Tasted in Fontenay-près-Chablis with Nathalie Fèvre, 21 July 2019.
Domaine Nathalie et Gilles Fèvre
Route de Chablis
Tel: +33 3 86 18 94 47
Chance to look at the bottled 2018s and 2017s at this domaine. The commentary on the vintages is verbatim from my January report.
Nathalie and Julie on 2018:
“Historic! No problems with fermentations – just one that stopped – now all are done and that’s relatively rare for us to have everything finished in December. We had the chance to start harvesting with good timing – but not too late – we could have gone longer but 14.5-14.7° would not have fit with the style of the maison. We are happy quantitatively and it really was a big surprise; we started harvesting Monday 4th September and we toured the vines on the Sunday – the day before – and there was little in the way of morale because even at this stage we didn’t have a real idea of the volume. Clearly some vines, the young vines suffered a little with their more superficial roots. But in the end the vintage resembles 1990 for both quantity and quality – I think – at Chablisienne that year 80 hl with 13° was quite common. But here we had no problem to find place for the juice – because we were already empty.”
Nathalie and Julie on 2017:
“Only one thing hurts and that’s the volume 2016+2017 together total less than one normal vintage. We had a long period of spring cold – 12-13 times we heated in the vines and we thought we’d done quite well – they looked good but maybe because of the cold that followed when the vines grew, there were almost no grapes, bizarrely more-so in premiers and grands crus than other areas. We made double the volume in our Chablis in 2017 vs 16 but not more in the crus. It was the heat wave at the end of August that allowed us to pick early with a good maturity. Wines with tension and some elegance.”
Such a fine source – is it any wonder that I buy wines for my cellar every year here?
2018 Petit Chablis
Hmm, round, powdery, ripe but still fresh lemon – the aromas clean up a lot in the glass, losing the powder impression and becoming very attractive. Round, attractive flavour too, nice energy, this is has concentration in the mid and finishing flavours, flavours that hold really impressively.
Hmm, a more vibrant aromatic, a little floral too. Oh, thats so classic, energetic, mouth-watering, and long finishing. Thats really great – a template for delicious villages!
2017 Chablis Vieilles-Vignes
A mix of parcels, the youngest vines from 1965, the oldest are from 1941-42 – and they have 7-8 hectares available for this, but choose to make make much less, as they don’t want to reduce the quality of their ‘basic’ Chablis.
Hmm, vibrant but diffrent, almost a faint pyrazine, but citrus skin, a zesty wine. Intense finishing – ooh, thats really a great finish. This is less ‘easy’ than the last but finishes with a thrill! It will amply reward your patience. Borderline great villages.
Only stainless-steel elevage.
Another vibrant nose, floral, bravo! More drive, more mineral, super texture, vibrant, mouth-watering, mineral again – more compact finishing vs the last. But certainly longer. Phew!
Some 15% barrel elevage here, some new oak included in that.
Here’s a faint oak spice but it quickly fades – there’s plenty of aromatic volume. Hmm, that is beautifully vibrant, a little saline, a burst of energetic flavour follows. I’d wait a little longer for this, but it is simply top!
Vines next to Willaim Fevre at the top of the slope where the vines are less susceptible to frost. 30% barrel elevage.
Round, more density of aroma, yet tighter is the impression too. Ooh, this is muscular, some sructure, wide, sinuous, mobile – depth of great flavour. Great wine, vibrant and mineral finishing.
And for the fun, as Nathalie sees similarities between 2018 and 2009:
2009 Chablis 1er Vaulorent
Ooh, that’s showing a lovely complexity. A warm style, complex, faint spice, round, wide, mouth-watering, sweet, long. “The magnums are much fresher,” says Nathalie. But the longer this stays in the glass, the more overt is a pure Chablis minerality. There is much to like here.