Tasted with Guillaume Vrignaud in Fontenay-près-Chablis, 11 May 2021 – with a bad back this day!
Another frost-delayed visit:
Guillaume on 2020:
“2020 was not bad for us. We had a bit more rain and a bit less roasting of the grapes on the vines, so around 50 hl/ha was the result and we have to be happy with that. We’re just starting to make the first bottlings now. We started harvesting 24 August – one day earlier than in 2003. We stopped harvesting in the early afternoons as it was getting too warm. It wasn’t really the alcoholic degree that was the determining factor, rather the pips started changing colour and the taste was good – so decided to go. The wines seemed a little less fruity than 2019 but after malos they seemed the grow from that perspective.”
Guillaume on 2019:
“We started harvesting around 9-10 September – from the start the grapes and the juice tasted great but I still had the impression that the hydric stress of the vintage had delivered something that wasn’t completely ripened. Not quote 50 hl/ha but close, so again happy. The frost that we had didn’t take too much. There’s more alcohol in the wines in 2019 vs 2020 though.”
There’s lovely shape and clarity to the wines here in 2019 – I’m pretty sure that I like these 19s even more than the 18s!
Guillaume explains “I’ve used DIAM since 2008 – not the whole range that year but I was so happy with the result the rest of the range quickly followed. It’s allowed me to reduce the amount of SO2 that I use, and of-course, I don’t have problems with corked wine. I’m testing some DIAM Origine too.”
2019 Petit Chablis
Bottled in July 2020. On the Portlandian Plateau des Clos – 4.7 hectares
This is very aromatic – there’s a little herb in the mix but it’s attractive all the same. Easy over the palate but with a fine blend of minerality and a softness to the structure. I really like the finish – mineral but not hard – super PC!
9 different parcels – all around Fontenay – all separate elevage. Many of types of soil. Plenty of massale selections too, representing 12 ha
That’s a lovely nose – iodé – mineral, saline – inviting. More concentration – rounder in the middle but with fine mouth-watering, almost juicy intent. That’s so good! Bravo Chablis!
2019 Chablis Les Champreaux
A single parcel of 2.68 hectares – though not all is bottled under this label. Barrel elevage (30%) – ‘if I leave this in tank it has a tendency to become reductive – this avoids that.’
Hmm – that’s a nose of vibrant width – I’m looking for, but not finding, the oak. The oak can be found in the flavour but it’s not excessive – a wine that insinuates its flavour into your gums and tongue. A certain elegance despite the intensity. The oak accompanying the finish but with modesty – excellent – potentially great in 2-3 years.
2019 Chablis 1er Fourchaume
All tank elevage. Old vines never the rendement
Golden fruit – ripe but not fat. Nice shape in the mouth – here is a wine of intensity and width – changing in the mouth – always mobile – a little hint of salinity in here too. Mineral and long finishing. That’s very good!
2018 Chablis 1er Les Vaupulant
Elevage in 500-litre barrels and (70%) tank. ‘I like a little reduction but the wood brings the balancing oxygenation that I look for.’
Here’s a vibrant nose – it reminds me of the oaked cuvée of the Chablis – but there is more! More mineral, more classic Chablis – intense, mouth-watering mineral (again) this is at least excellent – possibly great. It needs time though – give it 2-3 years – if you can!
2019 Chablis 1er Mont de Milieu
0.28 hectares worth, here only tank elevage. It’s an exchange for Fourchaume grapes – in this case not an organic vineyard.
That’s a vibrant nose again but here with concentrated and quite bright fruit. Slips too easily into the mouth – round in shape and of very fine texture – a frame of ultra-fine tannin fruit that’s very ripe. Properly saline and there concentrated waves of finishing flavour here – that’s a seriously great finish – Give me the start of the Vaupulent and the finish of this!
And for the fun…
2020 Petit Chablis
Just a faint reduction but saline and open too. Wide. I like the texture of this – it’s not ultra-smooth but it’s involving. The intensity at the end of the palate heading into the finish is, perhaps, a bit jumbled from the bottling but all the parts are ultra-impressive!