Simonnet-Febvre – 2020


Paul Espitalié 2022 Maison Simonnet-FebvreTasted with Paul Espitalié in Chablis, 12 January 2022.

9 Avenue Oberwesel
89800 Chablis
Tel: +33 3 86 18 95 69
More reports with Maison Simonnet-Febvre

Paul on 2021:
21 was certainly complicated but we managed an average of 33 hl/ha – so more than half a harvest but the whites have a very Chablis style with freshness and agrume fruit – different after the recent warmer vintages. The reds are agreeable but lighter – more the style of 10-15 years ago – easy to drink.”

Paul on 2020:
Also a small deficit due to the summer dryness and the roasting of some of the grapes but really not a bad volume. The Irancy saw some spectacular losses though – really half the grapes exposed to the sun were lost as they were roasted! The reds didn’t bring much but they surprised us with their freshness, purity and tension.

The wines…

I stopped visiting this producer – despite liking a number of their wines blind – because I always found the wines ‘hard’ – a certain mineral rigour and austerity when tasting in the region. I still have this feeling and have no explanations – maybe another enforced holiday will help my palate to ‘understand'(?) The reds, however, are very good!

All relatively recently bottled – except the GCs which are still waiting. 2019 remains the commercial vintage here for now. All natural cork today – they did use a DIAM-style seal for some time…

2020 Bourgogne Chitry Blanc
That’s a nicely open and perfumed freshness. Supple, mouth-filling. Clearly ripe but still fresh – there’s plenty of, mineral-based, structure too. That’s very good.

2020 Vezelay
A narrower but deeper nose, faintly herbed, an attractively herbed complexity. More airy – open, mouth-watering citrus style to this wine – still with a certain rigour like the last – but less. Very drinkable and finishing quite mineral. A good finish…

2020 Petit Chablis
All contracts, principally from Lignorelles
Nicely direct and pure – that’s a lovely nose. Wide, extra mineral quite some energy here too. A little mineral rigour again but this is very attractive wine – it’s an excellent PC!

2020 Petit Chablis AB
The certified organic version of the previous.
Narrower but deeper, perhaps a faint reduction with this minerlaity. Mouth-filling – growing in intensity, a broad and growing wave of citrus-infused flavour. The finish by far the most delicious so far and really persistent too – delicious finishing!

2020 Chablis
Grapes from Courgis, Prehy, Lignorelles – multiple locations.
A broad and fresh nose – lots of citrus complexity here – shaded towards lime. Modestly reductive, some structural rigour too. Growing more and more intense. Good…

2020 Chablis AB
Again organic, a blend of sources in Courgis and Beru
A similar reduction to this quite mineral nose. Very mineral over the palate still more than a suggestion of reduction and rigour – quite austere to taste today – more than the last…

2020 Chablis D1840
Bottom of Chapelots under Montée de Tonnerre. There’s about 15% Barrel elevage, 228s but 4-5-years-old
A little more open width, still mineral and a bit reductive – a slight extra perfume here though. There is more here, more depth of flavour and complexity but still an austerity – if a bit less… More saline finishing…

2020 Chablis 1er Beauroy
That’s a more approachable and interesting nose of fine purity, even a little perfume. Mouth-filling, structural rigour again. I like the complexity but I’m not really getting on with the style of the wines, so far…

2020 Chablis 1er Côte de Lechets
Hmm – this nose is less fine – high tones with a little pyrazine. The structure with less rigour but plenty of green in the flavours. Not so great…

2020 Chablis 1er Vaillons
Wide, nicely fresh and pure – even a little white flower complexity. Some rigour again but this flavour is more attractively melting over the palate than any wine before. I think this very good – but I’d still wait a couple of years – the finish is very good though…

2020 Chablis 1er Vaillons AB
Organic again. This cuvéer actually larger than the previous – it’s about €2 more expensive for the AB version
Like some of the other ABs – much more reductive than its non-AB counterpart. A bit more fat to the texture here, still a little reductively mineral rigour. I easily prefer the cheaper of these two to drink today…

2020 Chablis 1er Montmains
One of the most open and airy noses so far – a good invitation. Mouth-filling with plenty of energy – some extra-ripe fruit but sufficiently in the background to hardly distract. A good wine with a strong finish.

2020 Chablis 1er Montmains AB
Like the other ABs – more reductive. Really not that tasty versus the previous wine – narrower more focused toward its reductive minerality – again I prefer the non-organic cuvée.

All the right-bank wines that follow had about 25% of their fermentations in barrel:

2020 Chablis 1er Fourchaume
Rounder, faintly oak-spiced but not with the same rigour as previous wines. Mouth-filling and quite wide in style – cool fruited, rather contemplative – certainly not the most energetic of these wines but the finish is a very good one – here there’s plenty of flavour energy.

2020 Chablis 1er Fourchaume AB
The first organic that’s not overtly reductive – still, the nose is a little tighter! More mouth-watering, fine precision – the best wine of the tasting so far – a moderate but pleasing intensity to these clean, fine flavours. That’s very good – and the finish is lovely.

2020 Chablis 1er Mont de Milieu
A quite airy and open nose – this is a good invitation. Open, mouth-filling with fine depth of flavour – mineral and structural but without the disconcerting rigour of most previous wines. I like – another very good wine with a faint finishing barrel-spice but that will quickly fade…

2020 Chablis 1er Montée de Tonnèrre
Narrower and very faintly reductive. This is more structural and mineral in style – good clarity and not too much rigour – though still very much for keeping

2020 Chablis Blanchots
A deeper and quite vibrant nose – showing plenty of oak today but it’s not for drinking today, these grand crus won’t be commercialized for 2 years! Impressively mouth-filling, impressively concentrated. The flavours major on the barrel today but the shape, texture and depth of flavour are very encouraging – not to mention the length!

2020 Chablis Les Clos
A little more vibrant, still plenty of oak but a little less than the Blanchots. Broader width of flavour – more encompassing flavour – depth again – a little extra energy to, perhaps. Clearly longer finishing too. A wine that impresses…

2020 Chablis Preuses
A super nose – of course, the oak is still present – but this presents the best of the three today. There’s a lot to love here the structural but ‘relaxed’ shape – the layers of flavour – the beautiful balance of depth of flavour with the mouth-watering style of that flavour. Plenty of oak but it’s the least distracting of all these wines. This is the best today though all three could be excellent in 5 years time…

The reds:
They are starting to assemble these wines but nothing will be bottled before the Springtime:

2020 Irancy
A blend of many vineyard sources, about 50% barrel the rest tank elevage
A very bright red-berry fruit – not exactly pyrazine but in that direction with plenty of high-tones but also rather perfumed. Supple, with a width of flavour. Mouth-watering flavour – that’s both delicious and impressive – excellent wine.

2020 Irancy Paradis
100% barrel elevage – roughly 20% new barrels.
A silky-smooth nose – not showing many higher tones – but also no pyrazine. More sombre energy but also more depth and dimension to this flavour – the style is more contemplative here but also with more to contemplate! The last impression is of a small amount of tannin on the tongue. Impressive but I’d prefer, more often, the energy of the first wine.

2020 Irancy Vaupessiot
Elevage like the Paradis
The best combination of the two previous aromatics – deep and also perfumed high tones – fine definition here. Supple, concentrated – like the nose a combination of the depth of the last and the energy of the first – the tannin a little more aggressive here – and there’s something of the Rhône in the style – not quite Cornas, but… This is still a seriously impressive wine – wait 3-5 years before drinking!

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