Tasted in Fleys with Cyril Gautheron, 15 January 2020.
Domaine Alain et Cyril Gautheron
18 Rue des Pregirots
Tel: +33 3 86 42 44 34
Cyrill Gautheron is the 7th generation at his family domaine – it covered 14-15 hectares when he started, now it’s 30. Cyril also has some maison grand crus too.
Cyril has 25 parcels so also has 25 tanks – “How else will I learn all that I can from my parcels?” He says that it also helps for understanding why some parcels seem less good than others, so can help bring them up to the same level of the rest. “There’s nothing systematic here, there are no easy answers, I’m looking at the long term, but I’m looking to make a good analysis of 3-4 terroirs each year.”
The many small tanks here correspond to harvest volumes. The wines normally see one racking – and all is by gravity. All the processes are compartmentalised in the domaine’s buildings; press, tanks etcetera. Their Chablis and Petit Chablis are machine-harvested, their Chablis VV and most of their 1ers and GCs are done by hand.
Cyril is now testing longer elevage in tank too – less easy with the small 2016 and 2017 vintages. The lunar calendar is his important guide for the various operation.
The domaine has many private clients, for whom they now have a super new reception and tasting room – about 50% is exported from the domaine. Cyril’s father, Alain did 80% export, Cyril says that he’s ‘re-balanced’ the sales.
My first visit to Cyril – and what a wide range of cuvées he has – but here it’s not just about ‘how many’ it’s also about ‘how good!’ Really an excellent range – some ‘don’t miss’ wines among them!
Principally the wines are sealed with DIAM5:
2018 Bourgogne Blanc Frisson
First vintage; a little Auxerois and Tonnerre but also Maconnais – that was 2016 – ‘I call the wine Frisson. The clients loved it so… added petit Chablis in 2017, now it’s about 10% Maconnais and much of the rest from l’Yonne.’
Hmm, that’s a nice salinity – all tank, bottle end May/start June. Wide, fresh, good depth of flavour – a concentration, a little structure. To wait for but very good. – It’s long too.
This the last bottling, done in December. The negoce bottling is a mix of grape purchases from Sur Les Clos and Lignorelles.
Bright, fresh, deep – of clarity – quite exciting for PC! Big, fresh, mineral, intense – ooh that’s super. Bravo!
The first of 3 cuvées, bottled end October. There’s 20 hectares of villages here; Fye, Chablis, Chichée vines – all right bank.
A deeper, more compact nose – it needs a little air. That’s vibrant, wide, indeed mouth-filling. More towards lime citrus, vibrant long lovely intensity.
3 ha of vines – 15 months on fine lees – the vines between the village and the 1er of Vaucoupin, made this since 2009 and worked organically here since 2009 too, without certification, ‘Sometimes I think the treatments are too much – I prefer a homoeopathic approach – of-course if something is needed. Of course, practically nothing was needed in the last 2 years. Some full-sun places the weeds died on their own.’
The nose just a little more open. A more open minerality below. Big, bright, energetic – lovely purity – perhaps a faint gas but super salinity for a 2018 – bravo!
2018 Chablis VV
Not yet bottled, a part in tank, another part in barrel – racked together then another 6 months in tank before bottling – probably March. About 1/3 wood.
A bigger nose, a little lees from the tank. Bright and vibrant again – super tension, I don’t see the oak. I do see the vibrancy of finishing flavour – almost a little muscled and very long. Super wine again.
No wood used here. Two parcels that average nearly 50 years of age – older vines are coming too.
Quite mineral, fine clarity of aroma. Hmm, that’s lovely – hyper mineral – super Chablis – melting with complexity over the palate. I love this. MIneral, part saline in the finish – excellent Chablis, great 2018!
2018 Chablis 1er Fourneaux
Have almost 3 ha of this. A lot of white clay with some blue clay in the mix. Bottled December. Again no wood in this wine.
A little more aromatic impact – even a suggestion of floral. Nice drive, mineral for sure but a little fruit padding here too. But the finish is serious yet accessible with a little 2018 ripeness. Excellent.
2018 Chablis 1er Fourneaux VV
Bottled September, 25% wood elevage. ‘I use the wood for tension not to round the wine.’
A modest volume nose, no oak to see here though. The palate is deep, mouth-watering and quite full. The balance is very fine, the finish is great – intense, a little saline. Love these finishes.
‘For me the acidity is the spine of the wines – you won’t find me harvesting late. My question with a glass of wine is always would I drink a second glass(?)‘
2018 Chablis 1er Mont de Milieu
Vines of 50-60 years of age. ‘The age can be inconvenient in complicated years, depends of the rootstock and there can be a lot of suffering in clay soils.’ About 20-25% oak like the previous. Bottled beginning of September
This is easily the most aromatic wine of all tasted so far. Wide, silky, fresh but then growing in complexity. Not overt energy like many but still very fresh. A super saline finish again. There’s a lot still to come from this wine – it’s at least excellent, potentially even better!
2018 Chablis 1er L’Homme Mort
Bottled September again. 0.35 ha – the smallest of the premier cru surfaces here. High and south-facing look towards Fourchaume and Chablis, beyond. Again 25% oak – new.
Mineral, a little sweetness, maybe a suggestion of oak – but nothing overt. All the angles and corners have been rounded, there’s a fine depth and minerality, but the wine isn’t incisive. What it is, is easy until the finish where there’s a sparkly complexity – a delicious finale – but wait a couple of years for this, for sure!
This and the Montmains have 80-year-old vines. On the border of Sechets in Epinottes and Minots. 25% oak again. September bottling
Hmm – fine clarity of aroma – this is lovely. Open, lovely fruit style lots of clarity – really delicious – you should wait a little – but that could be hard 😉 Bravo!
In Montmains but sitting on the border with Forêts. One year of elevage with zero intervention. December bottled.
Another mineral nose that not completely distinguished from the other to start but then a lovely vibration of minerality starts to show itself. Bright, pure, mineral – yes! Ooh that’s great. Easy!
2018 Chablis 1er Montée de Tonnerre
Bottled in December again. All wood vinification but elevage in tank thereafter.
That’s a nice fruit, concentrated at the core but a purity of agrume. Also beautiful intensity and clarity – this is grand cru style. Slowly fading in the finish, almost a grand cru style to this wine though the finish needs to grow I think!
2018 Chablis Bougros
Not bottled, still on fine lees. Vinified in barrel again 500 litre barrels and then elevage again in tank
A little touch of lime fruit here – the first. Intense, growing in width, becoming more and more mouth-filling. Lime fruit again – a little barrel smoke here – long, long, long – to wait for but this will be a super wine with doubt.
2018 Chablis Valmur
Old parcel, Grenouilles side.
More vibrant and more mineral – Grenouilles style! Lots of gas just now lots of complexity though. Fine line, riper fruit but delicious and again faintly smoky from the barrels.
A lovely depth and rounder fruit here. Some gas, but there’s drive here – widening as the gas fades, becoming more insistent, layered in the finish, almost an electric finish. Ooh – that will be great!