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Petit Chablis 2012

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Tasted in Chablis 17 April, 2014.

More often than not, Petit Chablis is grown on Portlandian rock outside of the old Chablis boundaries, though that doesn’t necessarily mean it is far from much more important vines, the tops of many hills – including Grand Cru hills – are Portlandian! An exception in this list (the only one that I know of) is the wine of Billaud-Simon – rabid Kimmerigians!

Hervé Tucki of La Chablisienne suggests that you can judge a vintage just by looking at the Petit Chablis. I like 2012 so much that I thought I’d do the same. I started with 20 wines, hoping to find half a dozen that I could heartily recommend – in the end I had 10. A great result I think!

All wines were tasted blind, and in the random order listed below. I added the name of the producer only afterwards.

1. Domaine des Malandes
Bright, fresh, faintly phenolic – attractive. Intense and mineral. The majority of the flavour is in the finish. A frank attack!

2. Domaine Thierry Hamelin
A denser aromatic – deeper colour too – faint citrus. Softer entry – more comfort. No lack of flavour and indeed length. Very tasty.
3. Domaine du Chardonnay
Wide, with a hint of ripeness. Very nice flavour and a little muscle too. intensity with a nicely mouth-watering acidity. Good!

4. Domaine Charly Nicolle
The nose is a little estery and biscuity. The flavour is better than the nose suggests with some sweet and savoury references plus good acidity.

5. Domaine Jean-Claude Courtault
Depth of herbs nd phenols – impressive. Slightly soft with good texture and no aggression. Fine, mouth-watering flavour. This could easily pass for a villages wine!

6. Domaine Stéphanie et Vincent Michelet
Aromatic is forward and interesting – with ripe fruit notes.Less ripe palate – more mineral. Good energy and intensity. Just about mouth-watering and with a good finish.

7. Domaine Roland Lavantureux
Good aromatic depth and a little agrume fruit. Nice width and just a little softness – a clear density of flavour here (uncommon!). In the context the acidity seems modest – but there’s plenty in any other context! Super.

8. Domaine Les Marronniers
Rather pale. A pretty and fresh nose with a few ripe fruit elements. Wide, steely, fresh flavour and plenty of flavour intensity and eventually density. Good but just a little sour finishing.

9. Domaine de Mauperthuis
Some depth and concentration on the nose – a certain confidence too. Wide, fresh, mineral with citrus acidity and good length. Very sleekly shaped in the finish. Lovely

10. Domaine Lamblin et Fils
A hint more colour. Concentrated ripe fruit and a certain roundness. Soft at the edges but good concentration. Nice texture and mouth-watering flavour. A mineral finish of good length. Another wine of villages level.
11. Domaine Billaud-Simon
An interesting nose – some heft and also something a little savoury, eventually lime fruit. Width, some sweetness, good concentration and intensity. Mouth-watering. Very good!

12. Domaine Alain Geoffroy
A modest but fresh nose with a hint of CO2. Nice width and fine acidity.Slowly lingering. A wine that seems a little one-dimensional today, but at the same time satisfying.

13. La Chablisienne
A discreet nose, but one of depth and gravitas. Good texture and width. I like the concentration and authority. A touch of salinity too. Best so far – excellent!
14. Domaine Louis Moreau
High and low tones – quite some vivacity and ripe fruit. Full, round, padded yet with plenty of freshness. Another concentrated wine that could be a good Chablis.
15. Laroche
Our only screw-capped contender. Fresh, airy if rather a modest nose. Good width and plenty of acidity that I think this is just about ripe. This has a great finish. Just scrapes a special recommendation!

16. Domaine Gérard Tremblay
Forward, ripe – almost banana and pineapple nose. The acidity is a little sour but there’s some sweetness behind. Quite good length – but more a wine of ‘parts’.

17. J.Moreau et Fils
The nose is tight – indeed a little sullen, but obviously concentrated.Round, mouth-filling though the leading-edge of acidity is a little sour. Finishing flavour is very nice though. Could be good.

18. Domaine des Hâtes
Understated aromatic, but with heft and a little salinity. Ebullient with just enough sweetness. Mouth-watering and mineral. Good Petit Chablis.

19. Louis Jadot
A shy nose again. Wide but reasonably friendly with slowly building acidity. There’s nice mid-palate detail. A faint sourness but otherwise another good Petit Chablis.

20. William Fevre
Minerals, herbs, phenolics – a rather interesting nose. Sweetness and nice acidity – the finish is very pretty too. The flavours seem a little diffuse today but great potential I think.

I also note, via the BIVB, Bourgogne Wines Direct N°182 / April 2014 that there is some very interesting Petit Chablis about to hit the market too:

petit-pied“A Petit Chablis produced from a “Franc de Pied” vine
“Franc de Pied” refers to those vines that are not grafted onto American rootstock, which were almost completely wiped out during the phylloxera epidemic in the late 19th century. However, the Chablis brand L&C Poitout is now launching a Petit Chablis cuvée called L’Inextinct, which tells another story altogether!

L’INEXTINCT is the name of the first “Franc de Pied” Chardonnay to be bottled in Chablis since the phylloxera epidemic.

Catherine and Louis Poitout have produced a unique Petit Chablis from a half-hectare plot that was planted in the 1920s and survived the plague that devastated France’s vines.
The 2013 vintage of around 1,000 bottles will go on sale on 29 May – the moment to sample a wine with a little taste of the good old days perhaps.”

Agree? Disagree? Anything you'd like to add?