Tasted with Margaux Laroche in Chablis, 07 January 2020.
Le Domaine d’Henri
Tel: +33 3 86 40 65 17
Margaux on 2019:
“A year that I remember as being a little less ‘easy’ than 2018 – in the main we had two large challenges – the frost of Springtime where we didn’t suffer too much, but it came after a much too warm February. That February warmth stopped with the weather of March and April, just a few buds were pushing into the ‘cotton phase’ when the frost came and I think some of these were affected – hopefully not with a lasting impact into 2020. The flowering lasted quite long which probably contributed to some millerandage – the summer brought only 10mm of rain and very hot weather – some of the grapes roasted much earlier than you normally see – the west-facing edges of vineyards, mainly. In our Petit Chablis we lost a lot, 37 hl/ha was the result. Our Chablis delivered more like 50 hl/ha. Generally, it looks like the clay soils suffered less water-stress. The 1ers brought 45 hl/ha – I’m happy with that. We started 5-6 days earlier than we first anticipated as the acidities suddenly started to sink – we had to try and harvest everything as quick as possible as with the original date chosen for harvesting we knew we would be far too late for the last parcels – acidities are similar to 2018 here, but the 2019s seem the more elegant and concentrated – but it’s still a year of the sun.”
Margaux on 2018:
“A year where everything seemed to pass very easily – no frost in the Springtime but lots of storms – we always though we would be hit by hail – there was a lot only 40km from Chablis, but here it never arrived. The flowering and quantity of flowers was impressive – already an important volume could be seen. We started harvesting early – the first week of September – 18 days of harvesting with volumes higher than those allowed – we had pruned for 55 hl/ha but the vines delivered 60-75 hl/ha – a mix of more grapes and more juice – and no losses from maladies. The acidity is comparable to warm vintages such as 2015, 2019 but of course the fruit was completely clean. More an oenelogue’s vintage than a vigneron’s vintage – we had to work hard to keep the fermentations running as the yeasts were easily fatigued with anything over 13°. All our malos were done – and quickly! We rarely block the malo as it takes a big quantity of sulfur and the wines don’t really then reflect our style. We started bottling quite early for PC and Chablis, but for the 1ers we wait longer. Two demi-muids of Chablis really didn’t want to finish so they were finished with extra time in an amphora – eventually coming to their conclusion!”
Often a little atypical, always delicious. A range of character in 2018.
For the bottling there are some wines with screw-cap, the rest are DIAM5 – some DIAM10 and even some DIAM30 – ‘though maybe the latter is a little too ‘tight’’ says Margaux.
2018 Petit Chablis Les Allées de Vignoble
Looking for 55-60 hl – from multiple areas, about half above Valmur and Clos, some more above Bienes but that was mainly frosted – the last part from Maligny. All tank elevage. ‘For us it’s our most atypical wine. Last days of the harvest with 13.5-13.6° concentrated but with a little higher acidity due to the concentration.’ All stainless-steel, this bottled in July.
Not a strong colour. A line of ripe aroma, green-fruit inflected not overtly fresh citrus, more a cooking, roast citrus. Full, concentrated and showing very fine texture too. Wide, intense, layered – you would never guess PC! The concentration of a 1er cru, the power and texture too – shorter – but a great wine for the label – but certainly not classic
2018 Chablis Les Allées de Vignoble
This a mix of domaine and a contract where d’Henri makes the treatments and the harvest. This bottled in May.
Fresher, more energetic, almost a mint/menthol impression in these aromas. More volume, a more open freshness. Wide, intense, layered again – mineral. This is lovely.
Assembled from best parcels, tasted blind so it can vary each vintage. This bottled end of July. ‘A couple of our best terroirs for their typicité, chosen each year.’ Some barrel (15-20%) elevage – a mix of pieces and demi-muids. The rest in tank.
A fresh and more overtly citrus aromatic – silky impression, almost waxy. Ooh, now that’s a beauty – wide, open delicious yellow citrus of freshness and backed with a fine minerality. Tension and direction, finishing with a super mineral personality. Bravo!
Next three wines tasted from tank:
2018 Chablis 1er Troesmes
In Beauroy, not easy to sell under this name. ‘Lots of court noué here so a lot of small grapes and therefore concentration – of sugar too – so a challenge to harvest with maturity but still acidity.’ Assembled in July, will be bottled probably in January – It’s ready!
A deep and concentrated nose with a touch of herb. Ooh, the palate is super, excellent of line, some width, mouth-watering intensity. Full of citrus and salinity – that’s a lovely complexity – I like this very much.
2018 Chablis 1er Fourchaume
5.5 hectares! In 4 parcels (there are 6 parcels from 2019) aged between 80 and 30 years old. Will bottle this at the end of February.
A vibrant and ripe nose with much citrus zest. Likewise in the mouth – open, fine freshness – a bubbling complexity – really plenty of energy in the complexity of the finish. Delicious but with a little seriousness of structure that shows why it will be bottled later. Super wine.
2018 Chablis 1er Homme Mort Vieilles-Vignes
Only separate this in good vintages, ‘ones with the potential to age’ otherwise it’s blended into Fourchaume – 50-year-old vines on a steep slope – In 2018, used a little more (mixed) barrel – 30% – for this wine. For bottling this month.
A deeper width of aroma, still an engaging freshness – but less overt. Extra freshness of attack, growing in both volume and intensity. Mouth-watering, delicious with fine points of complexity – sweet but properly structured, melting flavour. Excellent.
2018 Chablis Heritage
Over 80-year-old vines, but atypical in 2018 – the wine that didn’t want to finish it’s sugars in tank – a couple of demi-muids did finish – so this is 100% barrel as it was never blended with that in tankwith elevage finished in jars / amphora. Bottled 3 weeks.
An overt barrel nose, round and silky – decent freshness too. Beautiful drive and freshness, mouth-watering too – delicate and beautiful – of course, there’s a lot of oak too – wait 3-5 years for this to fade… Gorgeous finish too of purity and salinity. Without the oak this would be Grand Vin – hopefully the wait is worthwhile!