A visit to Chablis – 100 wines part II

Château de Fleys

Château de Fley’s wines are imported by Your Sommelier.

(2016) All made in stainless steel. Very pretty nose, good and clear apple fruit, a touch of blossom and a very clean and crisp impression. The palate has loads of fruit sweetness, loads of fresh juicy apple with tang and zest, a little limey concentration. It’s a fine, bold wine, just missing a bit of Chablis character.
(2016) Comes from a parcel just south of 1er Cru Fourneaux. The name transalates as essential or unmissable. 30% vinified in oak. A lovely toasty development on the nose, some soft truffle notes and taut, fresh apple and apple core character, there’s a touch of almond too and quite complex. The palate is sweet at the core, with the wood giving a touch of creamy density, though I do miss a bit of the sheer vivacious freshness of the new 2014 Chablis.
(2016) From a half hectare parcel and vinified in stainless steel. Delicacy and freshness again, more in line with the straight Chablis, that lovely sense of freshness and pretty, pure apple and juicy pear fruit, finishing with that delicate salts and citrus acidity. Very pretty, a touch more structure than the 2014 Chablis.
(2016) All parcels have old vines with a minimum of 50 years. A bit of gold to the colour, and flinty complex sulphides appearing for the first time here, replacing the pretty purity with a more intriguing complexity. On the palate a racy core of lemon fresh fruit, and that lovely salty and citrus length and freshness.
(2016) The vines here are exactly 80 years old in this vintage. The warm vintage meant it was quite difficult to balance these old vines with their deep roots and low yields, but they harvested a little bit early. 25% or so vinified in big barrels (600-litre). Lovely creaminess and gentle oak influence on this, with nuts and a touch of honey, and an orangey tone to the fruit. The palate has a lovely clarity, a fresh cut apple and lemon freshness, gentle oak giving just a touch of creamy texture and flavour, and a pure acidity, some saline notes and pithy lemon.
(2016) Same winemaking as the 2013, except the oaked proportion was in small Burgundy barriques. Not the most aromatic of wines, the nose subdued, no real sign of the flinty qualities here, the still gentle oak influence over taut apple fruit. The palate dry, strict and more classic Chablis. It is clear, clean and aesthetically pleasing stuff, lovely rigour, but perhaps just falling between two stools slightly: not expressing the minerality clearly enough, and not quite enough fruity charm. A very good wine in its own right.

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Domaine Vincent Dauvissat

Vincent Dauvissat’s wines are available from Berry Bros, H2Vin and Fine+Rare.

(2016) From a hard limestone sub soil, this is loaded with minerals and earthiness, a dry apple fruit, plenty of juiciness and lemon. Very good acidity, a lovely freshness and bite with a true expression of minerality salts.
(2016) Superb complex salts and minerals, wild herbal character and thrilling acidity. There's a juiciness and streaking lemon peel brightness, but it is the thrilling clarity of the mineral acidity that is so vital and invigorating.
(2016) Wild, soulful stuff, the minerals and little truffle and meaty quality. Such a dry, uncompromising acidity, absolute clarity but a mealy, rolling texture, great concentration and delicious grip. Fabulous length, the acidity and flinty terroir so impressive.
(2016) Orange and nutty notes, there is a little hint of something leafy and green herby, then the palate brims with a very pure fruit, just streaking with freshness and mineral precision,  but what a lovely fruit quality. Gorgeous stuff, searingly fresh.
(2016) For the first time the oak is noticeable here, adding a layer of vanilla and of nuttiness to hugely fresh, streaking green fruit. Lift and power of the flint is there, but under the fruit. Great concentration.
(2016) Has that asparagus vegetal streak, but also lots of hot stones and gentle flint. There is spice here too, in a wine that is tightly furled but hugely layered and complex. On the palate it is all citrus acidity and fruit at the moment, the acid lifting and extending the finish, fabulous intensity and minerality. The juice and clarity is superb - needs plenty of time.
(2016) What an interesting wine at almost 20 years old, so much developed wax and petrol, a toastiness, fabulous mineral length but with biscuit richness coming through,  tiny honey and pollen notes but still terrific acidity.

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La Chablisienne

La Chablisienne’s wines are quite widely available.


A fresh but fairly easy nose, soft apple fruit and a tang of lemons. The palate has an easy-going character too, with lots of biting, fresh-sliced apple offering fruit and acidity, but there is some Chablis saltiness too. A good wine with some genuine Chablis character.

(2016) The name means, ‘From the stone’. Unoaked, with six months on the lees. A pure, salt and mineral-flecked nose, refined with stony aromas and precise dry fruit. Medium bodied and has a taut character with loads of citrus and sour apple bite, a little mealy fatness from the lees ageing, but finishes grippy and tightly focused. Very good.
(2016) Organic certified, 30% aged in old and new barrels for six months. Not quite so aromatic, but has an attractive nuttiness, and a palate that is less fruity too, with a dry lick of salt and apple core dry acidity, in a savoury style. It is dry, with a little layered quality, but does not have the decisive bite of the regular Chablis.
(2016) A selection of vines, a minimum of 30 years old, but some plots are 90 years old. Fermented in steel, then 30% into barrels for 18 months – basically the same vinification used for the Grands Crus. The Nose is subdued, but it has a pleasing apple and a hint of stone fruit. The palate disappoints slightly, just a touch of dilution perhaps, which given the old vine material is surprising, finishing without a really decisive character. It is savoury, and the salts and mineral tension of the finish is good, but I didn’t feel this really distinguished itself.
(2016) Youthful colour from this left bank Cru with limestone soils. Nice hint of slate and flint minerals, the palate bursting with lemon and lime, but all the time that saltiness and chalky charcter, a lovely free-flowing acidity that has a direct line to the finish.
(2016) The second left bank Cru, again showing some of that mineral reduction, not so pronounced perhaps, with a juicy and bold apple fruitiness too, a touch of nuttiness. The palate has a sweet lemon juice freshness, the clean salty minerals lingering on the finish. A fine pithy dryness.
(2016) Right Bank Cru and a nose that has hints of the chalk and flint, but also of truffle and earth and a lovey sense of tightly wound concentration. There is a meatiness to this, a spicy, almost meaty quality that is quite savoury, broader than the left bank wines, but has massive mineral acidity that punches through.
(2016) A Right bank Cru from a vineyard facing almost west, this has quite nice forward fruit alongside the meaty notes of the oak and terroir and those subtle salty notes. The fruit is plummy and has some red apple. There’s a buttery richness to the texture, a broad-based fruitiness, that truffle and savoury umami character. Acidity of course is very good, but the fruit density and ripeness impresses here.
(2016) From the other side of the little tributary from Fourchaume, and abutting the Grand Crus. This has some of Vaulorent’s complex mineral reduction, flinty and slatey, salty, and though it is not so pronounced as some others, it is lovely, with a charming fruit character, touches of lighter blossom notes, and a refined, long acidity with punchy lemon fruit into that mineral finish. A delightful wine.
(2016) This north-facing part of Vaillons on the left bank also has a fine flinty charcter, a delicacy again, the tracework of pear and apple and a touch of blossom, a little briar or truffle sneaking in. So juicy, maybe not the tension of the Vaulorent, the punch and decisiveness, but lovely balance and very good length too. A fine, savoury wine, focused and long.
(2016) Fine nose, flinty, some seashell touches, a hint of oak (vanilla and a little smokiness) and clean, pure orchard fruits. The palate has really concentrated and intense fruit, lots of fruit sweetness crowding the mid palate, then salt drives through, seasoning and lifting the wine, the fine juicy character has so much bracing acidity and a long, concentrated finish.
(2016) 30% into barrels for fermentation and ageing for 18 months.  Leesy, creamy, gently toasty and honeyed, a fine almost Meursault-like quality, with bold orchard fruit, touches of green fig, and background nuttiness. The palate has great pace and elan, the salts, the chalky dryness of the acidity is set against the nutty oak and really quite bold fruits. Lots of layers here, but stays particulary fresh It’s one for the future.
(2016) Very softly fragrant and fruit dominated, the oak is a little further into the background compared to the 2012, the touch of passionfruit here, and a classy character with lots of good fruit, melted and fused with the acidity, and excellent length. Delicious and focused.

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Domaine Moreau-Naudet

Moreau-Naudet’s wines are available through Loeb, Justerini & Brooks and Lea & Sandeman

(2016) Aged 18 months on the lees in tank. Delicious juiciness, a touch of herbs and a touch of spangle brightness, but plenty of fresh zest acidity and cool apple. A lovely drinkable wine with real salty lick not often found in Petit Chablis.
(2016) Aged around 22 months on the Lees, all in tank. Very fresh and citrussy with a sour orange tang. Delightful bright acidity and lemony, fast flowing freshness.
(2016) The vines are more than 50 years old, Stephane's grandparent's vineyard. Has the lovely wild yeast, cool and earthy aromatic. Bread notes and lemon. Fine saltiness here, juiciness and a sour plum bite. Juicy, savoury and taut, and delicious.
(2016) Some proportion vinified in 600 litre older barrels, one third. From a parcel on limestone. Barrels from Burgundy used for gentle oxidation not flavour. Lovely nutty character, but a buoyant fruitiness of yellow plum and cut apple, but then the minerals and the salts kick in, giving this a delicious flinty, gunsmoke finish.
(2016) A very small proportion of barrel vinification for this, again older barrels and for a shorter time than the Vaillons as wine from this soil cannot support so much wood. Meaty and earthy on the nose, a dry apple fruit and touches of wild herbs and spice. Sweet fruit, ripe and though not quite the fullness if structure of the Vaillons, gorgeous fleet footed stuff.
(2016) Ripe, figgy touches, both ripe and edged with herbs and vegetal notes in an interesting mix. Such equisite lime and lemon juiciness and thirst-inducing saline freshness, long and just deliciously tangy and drinkable.
(2016) Two years in older barrels for part of this blend. Taut core of salty, earthy and gently vegetal aromatics with a hint of truffle and mushroom, and delicious lime ripeness. The palate is deliciously salty and yet ripe and nectarine sweet. So much bitter lemon and Seville orange bite, that fabulous salt.
(2016) A touch of nettle and oxidation, meaty and dry apple. The palate has massive, tight acids and minerals, delicious kick of salty acidity and a real mid-palate peachy freshness. A touch of vanilla, a touch more truffle in a delicious wine with potential to age and open further.
(2016) Massive minerality, so much salt and flint, from a very hot year, but Stephan says just let wines such as this age and they 'rediscover' their minerality and their terroir despite any vintage condition. Drinks beautifully with smoke and great fruit, and that saline finish.

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Vignoble Dampt Frères

Dampt Frères’ wines are available through Laithwaites

(2016) A little bit tanky and cold ferment charcter comes across as a bit generic at first, but the nice saltiness and dry chalky acid comes through quite nicely. Juicy and attractive, a bit of grip.
(2016) From a parcel of 80-year-old vines. Much more concentration and minerality than the elegance, a touch of smokiness and flintiness in a much better Chablis. Juicy palate, lemon and limes, and a juicy acid charcter, a touch of saline, and very nicely done.
(2016) 80 year old vines again, from villages in the south east of the region. A tanky charcter again, a bit of pear drop that disappoints in the context of Chablis. Lemony palate, a bit indistinct, this doesn’t have the real essence of Chablis but finishes with freshness.
(2016) From the Bréchain climat of the Montée de Tonerre opposite Grand Cru Blanchots. Emmanuele’s father planted the first vines in Bréchain in 1982. More charcter here, with a richness and salty presence again, that has a delicate fruitiness and a nutty character, a pleasing drink. Balanced, fresh cut apple juiciness, a tiny bit tart in the finish.
(2016) Quite a broad fruit juiciness, a touch of herbal quality, a little bit of smoky stones quality, but really fruit driven again. The palate has a big thrust of bright citrus acidity, orange and lemon freshness, ending with a nice lick of saline. Fresh and better balance and energy here, tangy on the finish.
(2016) Fairly closed at this stage, with orthodox fruity aromas and a hint of something more focused on salty charcters. The palate has some elegance, with juicy citrus, a hint of a quite ripe and juicy apple, and a similar acidity, citrussy with just a hint of saline. I think it is because the wines are so young and recently bottled, but I am finding them hard to distinguish in terms of their terroir. Tasted from the vat, so score is cautious.
(2016) I am picking up more flint and more terroir here, a subtle mineral sulphide note and a palate that still has that bright fruit character, but here the acidity and the minerality thrusts though much more convincingly, this finishes with dry and savoury salts and fine, refined charcter the fruit a little more played down - to good effect. This came from a vineyard with lots of coral in the ground – an underground coral reef from 150 million years ago. Tank sample.
(2016) Again, a little bit of Chablis mineral complexity comes through, though there’s mostly a base of ripe apple fruit. The palate has lots of sweet fruit, juicy pear and apple, and a straightforward acidity with just a touch of saline. Tank sample.
(2016) Subtle minerality, some green notes touching fig and a light green vegetal charcter, and a freshness and flowing acidity on the palate to match some sweet orchard fruits. But where’s the Chablis terroir here? A nice wine, bright and balanced, but a bit disappointing for Grand Cru Chablis. Tank sample, so score is cautious.
(2016) A nice touch of green fruit and there is more flint here, more oyster shell character, though once again it is made in an expressly fruity style with ripe sweet orchard fruits. The palate has a lot of brightly focused orangy fruit, bright lemon juice, and then some good acidity with enough saltiness and a broadening hint of oatmeal, nice texture.

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Domaine Guy Robin

Guy Robin’s wines are imported by Earle Wines

(2016) A fruity style of Petit Chablis, quite a generous fruitiness, some plum and peach tones. The same on the palate, where a ripe stone fruit mid palate has just enough acidity to balance, this is deliciously quaffable though it lacks the raciness of the best.
(2016) This cuvee has oak ageing. It has a nuttiness and a warm, rounding oak character a hint of vanilla. Lots of flavour, a deep orangey ripeness and a nice juicy finish, not a lot of Chablis character and perhaps needs just a little more acidity.
(2016) Still not hugely distinctive, though it has a more lemony brightness, again there is not a lot of Chablis flint or minerals, though a lovely juicy Chardonnay.
(2016) The nose is not hugely aromatic, the wild yeast charactrr of gentle yeastiness and earthiness a touch of nutty and buttery barrel. The palate has lots of sour apple and lemon, a very racy character, but again that lack of mineral focus, of the last degree of clarity, is just missing.
(2016) There is nuttiness and a real ripeness of fruit here, with some vanilla and a butteriness again. The palate has much better juicy freshness than the Montmains I think, still no flint, no salt, but a balanced wine with a rounding of smooth nutty oak.
(2016) Oaky nose of buttery and toffee character, the palate powerful and concentrated, lemon and some nectarine and apricot flesh and juiciness, finishing woth powerful concentration and a nice thrust of acidity. It’s the better of the thre 1er Crus for me, and a fine white Burrgundy, but still not really what I look for in Chablis.
(2016) This is the oaked cuvee again, 100% made in oak. Buttery and fine, with a really nice core of lemony fruit and acidity, a dry apple bite, with the oak just adding some weight to the texture. Need a little more freshness, but a good wine.
(2016) Fairly neutral on the nose, the nuttiness and the lemony freshness, with a nice orange brightness to the fruit and a smooth, creamy finish of lovely quality. Long and quite impressive, little sign of minerality too.
(2016) A tiny leafy note with lovely fruit, but so much oak. I found it impossible to dig through to any Vaudesir character, though once again it is a very good white Burgundy in a heavily oaked style.
(2016) Oatmeally and a little fresher than the Vaudesir, with a nice bright focus and a little more thrills and spills, but a big ripe style, with good acidity.
(2016) A tiny herbal note and lots of juicy acidity, a really nice squiritng orange zest and juice, so fresh, much fresher and a wine that at last begins to really speak of the terroir. The freshness and juiciness, with excellent length also.
(2016) An open, generous nose, nutty and earthy, with plenty of sweet oak and a dry apple core fruitiness. On the palate plenty of juice and apple, and a lemony freshness. Quality here, not particular mineral.

click-here to return to Chablis, when Burgundy Plays it Cool

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