion but a very sneaky length.
A little more density and salinity to this nose. Super in the mouth – a wine of dimension and more sophistication than most. The textural corners are all a little rounded, but this has layers of flavour and despite finishing with modest intensity it has no less long a finish. Elegant and of clarity – bravo!
A narrower nose, but of good depth and interest. More width and clarity – more energy too. This is really what I’m looking for, the last almost too elegant for PC (more a Chablis style) this has more of an edge, more minerality – and a beautifully complex finish. Bravo!
2018 Charlène & Laurent Pinson
A nose that’s narrow but deep – a little extra citrus ripeness. Wider, more driving – a different shape, a different energy – the core is riper fruit, tending towards exotic but the width and finishing flavour are top-level. Excellent PC!
2018 Domaine Eleonore Moreau
Now that’s a big and heavy bottle for PC – not very PC! Modest high-tones but there’s an engaging depth to the aroma. A faint gas. Mineral, nice weight, complex flavour too. The finish is lovely; it’s wide, modestly saline and quite complex – a beauty in the finish. Excellent wine!
2018 Domaine Céline & Frederic Gueguen
Here the shape of the nose changes again, more fresh width, more compact above and below. Supple, bubbling with energy, deliciously wide. And then long. Super…
2018 Domaine Beaufumé
Freshness but also a much riper core of fruit. Driving acidity, pushed by some CO2.The flavour in the middle and finish need time to balance once the gas is gone, but the fruit is fine, ripe and citrus. The finish is attractively floral – excellent – for now carafe!
2018 William Fèvre
A good volume of aroma – more mineral, suggesting reductive, than fruit to start. Yes the reductively mineral theme continues but it’s a tasty wine with lovely citrus acidity and an absolutely delicious finish, the best yet – carafe – it’s excellent, and becoming even better with aeration…
2018 Domaine Christophe et Fils
A width of citrus fruit, maybe even a suggestion of salinity. Mouth-filling, bubbling with a good energy – fine intense but never sharp acidity and a slightly more floral finish. This is very good!
2018 Camille & Laurent Schaller
Not a nose of impact but there’s both volume and interest here. Mouth-filling, energetic, forward acidity. Slowly calming into a lovely finish. A wine that needs taming a little but it’s very good!
Another heavy bottle. The nose is a good one, deep and with an extra kick of salinity. Plenty in the mouth – a aromatic suggestion of oak too. Complex, long, saline, slowly mouth-watering – wait for the oak to fade. A Chablis in PC clothes (except the bottle!) Bravo!
A little more exotic fruit ripeness, but good freshness too. Mouth-filling, layered, complex and mineral – the fruit is a bit non-standard but the shape and delivery of flavour are first-class. A great finish too. Different but bravo!
2018 Domaine de Pisse Loup
A fine, fresh width of aroma. Too much gas. The finishing flavour is nicely delineated and citrussy but the middle is like San Pellegrino… Decant there’s a good wine hidden in here!
2018 Domaine Guillaume Vrignaud
A more compact nose, but with no loss of citrus clarity. Bright, energetic, meltingly citrus, almost steely, proper lemon-juice finishing. That’s super!
2018 Alain Wengier & Fils
A more mineral and riper fruited depth of aroma. Full, citrus, some lime, bubbling with energy and tastily long – excellent wine!
2018 François Martenot
A more modest intensity nose but open and fresh. Plenty of gas. Wide, indeed mouth-filling with citrus intensity and a lovely finish – this is excellent!
2018 Domaine Hamelin
Another compact nose but again with fine clarity and invitation – lovely. Ore lime-shaded citrus a little more push from the acidity and a minerality that’s more to the fore. A touch more austere than the last wine due to the lime fruit. Long and lip-smackingly tasty.
Hmm – that’s a fine and inviting minerality – it could only be Chablis. Intense, smooth, driving towards the finish, more fruit than mineral but also finishing with a cushioned salinity. Bravo!
Very faintly reductive but there’s an attractive agrume depth too. Wide – mineral, again agrume blend of citrus, long mineral. You should probably wait a little time for this one, but bravo!
2018 Simmonet Febvre
A more ripe, a different style of fruit – but still aromatically fresh. Big, mouth-filling, energetic, ripe-fruited style. Plenty of freshness – excellent though not my favourite fruit.
2018 Sylvain Mosnier
Another vibrant but ripe fruit nose. In the mouth a ton of energy but the penetrating fruit has a vegetal aspect to it – like a fenel/asparagus extra – the finish is lovely though. A wine that I find great in parts…
2018 Jean Durup
A freshness of aroma with the faintest suggestion of salinity. Big in the mouth, cool-fruited, layered but still fresh. There is a suggestion of reduction to the mineral base of flavour. The finish is excellent too!
2018 Domaine Alain Geoffroy
Bright, ripe citrus fruit. Supple, wide, good citrus energy. The mineral finish, touched by a faintly floral note, is really great. Excellent wine!
2018 Jean-Luc & Paul Aegerter
Fewer high tones but there’s a nicely open and inviting depth of aroma. Clean, mineral, incisive, with an extra burst of finishing agrume fruit in the finish. Excellent wine!
2018 Vincent Michelet
A more driving freshness of citrus here – it’s quite exciting! Almost a little extra exoticism to the citrus fruit but this is bright and pure with a finish that has a faint salinity too. Long and tasty. Excellent wine again.
2018 Domaine Jean-Claude Courtault
The fruit is more in the base of the aroma, ripe, faintly exotic. Supple, a little extra richness to this texture. Layered delivery, long and with a super intensity of finishing flavour. Excellent wine again!
2018 Domaine Louis Moreau
A good depth which is topped with a little salinity. Gassy. Then a nicely melting, mouth-watering growing in intensity line of citrus flavour. The finish is super – really tasty, involving, never too much – almost a little zesty. Excellent wine.
2018 Domaine Ventoura
A heavy bottle. Airy but a little tighter below. More incisive, more directly zesty-citrus in style though a little mouth-puckering in the middle. A very tasty finish. Great in parts this wine.
2018 Domaine Billaud-Simon
Heavy bottle again. Hmm, that’s an attractive nose – roast citrus / citrus-skin. Mouth-filling, bright and pure, beautiful detail and growing complexity. A great finish with some salinity too – bravo this is quite a wine!
2018 J.Moreau & Flis
A more compact nose again – of freshness but limited detail. Vibrant, growing in width, very citrus, the acidity a little mouth-puckering – a ripeness in the core but not reflected in the rest of the wine. A good finish of multiple dimensions.
2018 Domaine du Chardonnay
Heavy bottle. Faintly saline, but also a faint nose. Hmm, great entry – incisive, lime citrus but not so austere, beautifully mouth-watering – that’s delicious. If it had a nose today it would be great!
2018 Domaine Laroche
An even heavier bottle…
Another tighter, slightly pinched nose. Intense, indeed driving acidity towards the middle and finishing flavours. A certain delicious elegance to this finish. A wine that starts narrow and keeps widening – it’s excellent.
2018 Garnier Père & Flis
A strange mix of riper fruit and strong perfume. Wide, intense, but also an austere lime minerality. The finish is the best part, it’s quite persistent too…
Heavy bottle! Not a big aroma, but one that’s both interesting and inviting. Mouth-filling, nice shape and energy – nothing austere but great acidity. Complex, long Bravo!
2018 Jean Dauvissat Père & Fils
A little saline, lime minerality to the fore on this nose. More overtly (faintly reductive) mineral. Wide, mouth-watering and with a certain rare salinity too. Excellent – not a full-energy wine but one with a subtly ingraining finish.
2018 Domaine des Malandes
That’s a nice nose – of open citrus clarity. More intense acidity but not mouth-puckering. Driving, lovely energy -not a big wine but one of fine citrus – almost agrume – clarity and modestly but long finishing. Excellent.
Ooh – a first – a vibrant and ripe pineapple nose – plus some more exotic fruit. Big, vibrant, fun wine – lots of energy, plenty of salinity, though the fruit-style is a little odd. Excellent wine – indeed bravo for its complete deliciousness if not its classicism!
2018 Vignoble Dampt Elégance
A width of slightly more exotic fruit freshness, narrower at the base. Good attack, the core is ripe but flexes impressive muscles. More class than the average PC – more a Chablis style of wine. The finish small but very long with some flowers. Excellent wine.
2018 Felix & Fils
Mineral clarity, slowly adding a little depth – an impressive nose. Wide, vibrant, plenty of acidity, almost mouth-puckering as it becomes more intense. Wide finishing. A very good wine.
2018 Domaine Roy
A smaller but open nose of freshness and interest. Vibrant – but perhaps down to a bit too much gas. Penetrating, long the finish of this wine is a nicely mineral one with great line – ever-more subtle. Good wine.
2018 Domaine Les Marronniers
A vertical nose – some ripeness of fruit below and a fresher top note above. Intense, good shape, the fruit a lime/agrume hybrid. Really lots of fruity, mouth-watering intensity here. Good length too. Good wine.
2018 Clotilde Davenne
A much wider nose, an energetic minerality here. Too much gas – San Pellegrino time again. The finish is a very nice one with a certain floral elegance.
2018 Dominique Gruhier, Sur Les Clos
A big, fat, heavy bottle. A rather oaky nose – why it’s PC? Big, plenty of minerality, but there’s really a high-level of oak in the flavour too. PC made to drink in 3+ years?
I double rinse my glass before the next:
2018 Domaine Denis Pommier, Hautérivien
That’s a nice nose – more mineral than fruit but with a faintly lemon-citrus accent. Gas. Mouth-filling volume, fine, never too much, acidity. Lovely middle and finishing flavours. Elegantly long – with just a suggestion of zestiness to the flavour That’s excellent wine – perhaps better!
A fine width of invitingly fresh aroma. A little softer textured, but there’s a good agrume soup of complex flavour here. The finish is particularly delicious, and even faintly floral – who needs salinity. Beautiful! Bravo!