Tasted in Chablis with Stéphane Barras & Grégory Viennois (showing errors of sporting judgement), 09 January 2020.
22 rue Louis Bro
Tel: +33 3 86 42 89 00
Gregory and Stéphane on 2019:
“At the same stage of elevage (today) I have a preference for 19 over 18. We began harvesting at the start of September. The weather around flowering time was a little cold, so there was some millerandes and coulure – not the best flowering. But then came the hot summer. It was a drier year than in 2018 as the winter had already been drier. We weren’t the first harvesters in 2019, like we were in 18 because we were waiting for some ‘de-blockage’ of maturity in some places. The volume was low and I think we lost a lot of potential from the frosts – not directly frosted but there were still some effects to be felt. In 18 we already knew early that we would be harvesting at the end of August, but 2019 was a season with ups and downs and we could never be sure. The right bank and grand crus was the area that suffered most in what was anyway a very heterogenous yielding vintage. Ripe but not heavy; at this early stage I see similarities to the 2017 vintage, they are much more austere at this stage than 2018s were.
“Averaging the volumes for 2018 and 2019, it’s not quite a correct volume on average for the grand crus as the yields were very low in 2019, but for Chablis yes.”
Gregory on 2018:
“it’s clearly a great vintage, but not a 3x volume vintage here. The hydric reserve from the start of the year was really important – the volume at the end wasn’t down to gorging on a late rain. Tuesday 28 started in Côte de Lechet and Bougros, Bernard Raveneau went the next day. 12.5° at that time – there had been no problems with blocking of maturity so we went before the grapes tipped the balance into richness. It’s an early harvested vintage but for us the wine give more the impression of a cool year.”
It’s rare in 2018 – and Laroche certainly doesn’t have it – I’m talking about salinity. But there’s lots of fine minerality in their wines – and, as every year, many great wines there are too. The surprise for me was how undemonstrative most of the grand crus showed – maybe rebelling as they had been in bottle for only 3 weeks!
Practically all the corks here are NDTech – i.e. an Amorim product that is individually tested to guarantee them TCA free. The generic 1er cru Chantrerie that was really impressive can be had with screwcap though – that’s worth a few in my cellar.
2018 Bourgogne Chardonnay
Bottled early last year from vines in Mâcon – Uchizy, Burgy, et-cetera.
A depth of warm but still fresh fruit aroma. Mouth-filling, maybe a little Chablis yeast at work here but blind I don’t find the sun of the southern Bourgogne in this wine. Delicious, fresh, all tank elevage. Beautiful Bourgogne.
2018 Petit Chablis
Also bottled early last year – the low volumes of the last couple of years precipitated an earlier bottling – there will be a single bottling of this.
A wide, faintly saline nose. A good intensity, one that even ramps up in the finish – lovely width and delicacy of fine finishing flavour, faintly phenolic. Excellent PC!
2018 Chablis Les Chanoines
A cuvée name, in bottle already in January.
A little reductive minerality here. Also in the flavour a slightly reductive wine but also saline and mineral. Extra intense finishing like the PC – needs some air but this is excellent ‘proper’ Chablis.
2018 Chablis Cuvée 0
The vin ‘nature’ now all sold out from the domaine.
The nose is quite apple-y. Big, fresh, a wine of clarity but today has a sense of apple-juice. The finish is a great one, very juicy and delicious. The bottle I had last summer was much more ‘classic.’ This tasted much more impressive last summer.
2018 Domaine, Chablis St.Martin
Usually an assembly of about 42 hectares from 60 hectares, with separate elevage – many terroirs – using old foudres 15% for the elevage. The aim is to add a little density. Never the same parcels used, always selected blind.
Hmm, a good core of inviting fruit here. Big, fresh, finely mineral, growing in intensity – vibrant, almost electric – that’s a super wine, excellent 2018 villages.
4th vintage, selected from 6.5 ha below Les Lys. The vines are over 75 years old. Elevage in foudre then finished in stainless steel with all the lees. Vieille Voye reflects the nearby Roman Road. September bottled.
A more compact nose. Fresher still, cool fruit, saline, layered, great energy – bravo wine! One that you can have some patience with – a grand, grand finish!
2018 Chablis 1er ‘Chantrerie’
An assembly of multiple 1er crus, screw-capped.
More weight of aroma, fresh but ripe, faintly floral. Ouch – mouth-puckering, then easing over the palate, more 2017 style – intense, young, baby wine, one you can lose in the cellar for a few years. Excellent wine.
2018 Domaine, Chablis 1er Les Vaudevey
A small harvest in 18 – only 40 hl/ha
A tighter, slightly spiced pear nose. Fuller, very fine and pure mineral-acid balance, this is a lovely, correct and lovely finishing too. Super wine.
2018 Chablis 1er Beauroys
A more modest nose more floral. Full, extra fresh, super acidity – similar to the ‘1er’. Classic, almost tart, but flavour radiating out across the palate. Super wine.
2018 Domaine, Chablis 1er Beauroy
A finer width of fresh aroma. The same acidity but with a faint extra cushioning, a richness. Wide, and gorgeously finishing – ooh that’s another simply great finish……
2018 Chablis 1er Côte de Lechet
A more composed nose, airy, faintly floral. Super acidity again – wide, citric, intense and longer – rather than a wider finish. A beauty once more.
2018 Chablis 1er Vaillons
From Les Lys – must taken direct from the press.
A faintly smoky nose, then more floral. Driving with citrus acidity, super intensity too – ooh – that’s really excellent again.
Actually from Roncières
A deeper nose, pure but ripe and concentrated too. Ouch – great width, proper acidity, one of the rare wines with a suggestion of finishing salinity. Bravo!
2018 Chablis 1er Butteaux
First vintage – domaine – 15-year-old vines, the young vines previously in generic 1er cru or Champs Martin, half a hectare.
Rather sweetly oaked. Gorgeous clarity and mineral width. I’m not a fan of the overt wood, but the form and clarity are simply top level! Only not ‘bravo’ as I’m unsure that the oak will fully integrate, but if you’re immune to oak – try it.
All from Montmains – the higher part – 45 yo vines.
Hmm a more compact nose, but slowly opening with a sherbet suggestion. More sour style citrus after the Butteaux, wide, super minerality and a great precise finish – great finish!
Bought grapes, but it’s a long-term contract, vines planted in 1955. 1 hectare, always the same parcel. Vinified with foudres.
Ooh – a big and fresh ripe citrus, practically an agrume mix. Big, mouth-filling wine, the acidity is present but tempered, gorgeous finishing again – almost a touch of mandarin – love that.
2018 Chablis 1er Aux Fourneaux
Deep and mineral nose, not a reduction though. Good impact, growing in acid-led complexity, vibrant finishing again, less directly delicious as Vaucoupins today but still a fabulous wine.
2018 Chablis 1er Mont de Milieu
Another nose of depth, more agrume this time. Hold a good volume in the mouth, slowly leaching flavour after flavour. Just slightly compact here today but the finish is vibrant once more and so, long…
2018 Chablis 1er Montée de Tonnerre
A more modest width of aroma to start. Good mouth-filling shape, some density, slightly saline, majoring on it’s minerality – the finish is one that opens out wider and wider – this is more serious and needs more time. It will be excellent but wait a few years.
Deep, mineral and concentrated nose. Ooh – that’s good energy – lots of agrume, fine acidity, and impeccably finishing again – great wine!
2018 Chablis 1er Homme-Mort
Have over 2 hectares here, this cuvée from 70-year-old vines
A little aromatic sweetness of oak here. Vibrant, beautiful shape, certainly plenty of oak, but less than Butteaux, long, gorgeously finishing again, long, long. Super wine but wait 2+ years for the oak.
All the Grand Crus were bottled in December:
2018 Domaine, Chablis Les Bouguerots
All demi-muids – 600 litres. High density planting – for here – 10k
A deep nose, lots of clarity, some minerality, a suggestion of flowers. Lots of volume, clarity again – mineral. Long finishing, less energetic than many in the finish. Relatively modest wine today, though exceeds the 1ers in some directions.
2018 Domaine, Chablis Les Blanchots
7 different parcels – 4.5 hectares.
Another more subtle nose, some pretty florals escape the glass though. More concentrated, more layered – but ripe too – less overtly mineral. Ooh, that’s a lovely, bubbling, understated but very classy finish. More obvious GC than Bouguerots today…
2018 Domaine, Chablis Les Clos
A vertical nose, inviting, floral, mineral at the base. A touch of gas. Energy, faint oak, complex – there’s more energy here – some of that from the gas. Sweeter, intense but cushioned, extra-long. The oak is present but not dominating. Very faintly with a phenolic texture finishing.
Always the best tasting parcels – blind. Not yet in bottle, waiting assembled in tank.
A modest volume of aroma, fine but a little compact. Ooh – that’s gorgeous, fine cushioned, acidic attack, beautiful fruit – über-classy wine here. Layered, long, long and long again. This will make a great bottle.