Bernard Defaix – 2019


Didier Defaix 2021 Domaine Bernard DefaixTatsed in Chablis (Milly) with Didier Defaix, 06 April 2021 – the first morning of the big frost.

Domaine Bernard Defaix
17 Rue du Château, Milly
89800 Chablis
Tel: +33 3 86 42 40 75

Another visit to a new domaine (for me) as I tasted a great Petit Chablis from here back in Januray…

Here is Didier, who works together with his wife, Helene and his brother, Sylvain.

It was Didier and Sylvain’s parents who constructed the domaine. Their grandparents had 5 hectares of vines but with 3 sons, each going their separate ways to form their own domains, the surface of land that they inherited was very very small for each of them. Yet today, here is a domaine of 27 hectares – about 12 hectares Chablis and a similar surface for the 1ers – indeed 9 hectares of (just!) Côte de Lechets! There’s a négoce activity here too with old, long-term, contracts.

This domaine is organic and Ecocert certified, Didier adding “Hopefully we stay that way despite the strong frost this year.“. 90% of the production is exported from here and they are quite diversified in terms of markets, so in terms of the current situation ‘We’re still selling, a little less, but generally our sales are not too bad.

The wines…

There’s a more elegant than structural style to many of the wines here- but delicious – a few genuinely great, more complete, wines too

All the 2019 cuvées have been bottled but the large cuvée of Côte de Lechets (9 hectares) still has a final bottling to be done. Their 1ers and grand crus were bottled after the previous harvest – it’s a longer elevage, aided by the extra space in their new cuverie. All DIAM here – some different densities are used “But we are happy with them they really keep the style of wine which we want to produce.” Some markets have some screw-cap possibilities here too – but only 10-15% of the production – it’s the customer who decides:

2019 Petit Chablis
Vines around Milly – some from Poinchy & Beines too.
An aromatic freshness, faintly citrus too. This is easy over the palate but with a good mouth-watering style – almost juicy with a good citrus/citrus-skin, finish. Completely delicious PC!

2019 Chablis
Like the last only tank elevage – temperature-controlled.
A deeper nose, here the citrus-skin ‘zestiness’ is more prominent. Fuller, lovely texture also very mouth-watering, finishing again like the last wine – but more complex and a with some extra salinity. Super villages.

2019 Chablis Vieilles-Vignes
A parcel just under Les Lys 1er cru – about 50-year-old vines of around 1 ha. Was bottled at the start of this year. There’s about 25% barrel used here – ‘228s but hardly anything new’ – for the other cuvées of 1ers they are 500-litre barrels.
Here a more yellow citrus, rounded with barrel notes. Rounder in the mouth but obviously mineral and with a nice cool-fruit style. Yet another delicious finish, slightly textured and zesty.

2019 Chablis 1er Les Lys
A larger nose – fresher more inviting more openly citrus in style – yellow-citrus. Really mouth-filling, here is a volume and concentration of flavour – but not dense. Rolls over the palate with a lovely texture – always moving and showing a nice energy. Excellent wine – finer rather than strongly finishing – but still long.

2019 Chablis 1er Vaillons
A little more depth to this nose and with a silky impression too. More direct, more mineral and mouth-watering, not a dense wine, rather a wine that moves over the palate in nicely fresh waves and with a broader finish. The same elevage as the Lys with 25% wood – but for these two 1er crus I don’t really see the wood as I did for the VV.

2019 Chablis 1er Côte de Lechet
Same vinification again.
A little touch of barrel on this one but with lots of open volume and a yellow citrus invitation. No oak in the flavours – here there’s more cut, more definition, wide and direct – I love the structure, the shape of this wine. So mouth-wateringly mineral – no hard edges – and completely delicious – bravo 1er cru.
2019 Chablis 1er Côte de Lechet Reserve
From a single parcel, just over 1 ha of vines that are a little over 60-years-old. 50% barrel elevage.
A waft of oak but afterwards it’s on a much lower level. The direction and the structure of the last wine – but more serious – I won’t say hard but for keeping a little longer – the finish widens out with a fine-textured and very long impression. Another great wine but keep this a couple of years before attacking.
2019 Chablis Vaudesir
All barrel – none new.
Some oak notes but here is a clarity and minerality that is so involving and completely inviting. It’s the clarity of flavours that set this wine apart – the oak is there but instantly forgotten – the volume, the sparkling energy – concentrated but still airy – that’s a beautiful wine. Bravo – another great 2019 Vaudésir.

2019 Chablis Bougros
A vertical nose – deep, finely mineral – high-tones too – just not so wide, the oak is currently quite discrete here. Wide, a little more attack, some richness to this flavour. Really a concentration in the middle and finishing flavours. Successive waves of finishing flavour. Really impressive – reflective wine – the Vaudésir is my choice for today but in another 5+ years maybe I will change my mind. Excellent grand cru…

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

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