Tasted in Chablis with Samuel Billaud, 08 January 2020.
Domaine Samuel Billaud
8 Boulevard Dr Tacussel
Tel: +33 6 37 52 50 32
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Samuel on 2019:
“I think it’s a super year for quality, some problems as regards the volume – less-so for PC and Chablis, but the crus are down – some quite strongly in volume. Partly it was down to frost in the Spring, but July-August had no rain practically so not much volume – on the other hand, the wines are concentrated. Fermentation went well and malo is underway – no VCI from 2018 – my parcels are too small and it would have been too complicated.”
Samuel on 2018:
Practically unique – the great surprise of the year – maturity and volume – traditionally, vintages have one or the other, but nobody remembers both. 2018 is a very charming vintage when compared to the crystalline tension of 16 and 17. Important volumes but also 12-14° and completely clean grapes. The historically more mineral terroirs are starting to show very well – the others are still quite flattering but I expect they will get better – only my thoughts.
I love the style chez Samuel this vintage; dynamic, vibrant wines at this address in 2018 – wow! And there’s much more wine than in 2017! The early wines are simply delicious with the well-managed aspects of the 2018 vintage, but some of the later wines are simply classic – you may have a very hard time to guess the vintage, blind.
Harvested mid-harvest from their parcel above Les Clos.
Not a big nose, but a nose of fine lemon-citrus clarity. Big, incisive, mouth-filling wine. Nicely structural no hard edges, mouth-watering with a blend of the mineral and the fruit. Bravo PC!
Pargues, Grand Ecarts with 80-year-old vines, and Chapelots – roughly equal parts of the three parcels.
Lemon fruit again, here with a little more depth below and salinity above. A touch of gas but this is altogether more direct and mineral – great tension, a mineral tension, a little hardness so wait 6 months – but a very great Chablis for the vintage.
In the middle of Montmains from 35 yo vines, all in tank.
A tighter nose, very faintly reductive. Ooh – super-fresh again – wide, really energetic – love the style chez Samuel this vintage. Vibrant finishing! Bravo!
2018 Chablis 1er Vaillons Vieilles-Vignes
From the heart of vaillons, vines over 60-years-old.
A little corn-flake style reduction – needs some air. Drive but with an extra depth to the texture, this extra richness works deliciously but seems to offer less tension than the Montmains. The finish is great though.
The last wines bottled in August, just before the harvest. NDETEC corks from Trescases for the GCs, all the rest are DIAM:
2018 Chablis 1er Fourneaux
42-year-old vines on quite a steep slope, all made in tank. The first wine still in tank.
A little extra freshness here – still a slightly compact nose, but with a growing and attractive complexity. A little gas. Much more open, mouth-filling fresh wine, a little softening of ripe citrus fruit but this is completely excellent – Lovely wine super length…
2018 Chablis 1er Mont de Milieu
3 heights of vines, all harvested by hand and vinified together as they are small parcels. 20% 450l barrel elevage – all assembled in tank on lees. Youngest vines here are well over 60 years-old.
A more profound nose though a little narrower in width and more attenuated above – to start. Ooh, now this is classically mineral and saline – beautiful in the mouth. Almost a small suggestion of austerity. An excellent wine for 2018.
2 parcels of 40 and 45-year-old vines: the top of Chapelots, other at the top of the triangle. Same elevage as Mont de Milieu.
A little extra minerality in the depth of this aroma – more open above too. Like the last, much more the classic mineral style – this much wider. Clearly a bravo wine as there’s just a hint more fresh energy!
More than 70 years old vines from Samuel’s great-grandmother – ‘The most mineral part of Vaillons.’ Long elevage but no barrels for this one
A little toasty reduction here. Ooh – cool, almost cold fruit – mouth-filling with minerality. A classic, young, almost austere Chablis for the patient. Bravo!
2018 Chablis Bougros
Great nose – automatically – the first, extra aeration does start to bring more oak. Crystalline, great drive, intensity too. The oak flavour is a little forward but will fade over the net 1-2 years. More than excellent! The length is brilliant!
2018 Chablis Blanchots
Older 5-7 year-old barrels used here.
Not the weight of aroma but a beautiful purity of aroma. Vibrant, energetic wine – a busy wine, it’s almost dynamic, intense and mineral finishing – such a great finish!
More than 60 year-old vines, just one large barrel – a 3-year-old barrel.
Wide, saline, blended with citrus and a suggestion of barrel in this complexity. Ooh – that’s great, density and energy, a modest touch of fat to the texture – but such great and mobile minerality in the flavour – bravo!
2018 Chablis Vaudesir
Two parcels east and west, one next to Moutonne, the next close to Valmur/Grenouilles. ‘The two sides bring a special balance.’
A bigger nose, of granular complexity, becoming both more floral and more mineral with air. Fuller, rounder but shimmering with acid-led complexity. This a brilliant mouthful of wine – again with amazing persistence!
More than 70 yo vines. Barrels of 2 years old, and like all of these it’s still in elevage.
Fine aromatics except that the oak is showing a little more. More saline on the entry, more direct, dynamic complexity – ooh – even more special! A more contemplative and direct length – stricter perhaps – still a great wine on the way…
2018 Chablis Les Clos
Top of the hill next the Billaud-Simon/Faiveley. Young oak but none new.
A more floral aspect to this nose, some oak is visible below too. More power, less overt complexity to start but lots in the middle. This has a super, haunting, finish, no fireworks but length, length, length – maybe a little more mineral reprise after some short time. More composed today but lots of material. Excellent!