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. The vineyards are farmed organically. 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.”
Didier told us that Chichée has long been used by négociants as a source of high quality wine to go into their large Chablis blends. In the past its name rarely appeared or was discussed, which suited the large merchant’s needs. This is a shame, as the terroir is classic Chablis; a high proportion of Kimmeridgian Clay in vineyards well angled to catch the sun. Indeed Didier’s 1er Cru Vaucoupin enjoys a similar aspect to Grand Cru Bougros.
The 2018s might have more body than the 2017s, but no shortage of freshness or the all-important minerality. Didier extended the lees contact somewhat to encourage a little reduction. Alcohol levels are moderate, around 12.5%. Didier said he found a zesty grapefruit character, both flesh and skin, in the vintage. All of these wines were bottled when we tasted them. Indeed they will arrive in time for the spring, so plenty of time to match them with some good quality native oysters. We have small quantities of magnums available, sealed with wax they look brilliant, and this format is perhaps the best for ageing.
Chablis En Vaudécorse 2018
A vineyard next to 1er Cru Vaucoupin, facing south-west. Beautiful nose, citrus, tight, racy and focussed. Very tight and elegant on the plate, mouth-watering citrus finish. Didier mentioned he finds grapefruit in this wine, and one can clearly see that on the finish.
Chablis Vieilles Vignes 2018
Various plots, all over 50-years-old, on a mix of clay and limestone. Waxy dry honey and seashell nose. Weightier attack, lots of drive on mid palate and again that waxy note, then tightens into a finish that almost reminds one of sherbet lemons. Just great, feels like the rock is in the glass with a finish that grows and grows.
Chablis 1er Cru Vosgros 2018
A stony, cool site influenced by a combe. Amazing focus – like a laser. Interplay between minerality and acidity. Harmony, a sense of tranquillity, a pure, racy wine until the finish, when it bursts into layers of complex mineral and floral notes and a touch of grapefruit skin
Chablis 1er Cru Vaucoupin 2018
Planted on a south facing slope overlooking the Serein river, Picq’s vines are in the steepest part were a slope of over 45 degrees means everything must be done by hand. This is a brilliantly positioned 1er Cru that is rarely seen but deserves a lot more attention. Green apple and lime nose, a little richer, but very taut and full of energy with a deep seam of almost nervous minerality. Hold its shape for ever on the finish, finely focussed and detailed.