Tasted in Chablis with Didier Seguier, 06 January 2021.
Domaine William Fèvre
21, avenue Oberwesel
Tel: +33 3 98 98 98
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Didier on 2019:
“A difficult spring with some worries of frost, but in the end not a lot of damage – the quality of the flowering was more important to the end volume and it’s probable that the cold had much to do with that. The first part of the summer was very hot, but August a bit less so, which helped to keep a certain freshness. We were certainly a little later in the vines than in 2018 but harvested very clean grapes. The volume is comparable to 2017 – about 20% down in Chablis but closer to 50% down in the crus – there’s not a lot. There was some stress from the weather during flowering, three episodes of canicule here but none in August – the wind of August concentrated the grapes – also concentrating the acidity too. The 2019s are different to 18 as they are more concentrated – of course with lower yields but the acidity is better. The precision, purity and definition really comes from these assets… The wines are marked by their terroirs but they have fine balance and in some cases I think we have very great wines.
“I agree that they are surprisingly approachable and you don’t easily find the sun in these wines, but I won’t be surprised if they choose to tighten for a while after bottling.”
Not just another masterclass chez Fèvre this year – Crystalline, powerful wines in 2019 – I would even have paid to have made this tasting!
Mostly planning to bottle in February-March, some smaller volume cuvées have done a little earlier as don’t like to leave small volumes too long on elevage.
2019 Petit Chablis
Bought grapes – there is no domaine PC. This and the Chablis to be bottled June-July
Fresh and wide – not full-power but with lovely purity. Wide, textural, almost rich but with an agrume energy that keeps you focused on the wine. Lots of finishing concentration – reminds of the 16s perhaps more classic, less exotic.
The rest, as usual, are all Domaine wines:
48 hectares of vines with an average age of 50 years – ‘more than most 1er crus’
Extra depth and extra floral top-notes. Attack – minerality, juicy flavour, a faint tannin in the middle – a basic Chablis with everything. Bravo! Extra impact plus a reprise in the finish too.
2019 Chablis 1er Beauroy
1.1 ha from three different parcels. On lees, assembled – staying in tank until bottling time maybe in February.
There’s some barrel elevage – and the first nose shows that but subsequently much less as the wine focuses on deeper aromas. Wide, textured depth to this flavour – again a hint of barrel here – though that will be gone within 12 months. Very concentrated again and particularly-so in the finish where there’s a little salinity showing through.
3.8 ha Butteaux (mainly) plus Forets, Montmains – about the same each of those two
More open, airy and overtly fresh. Plenty of gas in this one. But still an open wine of energy and growing flavour complexity, the last seemed constrained by its concentration today – this most definitely not. Very long finish. Great Montmains.
One of the earliest harvesting areas. First organic vineyard for Fevre in 2006. 3.5 hectares mainly ‘Vaillons’
An airy, almost floral-citrus mix of aroma. Very open, beautifully detailed and gorgeously complex – bravo Vaillons. A modestly saline wine with a great citrus finish. Pure and brilliant.
Not many producers; 17 ha in total, here are 1 ha from 2 parcels from the top of appellation, N-NE facing so with freshness and acidity. It’s part of Vaillons but these vines are over the top of the hill so not the same exposure. Old vines with a small yield. Decided to separate since 1998, before was in the Vaillons. ‘Naturally these vines don’t produce much, only 40 hl/ha in 2018 – there’s a lot of court noué here, hence the low yields of small grapes. Bottled just before Christmas.
Less open yet with superb clarity and depth – almost a great nose. Wider, more granular complexity – the growing width is incredible – bravo wine! The faint tannin lasting a long time in the mouth.
0.55 ha. ‘We’ve had these vines 7-8 years now and we are starting to see what we want from the wines.’ Also bottled just before Christmas.
The first wine that is more focused on the floral elements though certainly with some clarity, some purity of minerals below. Very wide – and here is a little oak trying to stow away – very concentrated but without overt richness as the balance is so good – but there’s density for sure. A finish that is very impressively persistent. Potentially more than Les Lys in reserve – but that wine shows a little better today. Still probably a great MdM!
None of the following are bottled:
2.24 ha, from Pied d’Aloup (25%), Chapelots (50%) and Bréchain (25%), this latter parcel with vines from 1936. ‘Always a paler colour to all the other wines.’
Very deep, perhaps a shade of reduction in here. More vibrant wine, super energy. A bundle of energy – hard to keep in the mouth. The energy disguising the concentration – except for the finish, less to see today but clearly with more in store than the last wines. Bravo!
3.6 ha one of biggest owners. Much marne and Kimmerigian – ‘the first for depth the second for tension.’
An open width of floral aroma – that’s so attractive – mineral clarity in support. Drive, intensity – very pure, growing even more in intensity. Large-scaled wine in the finish. So young but that’s up there with the Lys as not just a great wine, but one that I should personally buy! But it’s a 10-year wait as minimum for this!
2019 Chablis Bougros
“The improvement here is a big satisfaction – it’s a completely different wine to 20 years ago. It’s a generous terroir with some deep soils and plenty of yield. Organic since 2006 and we’ve worked hard to limit the yield and there’s now a balance here that we didn’t have before. There are no well-known producers here so historically it hasn’t had a high regard in general, but we can see now that it’s not an accidental grand cru – I’m very happy.” Biodynamic practice in GCs since 2010. On the plateau part.
Another wine that’s attractively floral more than suggesting an extra aromatic depth. Some gas – much more width, similar energy to the Vaulorent. Calming slightly in the middle, wide and comfortable finish. I lake these two shades at play that’s a great wine – excellent grand cru – the finish returns and hangs around much longer than you or I would expect.
2019 Chablis Vaudesir
1.20 ha in 3 parcels on a steep slope.
A fuller richer width of aroma – perhaps a note of oak but it’s so fleeting. Yes, there’s oak in here, but it’s just one more note to add to the complexity of the wine. Again super-persistent. Excellent wine.
From the summit of Valmur.
A little hint of the barrel again but less-so than Vaudesir – a slightly more golden style to the citrus fruit. Large-scaled but very open, less attack of intensity but intensity all the same. Rather like the Bougros growing much more in flavour even after you swallow – only great wines do this.
2019 Chablis La Côte de Bougerots
The third year in a row, this ‘demoted’ in favour of their Preuses – it seems fixed! Two parcels on the steep hillside next to the road and river – 2.80 ha and they have replanted 0.4 ha.
What a great nose – full of agrume complexity, mineral at the base. Vibrant, a little floral this is concentrated but with the energy to balance, a simply great finish, melting concentrated deliciousness over the palate. Rich finishing but I forgive that as it’s so delicious – excellent wine!
2 parcels, one of 1 ha the other of 1.2 ha. ‘We rarely have austerity in Preuses.’ Tank sample for bottling next week
Cut from the same cloth as the ‘Côte’ – what a nose. A slightly granular tannin at the base of this wine – extra-wide, beautiful mixing of tension, energy and minerality – intensity without ever becoming too much. Bravo!
4.10 ha, principally the higher section but some lower towards Grenouilles – mainly planted before 1950 by that father of Willaim Fevre. Always the only wine in this – or pretty much any line-up of great Chablis that makes me think – Chevalier-Montrachet!
Different! The most overtly floral and of course incredibly inviting nose – it must be great! Mouthfilling, a halo of fresh energy. A fleeting suggestion of barrel but again just another note of complexity. More Chablis, less Chevalier-Montrachet than many vintages I taste – perhaps not the nose – but still a wine to wait for. Any more than 10 years will be to your advantage, but 10 should be a great starting point