Tasted in Fontenay-près-Chablis with Julie and Nathalie Fèvre, 24 January 2020.
Nathalie and Julie on 2019:
“Hot! And that was after a dry winter. It was cold until 14 June – when it was still 8°C in Paris – by the 27 June it was 40°C. That was hard for the vines, unlike 2018 where the temperature gradually rose. It was a difficult situation. There was such heterogeneity as one vine had ripe grapes and the next vine the grapes were definitely not ripe. But it was a faster harvest in 2019, there was less to harvest of-course. We are down about 30% vs an average vintage, not versus 2018!”
Nathalie and Julie on 2018:
“1970, 1990 and 2018 – those are the only vintages that I can think of where we had high volumes with ripe grapes – so it’s a historic vintage! We had no major problems with fermentations – only one tank stopped for a while. We had the chance to start harvesting with good timing – not too late – we could have waited but above 14.5° would not have fit with the style of the maison. The big surprise was that we toured the vines the day before we started harvesting, and there was little in the way of morale because even at this stage we didn’t have a real idea of the volume!”
A super range of wines chez family Fèvre this year – indeed as most years. One of the domaines in 2018 that have retained some salinity in the flavours and aromas of their wines – well-done!
All the wines are bottled though there might be some additional bottlings to come of certain cuvées. All are sealed with DIAM – even their larger-format bottles.
2018 Petit Chablis
A freshness of slightly green citrus. Supple, concentrated, a little tannin. That’s a concentrated, slightly contemplative but very, very tasty wine – delicious and with a little zesty finish for keeping your attention. Excellent PC!
A super invitation – high-toned and fresh – yes! Open, floral, layered, good energy and really a middle and finishing flavour to die for at this level. Slightly saline, beautifully citrus with no hard edges. Bravo!
Second vintage – even some larger formats in this vintage. A mix of parcels, the youngest vines from 1965, the oldest are from 1941-42 – and they have 7-8 hectares available for this, but choose to make much less, as they don’t want to reduce the quality of their ‘basic’ Chablis. Mainly it’s a large parcel from Gilles’ parents that exited the Chablisienne in 2016.
A little wider and more overtly floral nose. Classically fresh, open, modestly structured – shimmering with delicious middle flavour and a juicy finish, a great finish. Bravo!
Here’s a real nose of seashore Chablis. Brighter, more incisive, that’s a super Fourchaume. Salinity, excellent length, faintly zesty. That’s great again.
2018 Chablis 1er Mont de Milieu
In the centre of the vineyard. 15% barrel, 228s, in 2019 there was less wine and it will be 100% wood but old 500-litre barrels.
A deeper, less wide nose, but of extra complexity, again a little floral. There’s the faintest rounding of the shape with oak, and a modest accent of oak, but really this is fresh, direct, cool and mineral. It’s a quietly confident wine, of concentration and beautiful finishing agrume fruit that peaks again after swallowing. Simply excellent, possibly great.
2018 Chablis 1er Montée de Tonnerre
First vintage, all old barrel elevage.
A tighter but also more concentrated nose, faintly shimmering with a fine fruit. Wide, wide, mineral, mineral. The oak is really not visible, fine points of complexity. Lovely fine agrume acidity in the finish – simply super again – excellent wine!
2018 Chablis 1er Vaulorent
This bottled at the end of last year.
A more open nose again, of width. A little gas. Slowly fading, opening with a brightness of minerality but no hardness. Not the biggest finish, but no lack of length – a very pretty line of agrume acidity – like the Montée de Tonnerre – subtle but oh-so-long!
Vines next to Willaim Fevre at the top of the slope.
A little more heft to this aroma, slowly widening. A tiny touch of gas but less than Vaulorent. Intensity but cushioned intensity, reverberating with flavour in the finish – such a weight but not oppressive, of lingering enjoyment. I think I’ll be making my usual order! If the 2015 is anything to go by, wait 3 years and it will be completely classic!
And for the road?
2017 Chablis Vieilles-Vignes
Hmm, interesting, deep, concentrated, practically a little asparagus. Hmm, it’s there on the palate too – not something I saw last January, though I did note a little pyrazine had developed in the summer. But in terms of shape, here’s a fine line, nicely structured and properly mineral Chablis style. A super and complex finish – that’s very good.
Hmm, a nicely ripe citrus freshness. Much more intense and vibrant. Practically an electric flavour profile here but such an impressive depth of finishing flavour too. Great!
2009 Chablis 1er Vaulorent
OOH! That’s such a lovely nose, an impression of something sweetly toasty. Mineral but cushioned, complex, deep, the length is a little less than the 18s – or simply much more subtle – but the broad width and complexity of flavour makes up for that today. That’s really a treat – merci!