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Chablis (and a St Veran!) 2019

Chablis is one of my favourite wines. The area’s distinctive soils, Kimmeridgian Clay, composed of millions of ancient crustaceans, gives Chablis it’s purity and crystalline minerality. There is nothing else like it and it is delicious. Chablis lies to the North of the Cote d’Or, with a cooler climate which can be extreme – in recent years (2016, 2021) terrible frosts and hail have decimated harvests and made life ruinously hard for the growers. So, when a vintage like 2019 comes around it is time to stock up!

The Vintage
2019 began cool, with plenty of rain. By March the rain had stopped but temperatures didn’t rise too much – when bud break began in early April the fear of frost was real, but thankfully avoided. The flowering period was extended, with wind and rain causing problems and lowering yields. June, July, and August were sunny with little rain. The wet start to the year meant there was plenty of water available to the vines however, and so little drought. While the summer months were sunny, there was little extreme heat, and temperatures were relatively steady, allowing the grapes a smooth, extended ripening which can help to build complexity. Harvest took place from around the 9th of September. The resulting grapes were small and concentrated, with elevated levels of sugar and acidity and thick skins which give aromatic character.  The wines are full of potential with classically racy acidity and concentrated flavours. They aren’t as ‘green’ as Chablis in the past, the warmer conditions mean they will give pleasure younger, but the best sites have given the mineral structure that can see these wines age brilliantly.

Coincidently, Decanter Magazine has just given a lovely write up to one of our other 2019s, Domaine Morat’s St Veran. I’ve included the note below – we don’t have much stock, so make sure your case has a bottle or two! 

The Offer
All of the wines below are in the UK and ready for delivery, and all are available by the bottle, mixed cases are no problem. We have offered a 5% reduction for unmixed sixes. Orders of 12 or more bottles will be delivered free. The wines are available In Bond – please ask for details. 

To order, simply email and let me know what you would like.

I look forward to hearing from you!

Domaine Nathalie and Gilles Fèvre

Gilles and his wife, Nathalie, combine wine-making skills to make wines where aromas, texture and flavour provide a haunting reminder that Chablis’ unique fossil-based clay soil is an ancient seabed. Their 15-hectare domaine comprises mostly of vineyards handed down to Gilles, as a member of Chablis’ pre-eminent family. The highly articulate Nathalie is a former winemaker at La Chablisienne. We have chosen their top two 1er Crus from 2019, both of which will give pleasure young but should age well.

Chablis 1er Cru Fourchaume 2019
£29.95 per bottle / £170.00 per 6
Amongst the most recognisable of the Chablis 1er Cru vineyards is Fourchaume, sitting just above the Serine river. The Fevre vines lie in the section with a south-westerly aspect, planted on near pure limestone. This wine always has a richness from its sunny exposition which is countered by a fine mineral spine from the Limestone below.

“The 2019 Chablis Fourchaume 1er Cru has a refined, harmonious bouquet with more mineralité that other wines from this climat. The palate is well-balanced, taut and fresh, with a fine bead of acidity. Welcome salinity drives the finish and encourages you back for another sip. Excellent.”
Neal Martin October 2021

Chablis 1er Cru Vaulorent 2019
£34.95 per bottle / £199.00 per 6
Nathalie thinks this wine has ‘the memory of the sea’ and I won’t argue, one doesn’t need to be a poet to imagine the ancient shellfish in the wine’s spine of minerality. Vaulorent lies within the better known Fourchaume 1er Cru just above the Grand Cru les Preuses. It has a particularly rocky soil as well as a very good south-western exposure. It sees a little oak, around 15%, for structure rather than flavour.

“Vaulorent has a privileged position as part of Fourchaume, but is located next to Grand Cru Preuses. Elegant, refined and precise, this is a lovely example which offers an insight into Grand Cru Chablis at an earlier window. Fine texture, a lovely balance between acidity, freshness and ultra-pure fruit, this is a lovely Premier Cru, already drinking well.”
Andy Howard MW Decanter Magazine October 2020

Domaine Gilbert Picq & Ses Fils

Based in the small village of Chichée, Domaine Gilbert Picq is now run by Gilbert’s children, Pascal in the vines, Didier makes the wines and Marilyn works in the office; the family have farmed this land for generations. The commitment to quality here is impressive. Old vines are retained. Yields are kept low. No oak is used, only stainless steel. Fermentations take place with natural yeasts. The aim is simple, transmit Chablis’ unique terroir as faithfully and transparently as possible. This simple approach works. In the words of the Wine Advocate’s William Kelley, Domaine Picq is “one of Chablis’s finest, a source of concentrated and incisive Chablis that are well worth seeking out.”

Chablis 2019
£19.95 per bottle / £113.00 per 6
One can tell this is Chablis immediately and grown on good terroir at that. Didier says the soil in these parcels is high quality chalk and always gives a focused, mineral wine. Absolutely classic and such good value.

“The 2019 Chablis Village, bottled at the beginning of 2021, has a very refined, quite subtle nose of shucked oyster shell and touches of apple blossom. The palate is well balanced with fine acidity, the alcohol at almost 14° cunningly disguised. Attractive honeyed notes appear on the finish.”*

Chablis En Vaudécorse 2019
£22.95 per bottle / £130.00 per 6
A vineyard next to 1er Cru Vaucoupin, facing south-west. Didier mentioned he finds grapefruit in this wine, and one can clearly see that on the finish. .

“The 2019 Chablis En Vaudécorse has a malic bouquet that develops hints of blood orange with aeration. The blood orange theme continues on the palate, which is very well balanced with moderate depth, though perhaps not quite as complex as the Vieilles Vignes at the moment. Very fine.”*

Chablis Dessus La Carrière 2019
£23.95 per bottle / £136.00 per 6
A blend of two climats, Semon and Paradis, which sit above a disused limestone quarry, giving an indication of the terroir here.

“The 2019 Chablis Dessus La Carrière, bottled just after the Vosgros, has a detailed, arresting oyster-shell-scented bouquet, strict and penetrating. The palate is well balanced and has put on a little more weight during its élevage. There are still those Granny Smith and oyster shell notes, and more spiciness during the aftertaste”*

Chablis Vieilles Vignes 2019
£24.95 per bottle / £142.00 per 6
Various plots, all over 50-years-old, on a mix of clay and limestone. Just a great Chablis, feels like the limestone is in the glass with a finish that grows and grows.

“The 2019 Chablis Vieilles Vignes shone brilliantly from vat last year, and now in bottle, it fulfils that promise with a sublime nose of honeysuckle and crushed rock. The palate is beautifully balanced with a beguiling, slightly waxy texture, a dab of spice appearing toward the finish as it fans out in the mouth. This becomes increasingly spicy with aeration. Superb.”*

Chablis 1er Cru Vosgros 2019
£30.95 per bottle / £176.00 per 6
A stony, cool site influenced by a combe – a gap in the slope allowing cool air into the vineyard. Amazing focus – like a laser. The interplay between minerality and acidity seems to make this come alive on the palate, sending shivers down the spine.

“The 2019 Chablis Vosgros 1er Cru was showing just a small reduction on the nose, though it could not disguise the scents of yellow plum and honeysuckle and touches of wet limestone. The palate is very well balanced, taut and fresh, pinned down by a fine bead of acidity and very intense on the minerally finish. This fulfils the potential I found last year out of barrel.”*

*All notes Neal Martin October 2021

Domaine Morat St Veran 2019
£19.95 per bottle / £113.00 per 6

A last minute addition to the offer, but a great write up shouldn’t go unmentioned! As Robert’s note form our last Burgundy offer shows, we have thought this a cracking wine since first tasting from barrel last year. It is pleasing that it is showing so well from bottle!

Robert said:
“As merchants we are often asked by chums for the odd recommendation.  Feedback can often be mixed as wine is, after all, a matter of personal preference.  I have noted, however, that Morat’s St Veran invariably hits the spot. The fragrant lift of the nose and fresh, engaging texture and fruit on the palate combine to disarm even the most sceptical of my mates.”

Decanter say:
“This might seem expensive for Saint-Veran but, for one of the best ever I’ve tasted from this AOP, it’s very fairly priced. With hints of reduction on the nose, stony and flinty characters on the palate and notes of lemon pith, it has some elements of Premier Cru Chablis with additional richness. Concentrated, full of energy and drive. Gilles Morat is from Vergisson and has established a reputation as one of the superstar producers in the Maconnais. The emphasis here is on lively, vibrant wines with a sense of salinity.”
Andy Howard MW Decanter Magazine tasted August 2021