Des Quatre Chemins – 2020


Isabelle Collin Gautheron 2022 Domaine des Quatre CheminsTasted with Isabelle Collin Gautheron (pictured) and Sarah Vilain in Fontenay, 13 January 2022.

Domaine des Quatre Chemins
13, Rue des Puits
89800 Fontenay-Près-Chablis
Tel: +33 6 82 32 25 28

The name of this domaine comes from an ancient lieu-dit within the 1er cru of Vaulorent. “It’s a name which speaks to me,” says Isabelle. “We are Gautherons and of multiple generations here in Fontenay – my parent’s house is just next-door – but I, also, didn’t want any confusion with Domaine Gautheron in Fleys so I decided that this was a good name to choose!

The first vintage for this new domaine was 2018. Isabelle’s grandparents and great grandparents had vines – as far back as 5 or 6 generations. Her father began to vinify the produce but sold everything in bulk to the negociants – so it’s the next generation, Isabelle, that has taken it on the challenge – the challenge of bottling too. Isabelle began working with her father in Chablis but also gained experience in Champagne (Aube). With her father the domaine is 17 hectares but, for now, it’s just certain parcels that are kept for bottling here – 10-13,000 bottles. Covid slowed things a little but there are already some exports…

As befits an old family of Fontenay, all vines surround Fontenay… Already since 2018 the domaine is HVE certified… In the cuverie, it is all tank elevage but there are a couple of (228-litre) barrels to help oxygenate one of the 1er crus but this wine only spends 2-3 months in the barrel.

Isabelle on 2021/2020:
It was a ‘small’ third of a normal that was harvested in 2021 – though the year had its positives as I got a parcel of grand cru that year! 2020 had some losses too as it was about 45 hl/ha – plenty of our vines on the plateau that suffered in heat – in the flowering too – so it’s a good 20% lower volume here.

The wines…

A new domaine but one with excellent wines – the PC is a really great example.

All these 2020s were bottled November/December. A DIAM equivalent is used for all the wines:

2020 Petit Chablis
Just a single parcel – this was once classed as Chablis but got declassified in the 70s – from ‘Petit Preuses’ just like at Domaine Roy…
Starts very aromatic and perfumed – a little lime fruit in here too. Silky, mineral, really mouth-watering. That’s a juicy, delicious wine with just enough salinity to make you sure, blind, where this comes from. Bravo – benchmark PC!

2020 Chablis
A mix of parcels for this wine – a mix of ‘very old and very young’ vines.
A saline and faintly reductive nose – cliché and attractive Chablis. Larger, more mouth-filling but with fine texture. This is a wine that slowly becomes more direct and intense. Good tension and mouth-watering style – just a little more visible structure than the Petit Preuses – but keep this 12 months and drink thereafter. Super wine…

2020 Chablis 1er Fourchaume
This nose is a beauty – direct, perfumed but also overtly saline – we are still in Chablis! Hmm – this sits beautifully on the palate – a little green but more a mint-leaf complexity – lovely minerality – a wine of fluidity and clarity. Structured but never hard. Simply an excellent 1er cru from an excellent vintage. The finish is lovely and clean too…

2019! Chablis 1er Fourchaume
That’s really interesting – a deeper, riper fruit – more golden but with super freshness again – almost a bouquet-garni herb complexity – it’s really lovely. Silky, with more overt richness and extra silk to the texture. Supple, slowly melting its flavour over the palate – quite a contemplative but very delicious wine that holds plenty of tasty finishing length.

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