Posts in Chablis
A First! Tasting the Newly Born Vintage of Daniel-Etienne Defaix

I’ve been visiting Domaine Daniel-Etienne Defaix for over half a decade. I always taste older vintages that charm and delight…but I am always in the area to taste the most recent vintage. When tasting the 2015 vintage in the region, I got a naughty pour off a tank of that vintage chez Etienne. I was PUMPED! So, when I arrived in 2017 to taste the 2016s, I was astonished to be presented (at last) a full line-up of the 2016s.

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All in the Family: Domaine Jaeger-Defaix

I’ve long been a fan of the wide range offered at Chablis’ Domaine Bernard Defaix. So when Didier (son of Bernard, who with his brother Sylvain oversees the domaine’s production today) asked if I would be interested in tasting the wines of the Rully domaine that his wife, Hélène, inherited in 2002, I replied with great eagerness. I’d tasted a wine or two here or there in New York, but I didn’t know much about them.

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Domaine du Chardonnay: A Brilliant Marketing Name

You can’t beat the name Domaine du Chardonnay for an enterprise that produces 38 hectares of domaine-owned Chablis. Founded in 1987 by a trio of friends, Etienne Boileau, William Nahan and Christian Simon, they had to come up with a non-family name. Those are pretty rare for wineries in Chablis. As they say, sometimes simplest is best, and these guys nailed it for marketing purposes!

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A Master of Making it Happen: Dominique Gruhier

Screw the romance of making wine and the lifestyle of wine. It’s a tough business, and some people seem to get none of the breaks. One of those is Dominique Gruhier, based in the hills of the world-famous Épineuil.

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A Signature of Terroir and Vintage: Vignoble Angst

P.S. If you do (or even if you don’t) visit the Angsts, don’t miss the Pontigny Abbey, the largest Cistercian abbey still standing in Europe. It is stunning from afar and on the inside. There are no vines around Pontigny today, but the monks did plant there. The office of the BIVB-Chablis (the marketing and promotions board of Chablis) is in a lovely building in the center of Chablis called The Petit Pontingy, and it previously served as the abbey’s vinification site.

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It’s All About the Timing: Domaine Alain Mathias

There’s nothing like arranging winery visits on the road. Learning about good juice while in Milan on a Monday then visiting the winery on the Friday (especially on Bastille Day…and at 9 am) in Chablis is exciting. Meeting people on their home turf is the best way to learn about their wines. That is especially true when the winery is off-the beaten path, and there are young peeps making tasty stuff.

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The Vines of Vrignaud and High-Heeled Sandals in Chablis

I met Guillaume Vrignaud three or four years ago. He seemed shy but friendly, and he was clearly, thoroughly passionate. I really liked his wines. I learned first hand that the way to really get him going was to get him into the vineyard. I will never forget our unexpected climb up some steep and rocky slopes through his vines in Côte de Fontenay and Vaupulent (each strikingly different in many ways)…while I wore three inch heeled sandals and Guillaume sprinted about in gym shorts.

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Knocking at (Ten)Thirty: Domaine Agnès & Didier Dauvissat

Knocking at the door of anyone in France for professional call on Bastille Day morning can be unnerving, even when they are expecting you. Happily, this trio of Dauvissats immediately dissipated my concern.

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Eye on Irancy: Maison de la Chapelle

Irancy is one of THE most beautiful appellations in France, with a postcard perfect town snuggled into the bottom of the appellation’s bird nest shape. So, it isn’t too curious that the appellation sells about 80% of its wine from the cellar doors! It’s a popular day and weekend trip from Paris.

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Citizens of the “New Chablis”: Domaine Camille & Laurent Schaller

Chablis is rapidly changing today, and it’s all for the better. I was thrilled to visit one of the region’s new wine-producing domaines in Préhy last July. There are several new or new-ish wineries in this southwestern corner of Chablis. It’s quite a hotspot for new names.

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Chablis’ Domaine Oudin with Nathalie Oudin

“Our vineyards are on the left and right banks, all near Chichée,” said Nathalie Oudin. I immediately sensed that Nathalie might be sizing me up. Luckily, I speak “Chablisien” and understood that the family’s vines are clustered around the pretty village of Chichée, about a five-minute drive to the southeast of the town of Chablis.

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Laurent Tribut and His Je Ne Sais Quoi Chablis Style

Driving up to the big, beautiful and old stone farmhouse of Laurent and Marie-Clothilde Tribut, I was impressed. It looked like quite a large operation. When no one replied to my knock at the door, I took a few pushes on the swing in the seemingly centuries old tree in the front yard while I waited for someone to arrive.

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A Scintillating Discovery in Chablis: Jean-Claude Bessin

Jean-Claude and his wife oversee 12 hectares and run their miniscule winery based in La Chapelle-Vaupelteigne north of the town of Chablis. Jean-Claude took over from his father about 30 years ago, and his son, Romain – a drum-playing jazz musician – now works with him.

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Despite A Dramatic 2016 Vintage in Chablis, Kool Kid Patrick Piuze Made Stand-Out Wines!

The 2016 vintage will long live as a legend in Chablis. Everything that could have happened in a growing season did. Brows furrowed deeper and more hair turned gray - or even white -than in any vintage in recent memory. In fact, even the old timers say they’ve never seen anything like it.

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A Few Recently Tasted Chablis 2014 Bottlings

La Chablisienne 2014 Petit Chablis Pas Si Petit: This cuvée is composed of fruit from over 280 grape growers dedicated to one of France’s best cooperatives! Its laser-like acidity initially gives the wine a chiseled feel on the palate, but a swarm of fruit quickly follows to make this accessible and easy to sip.

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Reflections on Chablis

Chablis trumps the Côte d’Or in 2012 whites. While Chablis also experienced hail, it came in April before the berries set. This reduced the crop size from the very start - earlier-harvesting areas lost anywhere between 5 to 10% to up to 30% in the Grand and Premier Crus.

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