Tasted in Maligny with Jean-Paul Durup, 31 March 2021.
Domaine Jean Durup et fils
4 Grande Rue
Tel: +33 3 86 47 44 49
Here, is a strategic fort – the Château de Maligny – which was once a part of Champagne but fortunately for us the borders are a little different these days.
What you think is the château from the main road through Maligny is actually no more than the outbuildings of the château, perhaps the stables and lodgings – the château and its grounds would be worth a whole afternoon to explore – and Jean-Paul Durup would be your man for the tour!
I was slightly dumbfounded when Jean-Paul told me that this is the largest ‘independent’ domaine in Chablis – all-told they have 207 hectares of vines. Is this not something I should already know? Why does the operation seem so discrete? – At least in the circles where I move. I’ve noted for a while the renovation work on the large house that bears the name of the domaine, this sits on the main road opposite the grounds of the château but I had never considered the potential size of the operation. Despite owning 207 hectares of vines, the domaine produces just three of the potential levels of Chablis – for all their size, there are no grand crus here.
So, how did we get to here? This is another domaine that I chose to visit having tasted a great 2019 Petit Chablis from them, back in January 2021.
The last three generations of Durups have been here in Maligny – a couple of generations before that they were over the river in Villy. Jean-Paul’s grandfather, Pierre Gally, had very few vines, just 2 hectares, but at the end of the 1960s decided to buy tracts of land in areas that were planted before phylloxera though were never replanted with vines. It’s a strategy that seems to have paid ample dividends. 207 hectares sounds an outrageous amount of vineyard but from the perspective of an agricultural exploitation – presumably how the unplanted land was priced – that’s not particularly large for a farm!
Jean-Paul took on the domaine from his father – Jean – after the pair worked together for 15 years. A little more wine is exported than is sold in France – pre-covid. Sold in 45 different countries but with multiple labels – it tends to depend on the market – some Durup, some Eglantières but more often Château de Maligny, so it can be complicated!
Jean-Paul is personable and could talk about his wines and château all day. I found the wines harder to position – there are some great wines here for their labels, ones worth a search, but on this showing, there are also some average wines – the quality difference was striking. In this case, you need some guidance or the chance to taste before you buy.
All these wines see only tank elevage – there’s no wood used here:
2019 Petite Chablis
Seven different communes combined from 30 hectares!
Modest width but a nicely textural impression to this nose. Supple, delicious, slowly rolling around the mouth – very wide in the finish. A wine that sustains a lovely zesty finish.
A wide area covered, but less from the south of Chablis.
Quite open, a little powdery, faintly of apples. There’s a width of flavour here, concentration and texture too – more than a suggestion of pyrazine in the flavours. I like the shape and the finishing intensity, quite mineral here, persistent too – but the flavour isn’t really my thing…
2019 Chablis La Vigne de la Reine
From a valley in Maligny called Mignotte
A nose that starts deep and bready, fresher with air, some faint pyrazine again? Supple, concentrated, yes a small pyrazine but also a nicely textured development of flavour too. The finish is excellent – nice energy and depth of flavour here.
2019 Chablis Marche du Roi
A south-east-facing quite steep hillside. This separated since 2003 here the old frontier between Champagne and Burgundy.
A little more floral, still with the apple of a previous wine too. Wide, fresher, more mineral and mouth-watering. That’s a great finish again – open and very attractive – but another wine with more than a suggestion of pyrazine…
2019 Chablis Carré de Cesar
A fine width of aroma – mineral and very attractive. Direct, mineral, structural. Lots of citrus fruit providing the backbone here. Intense – ooh that’s an excellent wine – long, slowly mouth-watering, again zesty in style here. Back to the very fine quality of the Petit Chablis!
So far all wines have been DIAM sealed.
2019 Chablis Vieilles-Vignes
Vines from 1920 – in Villy mainly.
An airy top note over a more concentrated yellow citrus. Direct, fresh, proper Chablis structure and direction. The fruit is ripe, almost exotic but never heavy – long and intense finishing with a steady mouth-watering style. I found the previous finish more delicious but not longer. Another excellent Chablis.
2019 Chablis 1er Fourchaume
From 4 sites
That’s a nice nose, fresh, golden d’orée fruit. Rounder yet fresh, almost incisive – intense, super finishing. That’s a lovely finish again. The most complete wine yet!
2019 Chablis 1er Homme Mort
Similar to the Fourchame but here is a much more floral impression. Clean, cool-fruited, floral here too – ooh – that’s so good – easily my favourite so far – wait a year or two for the ultimate fineness of texture from this minerality, but the overall wine is more than excellent.
Have to leave Maligny for the other 1ers:
Was abandoned for generations after phylloxera due to the difficulty of cultivating. Father in 78 was first to replant. Have 8 hectares here.
Ooh – that’s a great nose – vibrant, mineral and floral. In the mouth easy entry but silky and mineral -structural but hardly hard. Multi-dimensional in the finish – a great wine.
2019 Chablis 1er Montée de Tonnere
2 ha of this.
More depth and ripeness of fruit in these aromas. Also a hint of extra exoticism but not too strongly. Wide, mineral, growing in intensity – melting with very good flavour. Wide and persistently mineral finishing again. Very good, indeed excellent wine.
2019 Chablis 1er Montmains
0.54 ha in two parcels
A width of aroma – there’s energy here – almost a fizz to this floral-accented nose. Cool-fruit with a colder impression to the minerality – doing deep with this flavour. Intensely finishing – proper Chablis, intense and mineral finishing – that’s really super.
2019 Chablis 1er Reine Mathilde
A blend of 1ers made since 2003, not always the same blend. A different label for this wine.
Not the most forceful nose but one that has an attractively airy style despite a clear minerality. Rounder, supple – ripe but not exotically fruited – very mouth-watering, faintly saline wine. Lots of fine citrus agrume here. Delicious.