A first for everything, this time a Raveneau wine from Chablis, and premier cru vineyard Montée de Tonnerre in particular. A grand cru in style, this wine has a gorgeous aroma of lemon and minerals. The palate reminds of jasmine, yoghurt and has a resounding linear acidity. This is an outstanding wine that can be approached now, but will suit further cellaring of 5-10 years. Rating: Outstanding. Abv: 13%. Price: $300. Website: NA.
If you are interested in Chablis, you can click here for a much longer post from the region in 2015.
This is a delicious Chablis from Jean-Luc & Paul Aegerter. From the 2014 vintage, the grapes were harvested by hand, and vinified in 500 litre new oak barrels, but aged for 6 to 12 months in old oak. In the glass, the wine opens to tight and fresh minerally aromatics. The palate is medium bodied with fresh, and rather delicious and racy acidity and little oak influence. Ready to drink now, this is a really good example of an AOP Chablis. Rating: Good to Very Good. Abv: 12.5%. Price: ~$50. Source: Sample.
I am delighted to have spotted a couple of La Chablisienne wines imported into Australia. I have previously spent some time visiting the winery, and some thoughts and observations are here. This is a pleasingly typical Petit Chablis and a bargain at $18. Yellow gold in colour, it has aromas of orange zest and stones. The palate is medium bodied, with fresh acidity and good length. It’s bottled under screwcap too. Rating: Good. Abv: 12.5%. Price: $18.
This is a delicious AOC Chablis from Bernard Defaix. From the 2015 vintage, it has aromatics of lemon, shells and stones. The palate is fresh and linear with no oak evident. The acidity is linear without being hard. Chardonnay is almost a different grape variety when grown in Chablis and presented in this style. A good example of terroir. More please. Rating: Good. Abv: 12.5%. Price: $25.
I recently attended an outstanding tasting of mostly recent(ish) vintages of premier cru level Pommard and Volnay wines. The quality was universally high across the board, and all well stored examples. In terms of observations, interestingly, neither appellation proved particularly distinctive on this tasting. Pommard is typically thought of as sturdy, masculine and full in style, while its immediate neighbour Volnay, more fragrant, elegant and seductive. Yet, this tasting proved to be more or less a random walk as to which wine was which, with no one feature proving distinctive. I put this down to a function of proximity of the regions, youth, high quality wines and high quality winemaking. Some may lament this apparent convergence. But I don’t, at least when not doing Master of Wine study – I prefer tasting delicious wine more than tasting palatable theory. Perhaps the texts will require re-writing in a couple of decades?
My notes, plus a couple of extras from outside the region, follow.
Domaine Marquis d’Angerville Volnay Premier Cru Caillerets 2008 Les Caillerets is a 14.36 hectare vineyard that is among the most highly regarded in Volnay. And, right off the bat, it was my wine of the night. It opens to aromas of dark cherry, rosemary, anise and potpourri. The palate has towards high acidity (but not quite), great length – wonderful in fact – and a beguiling expression of cherries with some firmer tannins tucked away. Outstanding
Christophe Vaudoisey Volnay Premier Cru Les Mitans 2005 Les Mitans is a 3.98 hectare vineyard closer to the Pommard end of Volnay and is reputed for sturdier wines. The 2005 vintage tasted here, an outstanding vintage, proved to have brooding aromas of dark cherry and licorice notes with an almost porty richness giving away its vintage. The palate is full bodied and rich, with good length and acidity in balance. Delicious and another outstanding wine. Outstanding Domaine Joseph Voillot Volnay Premier Cru Les Frémiets 2005 Les Frémiets is a 7.40 hectare vineyard that is next to Pommard, making it particularly hard to identify as other than a Pommard. It’s another wine from the 2005 vintage, but presents quite differently to the Mitans. It has firm aromatics of cherry, iron and florals. The palate has great length, with notes of cherry and firmer tannins with time in the glass. Very Good
Comte Armand Pommard Premier Cru Clos des Epeneaux 2013 A strong producer and one of Pommard’s great vineyards (the 5.23 hectare Clos des Epeneaux) cloaked any likelihood that the vintage of this wine would be identified. This proved an utterly delicious wine, and should age and improve effortlessly for a decade or more. It has aromas of dark cherry, blackcurrant and leaf. The palate has firm acidity, flavours of black fruits and spice, together with particularly long length. Too young, but someone has to try them. Outstanding
Henri Boillot Pommard Premier Cru Les Rugiens 2012 Les Rugiens is a 12.66 hectare vineyard (aggregating Hauts and Bas) and is both highly regarded and close to the Volnay border. This proved another outstanding wine, with aromas of dark cherries, earth, iron and rosemary. The palate has reminders of florals and great length. The tannins are just starting to evolve.Outstanding
And finally, a couple of extras, first my favourite Chablis Grand Cru (Les Preuses) and a ring-in from the Mornington Peninsula that almost shocked with its remarkable resemblance to the preceding wines.
Domaine Billaud-Simon Chablis Grand Cru Les Preuses 2010 This wine from Les Preuses (some considerably longer musings from the region are here) first had to escape its cool serving temperature. Initial aromas of qumquat and orange rind gave way with time to a more classic expression of lemon, stones and sea shells. The palate has good length, hints of cedar and fresh, if not overly firm, acidity. Very Good
Main Ridge Estate Half Acre Pinot Noir 2013 This is the first time I’ve tried a Main Ridge Estate wine, and I was frankly surprised (and absolutely delighted) at its close resemblance to a Pommard. It has aromas of blackcurrant and earth. The palate has long length and a cherry and earth character. This wine is unlike any other Mornington Peninsula pinot noir I’ve tried, and I’ve tried more than a few. Outstanding
There are 17 main Chablis premier cru climats, and Vaillons is one of the largest of them at approximately 110 hectares. This wine is a particularly good expression of Vaillons. It has aromas of citrus and stones. The palate is firm with spine tingling acidity and a delicious lingering stoney impression that cuts through. Overall, this is an impressive wine that tastes exactly as I’d remembered the region from my last trip (see my post here). (Region: Chablis, France, Rating: Very Good, Would I buy it based on this tasting? Yes absolutely, Drink: now to 2027, Tasted: May, 2017, Source: Sample)
I presented these three wines blind at a lunch, and I was delighted that they presented with typicity and their quality was self-evident.
Domaine Billaud-Simon Montée de Tonnerre Chablis Premier Cru 2012 Aromatics of minerals, lemon citrus and stones. The palate has racy acidity and good length. This wine performed extremely well along side the Grand Crus to follow, not surprisingly given that the vineyard for Montée de Tonnerre neighbours its more celebrated cousins. Rating: Very Good
Domaine Louis Moreau Les Clos Chablis Grand Cru 2011 Aromatics of stone, talc and minerals. The palate has a hint of softness and roundness through its core of firm acidity, with mid range length and a resolute stoney character. Deliciously austere and has a long future ahead of it. Rating: Very Good
Domaine Christian Moreau Valmur Chablis Grand Cru 2012 This, for me, was the highlight of the trio. Some initial funky aromatics blew off to reveal an intensely minerally aroma reminding of stones and earth. Dare I say oyster shells? The palate has long length and is framed by fresh acidity. An outstanding wine. Rating: Outstanding
It doesn’t much look like a Chablis label does it? But the wine inside is very typical. Initially quite floral and jasmine scented, it settles into a more stoney and mineral guise with air. The palate hides its racy acidity well, but again reverts to Chablis type with time in the glass. With time, a joyous crystalline stoney acidity emerges to frame this delicious and almost fleshy chardonnay. A very good quality wine, particularly so for an AOP Chablis.
Rating: Good Abv: 12.5% Price: $40 Source: sample Vendors and website: bibendum.com.au (importer) Tasted: 2016
The best Chablis I tasted while in France last year was from the Les Preuses grand cru vineyard. You can find that post here. The exciting thing about this wine – from the same vineyard, the same year, but a different producer – is that it tasted exactly as a grand cru Chablis should. Shipping, storage, temperature and the other travails of getting wine to Australia were evidently well handled. This is a chardonnay for those who like riesling. It has aromatics of minerals, stones and citrus. The palate has long length and is delicate with more mineral characters and racy acidity. Delicious.
Apologies in advance, I suspect you may end up reading here a few more Chablis reviews than in the past. Happily this region is really rather well priced in Australia, and the quality mostly high. As time passes, I think the styles I prefer are simply the classic styles well-made, from the Barossa to Bordeaux, right through to Chablis.
This is a particularly good example of the Côte de Lechét, which is a premier cru vineyard on the left-bank of the Serein River that is south east facing. It has aromatics of stone and a touch of nectarine. It has medium length on the palate, good purity of flavour, lovely balance, with reminders of stones, nectarine and a touch of honey. G-VG