Simonnet-Fèbvre 2012

Update 2.7.2014(27.5.2014)billn

DSC03901Tasted in Chablis with Emmanuelle Pasquet 16 April, 2014.

Maison Simonnet-Fèbvre
9 avenue d’Oberwesel
Tel. +33 (0)3 86 18 95 69+33 (0)3 86 18 95 69

The estate of Simonnet-Fèbvre was founded in 1840 and is currently managed by Jean-Philippe Archambaud. It’s a much wider range of wines here, including Crémant de Bourgogne – important for the company as they’ve been producing bubbles since 1840, but in those days it was called Chablis-Mousseaux! Today they commercialise about 900k bottles per year, of-which about 50% is from Chablis, 30% from the Grand Auxerrois and 20% is bubbles – though today it has to wear the label Crémant de Bourgogne.

Wines here take their elevage in mainly tank but there’s a little oak too – well, actually not here in Chablis, this is mainly just Crémant today, the main cuverie is in Chitry-le-Fort. Here is a great place to see the Crémant ‘cages’ – 381 bottles to the cage. There are 5 cuvées with bubbles; 3xNV, a Très Brut and a non-dosage Extra-Brut. These wines use grapes from Auxerrois and Tonnerrois vineyards (known as Grand Auxerrois) – so far. A part of a 10 ha of vineyard close to Semur-en Auxois and Pouilly-en-Auxois is used to make a sparkling rosé wine which is still ageing at the moment and will eventually be sold not as Crémant de Bourgogne, rather as
a mousseux. They taste well – I had a slight preference for the Brut over the Brut Rosé.

S-F also have what they describe as their ‘100 Series’ – three wines; a chardonnay, a pinot noir and a rosé made from cinsault. They may be much cheaper than Bourgognes but they offer very little character other than varietal.

There is no batonnage here. Petit Chablis and Chablis have less than 1 year elevage, 14 months for the 1ers, 18 months for the Grand Crus – except Les Clos which gets 2 years. The malos are always 100% completed. Overall, I found the wines to be concentrated but today, not with the amplitude I’d expected.

2011 Bourgogne Chardonnay
Grapes from Vezalay and Chitry.
The aroma is like many Chablis from the vintage; a pyrazine-type note that eventually presents as asparagus. It’s in the flavour too – not my favourite. There’s a little more fat than most Chablis and a decent density and length.

2012 Chablis
A blend of both domaine and purchased grapes and must.
Fresh with modest aromatic depth, nicely herby and just a little floral. Nice feel on the palate – lithe, quite silky and with growing intensity. The finish is slowly lingering. Less super-energetic than many from 2012, yet very tasty.

2012 Chablis 1er Montmains
More power and density on the nose. Full, quite round with a slowly building intensity that equally slowly lingers in the finish. Tasty wine if with limited excitement – more contemplative.

2012 Chablis 1er Vaillons
Here is more aromatic depth – perhaps distinction too – with a growing white-flower dimension. Round, a little padded, with growing intensity. Very tasty!

2012 Chablis 1er Fourchaume
Both higher and deeper tones and another level of focus and interest. Good density and almost a little dry material in the finish. I’d still like a little more energy.

2011 Chablis Les Clos
Here is a little asparagus herbaceousness. Finally, here is energy. Cool fruit, super complexity and dimension. Very good length too that pushes through a mineral mid-palate. The first wine that I’d really consider buying.

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