Tasted in Chablis with Benoit Droin, 15 January 2020.
Domaine Jean-Paul et Benoit Droin
8 Boulevard de Ferrières
Tel: +33 3 86 42 16 78
Benoit on 2019:
“2019 was another year with deficits – we lost 40-50% in many sectors. There was some effect from the cold of the Springtime but I’m sure much more from the heat of the summer. But the fermentations were much easier than the long ones we had in 2018 – so higher alcohol but also quite impressive pHs so I think there will be a good combination of concentration and freshness.”
Benoit on 2018:
“2018 – the winter and spring probably saved us – recharging the reserve of water, because it was a lot of water. Summer was super hot, but not just hot, it was also very dry – only 23 mm of water between 1st July and the harvest. So practically the same dryness as in 2019 but there was obviously already more flowers and then grapes than in 2019 – it was now that the extra reserve of water came into play. No maladies – so it was easier in the vines. The final rendement was still quite a surprise, however! I think the fact that the roots had to be deep to use the reserve of water has delivered an extra dry material which helps with the balance.”
Very classic for the vintage – delicious wines – and some are great – but mainly they are ‘gourmand.’
All the wines are bottled, and not especially early or late because of the vintage. “12 months just works for me,” says Benoit. The domaine is all DIAM – practically since 2011.“.
2018 Petit Chablis
One parcel above Les Clos on Portlandian, not much soil, mainly limestone. A decent harvest – nearly the rendement.
A nice mineral and citrus freshness – an aromatic impression of structure. Broad, mouth-filling, full of energy. Slowly softening in the middle. Delicious and easy! With a lovely finish.
Normally, about 40 parcels assembled – About 12 hectares worth – and like the Petit Chablis, harvested by machine.
A more pungent depth of lime/agrume fruit here – nice. Yes, a little lime and a lot of complexity – there’s lots of mouth-watering flavour. Great finishing – really an excellent wine.
Mineral and lime again, this is super. Wide, mouth-watering, beautiful citrus acidity, no hard edges just delicious, delicious wine! Bravo
2018 Chablis 1er Vaillons
Assembly of 5 terroirs from Vaillons
A little more drive and minerality to add to the citrus fruit aroma. More open, more volume, though today less ultimately delicious as the Vosgros. Excellent all the same. Powerful finishing – that’s a great finish and a little more floral too.
2018 Chablis 1er Montmains
A more compact but wider nose, principally the minerality is showing right now. Wide, vibrant, mineral, softened by a little citrus – powerful finishing again – the first with a little oak in the middle – but faint. Gorgeous finishing again.
2018 Chablis 1er Mont de Milieu
Like the Montmains, a little more compact yet very wide, mineral and perhaps showing a little more freshness too. Hmm, more structural, complex, ripe fruit but not a ripe wine – lovely balance – excellent. Great finishing with a little apricot.
2018 Chablis 1er Fourchaume
A little more open, but more with faint barrel references. Nice impact, volume in the mouth and minerality – showing a little oak-softness and flavour but hardly a lot – wait at least a year for this though. The fruit easily supplants the oak in the finish
Fresher, wider aroma – no oak showing here. Full, mineral a little richness of texture but no lack of mineral flavour and balance.A burst of powerful finishing flavour. ‘A proper Petits Preuses’ – Bravo!
2018 Chablis 1er Montée de Tonnerre
‘This is always a complicated wine when young but after 5 years it really seems to take off! And be happy if you can find one that’s 10-15 years old!’
A more vertical nose – of high-toned action and depth of aroma too. Deeply flavoured, layered, minerally wide, very wide, slowly mouth-watering, concentrated – to wait for with anticipation.
2018 Chablis Vaudésir
A little width of barrel-based aroma is in the ascendant here – it’s not stark, but it’s masking. In the mouth this wine has a beautiful shape – full, fine of texture, mineral and salivating – but give the oak time to fade – 2 years as a minimum… Great finishing again…
2018 Chablis Valmur
Not a big nose but one of width all the same – almost a waxy textural impression to the aroma. Ooh, more attack, more fruit-forward, cool citrus fruit – more lime – less obvious barrel but still a faint touch of smoke in the finishing flavour. Super long – it goes without saying!
2018 Chablis Grenouilles
From top part of Grenouilles – “It’s cold vintages bring out the sublime in this grand cru, 10, 8, 7, 14 are ‘cold’ vintages for me as they have kept the freshness and acidity.”
A nose that is more open, of clarity and minerality. A more wiry, structural wine, of energy and minerality – of growing concentration and depth of finishing flavour – oaked in the finish so wait. Sparkling complexity, almost spiced, in the finish.
2018 Chablis Les Clos
Fresh, pure, clarity, modest width of aroma. Not the biggest and here’s a slightly tannic texture, but clearly the most mobile, and changing complexity of flavour. Oh, that’s rather good! The finish is great!
A little 2011 asparagus? Vegetal but nice energy to the nose too. Fresh, driving, rather asparagus in the mouth too – good acidity but not a wine for me. 2011 Chablis villages but it’s big and rich, so I thought a 1er Cru…
Ooh, that’s interesting, a little touch of aromatic maturity of leafy development – that’s inviting! A richness and concentration here – minerality. Layered. Long and spiced – delicious and concentrated. I assume a warmer vintage such as 09 or 05 but think the aromatic maturity a little too much for 09 so say 05. 2006 Montmains – a vintage I completely forgot about!!
Now here is aromatic maturity – but not with a deep colour so mid-late 90s, perhaps. But the palate is wide and rich but beautifully textured – waxy-smooth. Slowly melting with flavour, much less mature than the nose – so I guess a well-made 2003 because of the richness. 2002 Valmur – so the richness was GC richness! I remain bad on locations but for guessing the age of wines, I’m still pretty good 😉