Tasted in Chablis, 30 April, 2014 with Catherine Lesueur and Bernard Billaud.
1 quai de Reugny – 89800 CHABLIS
Tel. +33 (0)3 86 42 10 33+33 (0)3 86 42 10 33
Founded in 1815 when Charles Louis Noël Billaud returned from the Napoleonic wars. His first vines were planted in Mont de Milieu. The domaine expanded following the marriage between Jean Billaud and Renée Simon in the 1930s.
I like Bernard Billaud. He is rather assertive: “THE CHABLIS, is the about our cold sun and our stone base – a Kimmerigian stone base – even our Petit Chablis lies on Kimmerigian. This is what brings out the sweet, mouth-watering saltiness. This is Chablis. It’s also important to use temperature control so as not to lose the fullness of Chablis’ aromatic expression – this helps to retain the note of iodine. Using up to 20% wood to oxygenate the wine helps to diminish some of the minerality.”
I like that Bernard is so attached to his soil, and his temperature control, I just find it unusual that with such convictions he then choses to use wood, as it it is so clearly visible – yet the wines do still taste very fine. There is a shorthand here for you, should you wish, a sort of aide-memoir; the bottles with yellow capsules (tops!) have only seen elevage only in stainless steel. Those with black capsules have seen some wood elevage.
In the vines, it’s a mix of machine and hand harvesting. The Grand Crus and some old vines are always hand-picked, if only (sometimes) because they were planted in rows too narrow for modern picking machines.
2012 Petit Chablis
Light colour. It’s a deep, faintly mineral nose. Mouth-watering, freshly-sweet – very comely. The mid-palate has this note of iodine – almost a faint reduction. This finishes very nicely – a lovely PC.
2012 Chablis Tête d’Or
A cuvée of ~25k bottles from a plot next to the Mont de Milieu.
Wide and round aromas. In the mouth, again that sweet, slaty mouth-watering, moreish impression. Lovely concentration and depth of finish. Very tasty.
2009 Chablis 1er Monté de Tonnerre
Pale colour. Sweet fruit. – some grapefruit. Fresh, lithe and with a hint of padding. Cool fruit, nicely concentrated in the finish. A lovely wine that shows quite young today.
2011 Chablis Vaudesir
100% wood elevage.
The nose is obviously redolent of its elevage with creamy notes and something like pyrazine/asparagus. Lithe, crystal clear focus – only the finishing notes again show the creaminess of the barrels.