Weekend Vinopolpick– September 28th

September 28, 2013
Chablis, a Treasure of Terroir
Chablis is a winemaking region that, despite its long history as an acclaimed French wine, has been overlooked by many. The name ‘Chablis’ has been often misappropriated by New World producers to denote their “dry, light white wine”, but Chablis is a distinct AOC, and one of the most revered terroirs in the world.
The northernmost wine district of the Burgundy region in France, Chablis is located well north of the rest of Burgundy, closer to Champagne, and separated from the Cote D’Or by several ranges of hills. As was the case with many of France’s oldest wine regions, the Romans were likely the first to introduce viticulture to Chablis, but it took several generations for Chablis to find an identity of its own. In 1938, the AOC region for Chablis was created, officially recognizing the distinct winemaking of this area.

The Crus of Chablis
The vines around the town of Chablis are almost exclusively Chardonnay, and the wines labeled Chablis are 100% Chardonnay. The cooler weather results in a wine with more acidity and mineral flavors than Chardonnay grown in the warmer climates of Burgundy. The acidity and minerality in Chablis makes the high quality Premier Cru and Grand Cru bottlings well worth the asking price; for both their purity of flavor and their long aging capability. Kimmeridgian soils are the source of that trademark minerality in wines from Chablis. A mixture of limestone and clay with millions of tiny, fossilized oyster shells, Kimmeridgian soil gives this area its trademark terroir that produces these unique Chardonnnays, often noted as “flinty” or “steely”, very much unlike any others in the world. In comparison with the white wines from the rest of Burgundy, Chablis also has on average much less influence of oak. The most basic Chablis are completely unoaked, and vinified in stainless steel tanks. The amount of barrel maturation, if any, is a stylistic choice which varies widely among Chablis producers.
Chalky, Kimmeridgian soil in the vineyards of Chablis
Let’s visit a few notable producers and their wines currently in stock here:
The Moreau family has been rooted in the heart of Chablis since 1814 when Jean Joseph Moreau founded his wine-merchant trading firm, slowly adding to the family’s vineyard holdings over time. With the 2002 vintage, Christian Moreau regained the family’s right to produce wines sourced from their extensive vineyards and market the wines under their own label. Today, Fabien Moreau, the sixth generation of the winemaking family, is the winemaker and manager of Domaine Christian Moreau, working hard to follow the Moreau philosophy based on respecting Chablis’ terroir. Through a combination of exceptional vineyards, over 45 year old vines, and fastidious care in every step of production, this estate has in just a few years established itself as one of the leading producers of Chablis, producing consistently outstanding wines from the amazing range of Grand Cru vineyards of Chablis.
Christian Moreau Chablis 2011 ($24.95) $18 special 2 cases available
Burghound 89 points “A slightly riper mix of white and yellow orchard fruit, tidal pool and soft floral aromas gives way to rich but racy and intense medium-bodied flavors that possess a well-detailed and saline-infused finish. This is a lovely villages of harmony and unusual refinement. Well worth considering.”
Christian Moreau Chablis Grand Cru Clos Hospices 2009  ($89.95) $69 special 20 bottles available
Burghound 92-94 points “This is quite similar to the regular cuvée save for the fact that the fruit component is slightly riper. Otherwise, there are the same rich, full-bodied and serious flavors that possess excellent mid-palate density and the same powerful, driving and persistent finish. This is a big yet not inelegant wine that should age well in the context of the vintage.”
Christian Moreau Chablis Grand Cru Clos Hospices 2010 ($99.95) $89 special 9 bottles available
Wine Advocate 95 points “The 2010 Chablis Les Clos Clos des Hospices adds some of the textural richness found in the Valmur with the delicacy and salinity of Les Clos. Smoke, graphite, crushed rocks and licorice are some of the many notes that add complexity on the textured, caressing finish. This is another standout from Moreau. The style is a bit huge and the rich fruit will surprise those looking for subtlety, but it all works. Anticipated maturity: 2012.”
Christian Moreau Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos 2009 ($69.95) $59 special 17 bottles available
Burghound 91-94 points “Moderate wood influence that should integrate quickly still allows the white flower, spiced pear and citrus-infused aromas to shine. The rich, full and serious flavors possess excellent concentration as well as ample amounts of the hallmark minerality on the detailed, energetic and explosive finish.”
Coming from a family that has been in the Chablis region for more than 250 years, William Fèvre founded the Domaine de la Maladière and announced his first harvest in 1959. For many years, William Fèvre worked each plot keenly and skilfully so as to make wine whose personality reflects the authenticity of the soils from which they spring. A major voice in the Chablis area, William Fevre wines became a benchmark winemaker in the region, producing beautiful wines throughout his range of Premier and Grand Cru Chablis vineyards every year. In 1998, the venerable Henriot family from Champagne succeeded him. To continue these focused efforts, the Domaine has taken on the desire to make indisputably genuine and fine wines, All their efforts, harvesting by hand and rigorous sorting for quality at the winery, have but one goal – to finely express a true form of Chablis and the most subtle variations of their holdings in the area.
William Fevre Chablis Grand Cru Bougros  2010 ($89.95) $79 special 21 bottles available
Burghound 92-95 points “A restrained nose of citrus, floral, mineral reduction and algae slides into impressively rich, powerful, serious and concentrated flavors that are almost painfully intense on the explosive and strikingly long finish. This is a classic Bougros with its robust and muscular big-bodied flavors.”
William Fevre Chablis Grand Cru Cote Bouguerots 2010 ($99.95) $89 special 2 cases available
Wine Advocate 96 points “The 2010 Chablis Bougros Cote Bouguerots is impeccable. It is one of the more open and radiant of the 2010s here, with great balance between the richness of the fruit, floral aromatics and minerality. The Cote Bouguerots is utterly vivid and compelling from the very first taste. Layers of fruit build to the huge, caressing finish. It is one of the stand outs, not just at Fevre but among all the 2010s I tasted.”
William Fevre Chablis Premier Cru Fourchaume 2010 ($64.95) $49 special 2 bottles available
Burghound 92-94 points “A slightly more complex if perhaps slightly elegant nose of lemon rind, shell fish, seaweed and subtle dried floral notes is followed by pure, intense and citrusy flavors that possess cuts-like-a-knife precision before culminating in a driving mineral-inflected and highly persistent finish. This is also a seriously impressive effort and I especially like the transparency and focus here.”
William Fevre Chablis Grand Cru Les Preuses 2010  ($99.95) $89 special 3 bottles here now
Wine Advocate 97 points “The 2010 Chablis Les Preuses combines the minerality of Valmur and the fruit of Bouguerots in a style that is immensely appealing. The wine’s balance is utterly impeccable throughout. This is one of those effortless, gracious wines that is easy to underestimate because the elements are so seamlessly woven together that nothing in particular stands out. I am blown away by the sheer balance, purity and harmony of what is in the glass. This is a great showing from Fevre and Didier Seguir. Anticipated maturity: 2013+.”
William Fevre Chablis Grand Cru Vaudesir 2010 ($89.95) $79 special 2 cases available
Wine Advocate 94 points “The 2010 Chablis Vaudesir is pure class and elegance. Layers of subtle, perfumed fruit caress the palate in this highly expressive Chablis. Everything is in the right place. The 2010 is all about subtlety. This is one of the more finessed Fevre 2010s. I love the balance of aromatics, fruit and acidity. Anticipated maturity: 2013+.”
William Fevre Chablis Premier Cru Les Lys 2010 ($59.95)  $44 special 10 bottles available
Burghound 91-93 points “An airy, pure and ultra-elegant nose offers up notes of dried white flowers, citrus rind and tidal pool where the latter also suffuses the quite finely detailed middle weight flavors that possess surprisingly richness on the precise and lingering finish. I very much admire the exquisite balance and as Les Lys always is, this is a wine of finesse and subtlety.”
William Fevre Chablis Premier Cru Mont de Milieu 2010 ($59.95) $44 special 19 bottles here now
Burghound 91-93 points “The differences in exposition between Mont de Milieu and Les Lys are really quite strikingly underscored as the fruit aromas here are so much riper and more obviously kissed by the sun, indeed to the point where there is an overt exoticism to the yellow orchard fruit aromas. Yet there is still excellent freshness and enough Chablis character to faithfully recall this wine’s origins. There is impressive volume and power to the medium weight plus flavors that possess a plenitude of dry extract that coats the mouth on the intense, complex and lasting finish. This succulent effort should develop well over the next 5 to 7 years.”
William Fevre Chablis Grand Cru Valmur 2010  ($109.95) $89 special 2 cases available
Wine Advocate 95 points “The 2010 Chablis Valmur captures the essence of the vintage. It represents everything Chablis is and can be. Gunflint, slate, oyster shells, white flowers and citrus are just some of the many notes that emerge from this finely sculpted, chiseled wine. In 2010, the Valmur possesses stunning nuance and tons of delineation. It finishes with notable persistence and an element of austerity that is not totally typical of Valmur, but that is, nevertheless, highly appealing. Anticipated maturity: 2013+.”
William Fevre Chablis Premier Cru Vaulorent 2010 ($74.95) $59 special 2 cases available     
Wine Advocate 94 points “The 2010 Chablis Vaulorent is striking. It shows plenty of richness but very little in the way of excess weight. There is plenty of depth waiting to emerge from this expressive, mineral-drenched Chablis. Mint, flowers and white stone fruits wrap around the pure, beautifully delineated finish.”
And Many More from Chablis- All here now
Pattes Loup Chablis 2011 ($27.95) $21.90 special 6 cases available    
Antonio Galloni 91 points “The 2011 Chablis is gorgeous. Honey, almonds, dried pears and peach notes all flesh out in a rich, expansive wine loaded with class, pedigree and personality. This is a decidedly rich, large-scaled Chablis, especially at the village level, but there is more than enough fruit to fill out the wine’s big, broad-shouldered frame. The deeply textured, generous finish is nicely supported by veins of minerality that emerge over time.”
Vincent Dauvissat Chablis Premier Cru La Forest 2010 ($109.95) $89 special 11 bottles available
Stephen Tanzer 94+ points “Extremely closed on the nose, hinting at lemon, vanilla, metallic minerality and resin.  Then chewy and deep in the mouth, with electric citricity and almost painful saline minerality keeping this extremely rich wine almost shockingly austere today.  This has the flavor and texture of liquid stone and surpasses the outstanding 2011 in sheer density of material.  Last year Dauvissat told me that part of this fruit was harvested after the rain, but this is a great and ageworthy premier cru nonetheless.”
Vincent Dauvissat Chablis Grand Cru Les Preuses 2010 ($229.95) $189 special 20 bottles available
Stephen Tanzer 96(+?) points “Bright pale yellow.  Reticent, mineral-driven aromas of liquid rock, ginger, medicinal herbs and white flowers.  Almost painfully intense today, with captivating floral lift to the crushed stone and saline mineral flavors.  Utterly backward on the middle palate but the rising, palate-staining, remarkably long finish leaves the mouth vibrating with flavors of lavender, violet, anise and hot rocks.  This brilliantly precise grand cru may well go on in bottle for 25 years.”
Dauvissat- Camus Chablis Premier Cru La Forest 2011  ($69.95) $59 special 11 bottles available
Stephen Tanzer 92-94 points “Bright lemon-yellow.  Reticent but ripe aromas of pineapple and grapefruit lifted by sexy minerality.  Broad, dry and mouthcoating but with a weightless quality and superb definition to the flavors of grapefruit, crushed stone and salty minerality.  Finishes wonderfully tactile and long, with an element of precision and mineral cut that’s very much in the 2010 style.  Like the Vaillons, this is aging in 50% feuillettes, most of them quite old.”
Domaine Faiveley Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos 2009  ($99.95) $79 special 2 cases available
Stephen Tanzer 95 points “Straw-yellow.  Soil-driven aromas of flinty, petrolly minerality, oyster shell and menthol.  Broad, silky and suave yet with terrific energy and sappiness to the flavors of lemon, lime and wet stone.  Less detailed today than the Preuses, but the slowly building, palate-saturating finish has to be one of the longest of the vintage.  This wine, too, shows its great site more than it does the very warm 2009 vintage.  For Chablis connoisseurs.”
Domaine Faiveley Chablis Grand Cru Les Preuses 2009 ($89.95) $79 special 15 bottles available
Stephen Tanzer 95 points “Knockout nose combines lavender, white pepper, violet, menthol and crushed stone, along with a whiff of baked bread.  Superripe and seamless yet with terrific cut to its sweet stone fruit and stony mineral flavors.  The explosive saline, stony finish is almost painful today.  This will become even more minerally with a few years of bottle aging.  A beauty, and even more impressive than a sample I tasted last year.  A great example of Preuses that transcends the vintage, this wine spent a bit of time in barrique, then was kept in vat until it was bottled in January of this year.”
Joseph Drouhin ‘Drouhin-Vaudon’ Chablis Grand Cru Vaudesir 2008 ($64.95) $55 special 4 bottles here
Wine Spectator 92 points “Really silky and seductive, with just a hint of vanilla accenting the peach, apple and lemon flavors. The mineral element is submerged right now, appearing on the finish, where there’s terrific harmony and subtlety. Best from 2011 through 2023. 65 cases imported.”