I know that I never actually visit Chablis – if I did I wouldn’t be in the Côte d’Or would I(?) But I felt that having missed a couple of opportunities to taste, I didn’t really have a good personal feeling how the recent vintages compared.
Albert Bichot in the form of Long-Depaquit to the rescue! If you don’t ask, you’ll never know, and having asked, it turned out that team at Bichot were more than happy to put together a 2007-2009 tasting across their crus – well they seemed happy anyway!
Each wine (below) was tasted in the order 2009->2008->2007. In isolation you might easily consider any of the vintages to offer a good rendition of ‘Chablis’, it’s only when you have the glasses side-by-side that you start to get some perspective.
Both 2007 and 2008 offer a fresher viewpoint, they can sometimes feel colder in the mouth – though there’s no difference in temperature – maybe that’s where the expression ‘steely’ comes from. Perhaps 2009 is less steely but it doesn’t seem to lack for minerality or flavour – some people disdain ‘flavour’ in Chablis, I’m not one of them! The fruit of 2008 is mainly the ripest though backed by fine acidity.
Consistently the 2007s have a chalky flavour/impression to them that can make the flavours seem less focused than those of 2008. I also find an extra ripeness in some of the 2007s, but I’m left with the feeling that it’s not down to the base fruit, rather the development of the bottles, maybe too quick in some cases(…?)
|Vaillons 1er Cru||High tones, some minerals, otherwise rather understated. Round and quite full, rich but the flavour is excellent and mouth-watering. Long too.||The nose is narrower but shows muscle and minerals. Good sweetness, certainly more mineral than 09, I slightly prefer the finish too.||More evolved – bottle was changed. Fresher with a hint of seashore. Fuller. surprisingly the acidity is more understated yet the finish is bigger than 08.|
|Vaucopin 1er Cru||Very nice aromas with hints of the sea. More lithe and fleet of foot vs. the 07 Vaillons. Lovely finishing acidity and flavour – an excellent finish!||Aromas of riper (lemon) fruit. After the 09 very narrow and mineral yet the texture is cushioned and the flavours penetrating. Slowly intensifying acidity – very good finish too.||A hint of perfume. The flavours are more chalky and less precise. The mid-palate flavour is again just a little evolved. Very long finishing, but I’d say drink-up!|
|Blanchots Grand Cru||A hint of sulfur, the aromatic depth gets better and better as it recedes. Textured, layered, beautiful flavours and balance. The flavours further expand – super!||Bottle 1 and bottle 2 seemingly corked…||Fine and clean aromas – understated ripe citron. The flavours are lovely; mineral and chalky with excellent acidity. The flavour ingrains itself. Super!|
|Vaudesir Grand Cru||High tones and minerals – somehow almost salty. Round and full with lots of flavour. More mineral than the 07 Blanchots.||An impression that this wine is colder (it’s not) – cold steel over the tongue. A broad and long finish of warm, white fleshy fruit. Super wine.||Again a hint of saline. Really good cut in the mouth and again a chalky impression. This is not quite as precise as the 08 but 100% Chablis – super!|
|Moutonne Grand Cru||Fresh aromas with hints of herbs and an understated base of fruit. Full-flavoured with lots of minerality and fruit stones. A slowly leaching sweetness and very long.||Higher-toned aromas with some fruit blossom. ‘Colder’ and fresher. Seemingly more intense than the 09 but with less texture. A nice growth of flavour in the mid-palate and a commanding finish – bravo!||Round if not full aromas – clean and understated. Another ‘cold’ wine, chalky but with more definition. A strong fruit flavour goes through the core.|
|Le Clos Grand Cru||A hint of saline yet understated. Full, slightly warm and round. Flavour-packed, the acidity seems low yet with just enough balance for a fabulously flavoured finish.||Also understated, the aromas are just a little finer – perhaps a little development though. Wide, with an energetic burst of flavour. A real bundle of energy this wine.||Faintly riper aromas yet very similar to the last two. Cool with a big ‘well’ of flavour. Lingering acidity again edged by slightly chalky flavour. Very, very long…|
*These Long-Depaquit wines were all tasted on the 25th March 2011.