Tasted in Milly with Fabien Dauvissat, 16 January 2020.
Domaine Jean Dauvissat Père & Fils
11 et 13 rue de Léchet
Tel: +33 3 86 42 12 23
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Fabien on 2018 and 2019:
“In 2018 I think some of the aromatic maturity came later than the phenolic maturity, but it was much more of a problem in 2019. I started harvesting in Vaillons with 14.5° in 2019 but I’m still sure that my feelings were correct – we were simply confronted by levels of sugar that we haven’t seen before. But 2018 isn’t like that – it’s good, it’s ripe, I made 80 hl/ha – which was sometimes normal a generation ago – but they never made wine with this quality. One or two cuvées were slower to ferment – as you will see – but generally it was okay in 2018 – I think more problematic in 2019!
“After working the soils since 2009, we began the process for organic certification in 2019, and 10 hectares are already worked biodynamically – including all the 1er crus. 2018 was an easy vintage in the end, but in the first part of the year we were only a couple of steps away from a very complicated year with mildew as a minimum.”
A few wines are relatively rich, some others are completely great for the vintage, and one is certainly still to wait for before expressing an opinion. You could say a complex picture for such an ‘easy’ vintage 🙂
2018 Petit Chablis
A small parcel of 0.16 ha, making a little over 1,000 bottles from the plateau of Chapelle la Vaupelteigne – the domaine’s smallest cuvée. Bottled start of September.
Big, bright, a citrus freshness. Concentrated, layered, faintly saline – considered – it could have a pep more energy but it’s broad, mineral and saline – and not everybody has that!
The first of 3 cuvées – this the assembly of most parcels but never quite the same each year. All separately vinified, assembled at the end of elevage.
Rich again but more mobile, more mineral and equally saline. Really impressive finishing, even a little structural – I wouldn’t hesitate to say wait a couple of years for both these first two wines.
2018 Chablis Cuvée Claire
Named for Fabien’s first daughter. The same assembly as the last but a part separated to have an extra 6 months in demi-muids. Mix of Stockinger and Francois – 500 before, 600 litres now – all new this year
Not obviously oaked, but this is a nose showcasing more salinity. More mineral, more line of flavour, a little oak in the middle – so this is definitely a wine to wait a little for. Super potential!
The following all tasted from tank – planning the bottling from 1st April:
1940-1950 vines from 3 parcels – 12 months of stainless-steel elevage
More depth of mineral aroma – a super clarity. Vibrant, a little structural, fruit that almost borders into lime citrus – a big peak of finishing flavour. Bravo – have a little patience though.
2018 Chablis 1er Côte de Léchets
2 ha, 1.5 really in the centre. Some court-noué so normally low yielding – ‘I’m always thinking about replanting!’
This is a little smaller in aromatic volume but still nicely wide. More mineral again – a density as much as a richness on the palate – extra in the finish – super complexity, fine minerality and very long. Excellent!
2018 Chablis 1er Vaillons
One 0.83 hectare parcel in Chatains.
A much more compact nose, yet one with a different and highly impressive clarity of agrume fruit – yes! More composed, layered, clarity for sure, though I have a preference for the extra energy in the Lechets today. Another big burst of finishing flavour – lots of fine complexity salinity here – the better finish. Also excellent.
2018 Chablis 1er L’Homme Mort
A big fresh nose, also with a big weight of oak today – complex and interesting. Nicely vibrant, saline, lots of complexity, though much of that is wood too. I wouldn’t even consider returning in less than 3 years as this is very oaky for my taste. The complexity and shape – and classic salinity are all there though.
“The Fourchaume and Montmains stopped fermenting with some sugar still in the wine. The malos were already done and there was no sulfur added – I was worried! I kept tasting and they were okay, no growth of volatiles but I didn’t want to intervene unless I really had to – then at the 2019 harvest – they went! All was finished but neither tasted that great to start – like an old Champagne! But they have evolved and they are coming into a better place all the time – I think I may wait later than 1st April to bottle as the wines really only started elevage when the fermentation was done!”
Hmm – that’s a fine nose – of line of clarity of freshness, of subtle reduction – a great invitation. In the mouth it’s mobile, super complex – deliciously agrume fruited and has bubbling energy. Wide and wider in the finish – bravo – love – sustaining a great finish
2018 Chablis 1er Montmains
One 0.75 hecatre parcel in real Montmains. ‘Usually our last parcel to be harvested – it’s the marnes, it’s a cold place.’
I tasted and this was obviously troubled, not clear, not ready to taste. Still it was better than Fabien’s description of a few months ago – and of course, as you see, I loved the Fourchaume, which actually finished its fermentation a month before this. Let’s see next year!