Tasted in Chablis with Romain Bouchard, 22 January 2020.
Domaine de l’Enclos
1 rue du Puits
Tel: +33 3 86 48 29 17
Romain on 2019:
“A dry summer and of-course good maturity, but moderate yields – about 45 hl/ha – that’s okay – not too low. Wines that are concentrated, but with ripeness and acidity so the balance is interesting – so since we started in 2016, I’d consider 2019 to be the best vintage in terms of quality. There weren’t many problems with frost – a small part in AC Chablis was damaged only. The low yields were more due to the weather during flowering but after that, there were only a few millimetres of rain in August – and I was on holiday at the time! The two canicules – end of June and again end of July did some damage – those grapes on the west with the afternoon sun were burnt away. We started Friday the 13th! Actually, a few days earlier to make our pied de cuve for the rest of the harvest. Not as high alcohols as in 2018 here.”
Romain on 2018:
2018 was our first real harvest since we started here -and we had enough place for the wine! We were at the maximum except in the grand crus where we had about 50 hl/ha. There was a little VCI which adds to the slightly lower volume of 2019 – but this will be sold in bulk – there is still the connection from the original deal with Bichot for some bulk sales, and that’s good as we’ve built up a good relationship in the last years. We are still only taking small steps towards commercialising everything – currently 120k bottles per year.
“In 2018 most of the vines will have AB certification.”
2018 is a definite progression from the wines of 2017 here – let’s call it a natural progression! As a reviewer it’s genuinely nice to have something a little out of the ordinary, and with this producer we have it – consistently from Petit Chablis to grand cru. “It’s true, our philosophy is more in the direction of natural, trying not to touch anything, but I also don’t want to see wines that are too linear, but I do want to see each wine express itself. We are sulfur ‘lite’ only adding for bottling – the 2019s right now have seen zero sulfur.”
All crus are harvested by hand and about 20% of the Chablis. Bottling is practically all done except that there was some 1er cru bottling the day I visited, and the Mont de Milieu still waits. All ‘natural’ vinification this year, no yeast additions (except pied-de-cuve) and a very small amount of sulfur before bottling. Petit Chablis has composite seals, the rest are cork.
2018 Petit Chablis
The only technical cork wine. Single parcel above the church of Beines – 30-year-old vines – 1.7 ha with a modest slope, chalky soil and less altitude than many PC.
A bright nose, a little appley but attractive in that style. Round, supple, concentrated but very appley flavour but a good freshness – probably for drinking young.
All tank elevage, one blend, one bottling. East facing grapes in La Chapelle de Vaupelteigne – looking towards Fourchaume, other vines in Beines that run up to Vau Ligneau – 5 hectares here. Plus some small parcels in Chablis and Fontenay.
Again a little apple and a little more vibrancy of aroma. Hmm, that’s a lovely fresh line of mineral, concentrated flavour – that slightly oxidative apple flavour still quite forward in the finish.
2018 Chablis 1er Beauroy
All stainless-steel elevage. The domaine’s 2nd Largest parcel with 2.40 ha of 40-year-old vines on the steepest part of the vineyard – in Côte de Savant looking towards the lake of Bienes, only 100m away. Here with aspersion so there’s some protection.
More vibrant again, fresher and certainly more mineral. A touch of gas, depth, still this oxidative malic/apple flavour – but it’s tasty! That’s a tasty finish too!
2018 Chablis 1er Vau de Vey
The domaine’s largest parcel with 2.80 ha, organic since 2007 – not far from Beauroy. This a cooler valley and also very steep. Planted in 1979 and usually the last harvested.
Bottled today so a more compact nose. This is lovely in the mouth – direct, intense, mineral, almost layered finishing – an intense line of finishing flavour, very slightly saline.
2018 Chablis 1er Montmains
Older vines, planted by grandfather in 1971, 0.55 hectares, but still the healthiest vines of the domine – the source of the domaine’s massale selections. Montmains-Montmains 100m from Forêts. ‘We have a lot of hillside vines so this is a pleasure to work as its much flatter!’ The fermentation started in tank but finished in barrel – 50% oak elevage.
The nose is back to the slightly ‘natural’ appley note. A little more floral freshness, complex, interesting, vibrating with energy in the finish.
2018 Chablis 1er La Fourchaume
0.85 ha in production but replanted half a hectare in 2018. ‘Fourchaume is large, but in Vaupelteigne the classic core of the aoc is La Fourchaume – call the ‘La’ a little local fetish!’ Three parcels, one from the 1950s, and two from the 1980s – there was an older part too, but it’s being replanted as there were virtually no grapes.
A deeper minerality and good freshness. Wide and lovely over the palate – the fruit style is the same as the previous wines, but a little less overt. Long finishing with a fine minerality an agile touch of salinity.
2017 Chablis Vaudesir
Plain south-facing, the hottest part of Vaudesir, close to the centre of the valley from bottom to top – vines between those of Drouhin and Droi. Replanted by father in 1990-1991 – 0.57 ha. ‘It’s traditional to start our harvest here – but it’s also the place the grapes are ready soonest!’
More aromatic volume – there’s some floral complexity over minerality and the apple-style fruit. Lovely over the palate again – very mineral, a small textural cushion to the flavours and only here a little oak. That’s very long finishing!
2018 Chablis Blanchots
0.23 ha on the steeps, worked by hand and by horse ‘You can’t work with a tractor here, towards the bottom of the slope near the road and it’s very frost sensitive here.’ Planted in 1982 by their father. Later ripening than Vaudesir.
Again a little floral top note, tighter below. Rounder but nice energy – appley, faintly oaked but a live wine, one of depth and superior length.
2017 Chablis Les Clos
‘0.67 ha – with a nice view back to Chablis, with bottom-middle placing but not right at the bottom – on the eastern side and not very steep – planted at the beginning of the 1960s by grandfather. Usually very low yields, even in 2018 we didn’t get to the rendement – always millerandes so small grapes.’
A little more aromatic width – certainly floral over a tighter base. Lots of mouth-filling energy – great texture, a suggestion of tannin on the tip of the tongue. Vibrantly mineral finishing, faintly saline. Excellent!