Tasted with Margaux & Michel Laroche in Chablis, 28 January 2021.
Margaux on 2019:
“A year that I remember as being a little less ‘easy’ than 2018 – in the main we had two large challenges – the frost of Springtime, though we didn’t suffer too much. The flowering lasted quite long which probably contributed to some millerandage – the summer brought only 10mm of rain and very hot weather – some of the grapes roasted much earlier than you normally see – the west-facing edges of vineyards, mainly. In our Petit Chablis, we lost a lot, 39 hl/ha was the result. Our Chablis delivered more like 50 hl/ha. Generally, it looks like the clay soils suffered less water-stress. The 1ers brought 45 hl/ha – I’m happy with that. We started 5-6 days earlier than we first anticipated as the acidities suddenly started to sink – we had to try and harvest everything as quick as possible as with the original date chosen for harvesting we knew we would be far too late for the last parcels. We had some places that jumped from 11.5 to nearly 14 in 7 days – it was very fast. We yielded 45 hl/ha on average – so for us above 40 is a good vintage we are between 40-50 each year.”
Very sophisticated wines chez d’Henri in 2019 – sleek and beautifully textured – plenty of salinity and great finishes. I’d wait for a couple of them to completely absorb their wood elevage – but given that many won’t be commercialised before they are two-years-old, that won’t be a problem!
For the bottling there are some wines with screw-cap, the rest are DIAM5 – some DIAM10 and even some DIAM30 – ‘though maybe the latter is a little too ‘tight’’ says Margaux. All our Petit Chablis was bottled in May to July, half our Chablis is also bottled – we don’t use a lot of sulfur so I’m happy to keep the rest of the wine in tank. The 1ers have not yet been bottled:
Looking for 55-60 hl – but achieved 39. from multiple areas, about half above Valmur and Clos, some more above Bienes. This part-harvested at start, and also the finish of the harvest.
A width of fine lemon citrus. Wide, that’s very mineral too. Lovely concentration but balanced with plenty of freshness – wide and long. That’s a great PC…
This a mix of domaine and a contract where d’Henri makes the treatments and the harvest. This bottled in July.
That’s a finer-boned nose – wide and pure. Incisive, gorgeously textured and mouth-watering. That’s a great Chablis.
The following wines all tasted from tank:
Parcels near Montee de Tonnerre and facing Blanchots – 3 terroirs. Roughly 20-25% with elevage in wood.
Here’s a more vibrant aroma – agrume and very inviting. More concentration and width here, a little more composed and thoughtful flavour – but with a depth of flavour that’s also more floral – but a great finish. I prefer the shape of the last but there is much more complexity here and it will become more direct with longer elevage – it’s not normally commercialized before its 2-years-old. Very different, but also a potentially great Chablis.
2019 Chablis 1er Troesmes
In Beauroy, not easy to sell under this name. ‘Lots of court noué here so a lot of small grapes and therefore concentration – of sugar too – so a challenge to harvest with maturity but still acidity.’ South-facing on SO4 which is always early harvesting – this ready a week before many other vines.
A depth of aroma, very citrus. Very silky, lots of concentration, here with an accent of salinity, mouth-watering. A completely delicious wine that needs just a touch more energy today for great but it’s clearly excellent wine.
2019 Chablis 1er Fourchaume
5.5 hectares! In 6 parcels aged between 80 and 30 years old. This a small cuvée with fermentation in tank but then further elevage in amphora.
A more vibrant nose of chalky yellow citrus – that’s great. Mouth-filling, very mineral in style, a touch of tannin. Intense finish – that’s super here, slightly herbed complexity but clearly a wine of purity. Super wine again.
2019 Chablis 1er Fourchaume
This the first of two bottlings, the second not yet done – a mix of tank and wood elevage that was assembled in August.
That’s a wide, floral nose – a little stricter citrus below. Big in the mouth, lots of mouth-filling energy – accented with salinity, a purity of minerality and just a suggestion of the wood from its elevage. I like this a lot…
2019 Chablis 1er Homme Mort
Don’t make every year this single parcel wine – they have 6 parcels in Fourchaume, this planted in 1970 on a steep section – there’s 2 hectares here, another – the next wine – 150 meteres away planted in 1937. A mix of jars and large-format barrels about 70% in tank.
Here is the first nose to show some wood – but still wide and attractively citrus. A little softer entry but widening in mineral style over the palate. The wood flavour visible too – but give this 2 years and drink the previous wine while you are waiting – the finish is very long and has a presence.
Grandfather always called this ardilles a word indicating argilles – clay – the soil’s a little different here.
A concentrated nose – citrus, hardly any wood. Extra saline, wide bubbling with energy, never strident or austere – suave. A finish that grows and grows and grows – not a wine that’s not super-dynamic but still a great wine of balance, depth and still classicism…