My wine club’s Burgundy theme continued this past week, summer style, with the white wines of Chablis. “Chablis is the northernmost wine district of the Burgundy region in France”. The wines of Chablis are (generally) made from 100% Chardonnay. We had a sort of vertical tasting, though not really. Vertical implies tasting the same wine from various vintages. Here the group ended up getting 7 wines from the highly regarded William Fevre winery of Chablis. We tasted 5 grand cru wines and 2 premier cru wines, from the 2003, 2004 & 2006 vintages.
Before getting into the wines themselves, I must confess that I am at a point in my wine appreciation where I immensely ENJOY white wines, but have not come across too many I believe to be outstanding and that merit high price tags. $20, OK. $30 – sure, why not (if you can afford it). But much more than that…well, I’ll pass. That said, SOME of the wines of Chablis that I have been fortunate enough to taste are so UNIQUE, given their characteristic steely & flinty profiles, that this tasting was one I was prepared to splurge for and quite excited about. Bottom line, while some of the wines showed that uniquely special flinty/steely quality, others were heavy on the oak, and though they had a nice crisp acidity, did not strike me as special.
The first wine we tasted was the 2004 “Mountmains” 1er cru. This wine did NOT say “Domaine” on the label (though the Mountmains above DOES say domaine) and presumably was made from purchased fruit. This wine had obvious oak and while it was a nice Chardonnay it was not (to my very amateur palate) a special Chablis wine.
The second wine was the 2004 “Fourchaume” 1er cru. This clear lite gold wine had a green tint and a very evident steeliness. Almost metallic and (to me) quite pleasant, this wine also showed a hint of nuttiness. Bright, crisp & steely, it had great minerality and was a fine example of Chablis.
Next was our first Grand Cru and also the first produced “domaine”, (as were the remaining 4) what we presumed was an estate wine (grown, vinified & bottled on estate property). The 2006 Bougros Grand Cru was a clear straw wine with green reflections (or so it appeared on the dimly lit patio in midtown Manhattan where we were tasting). Aromas of stone fruit such as peach and apricot led to flavors of tart fruit, tangy (unripe) tropical fruit & a bracing acidity. It finished toasty & long, and while it is not what I think of when I think of Chablis, it was quite nice.
Moving right along into the 2006 “Les Preuses” Grand Cru which had a clear straw color. Typical oaked chardonnay aromas of melon, citrus & toast, this wine was quite elegant on the palate and had flavors of toast & flint. It finished tart, crisp & long.
The 2004 “Les Preuses” Grand Cru had a wide range of aromas; from lechee and apricot to grilled peaches. Fruity & creamy flavors were reminiscent of peach cobbler. It finished long with sweet bready/yeasty flavors.
The 2004 “Vaudesir” Grand Cru had a bit of funk to it. Limestone, sea shells & bready yeast aromas led to tart citrus flavors & a long bitter (nearly unpleasant) finish.
Our last wine was the 2003 “Valmur” Grand Cru. Sadly this wine was oxidized. I tried to smell/taste it but its funky oxidization was too much to overlook and this wine was not tastable.
Overall another fun & interesting tasting. Not my favorite, but a pleasure nonetheless – one I feel privilledged to have been a part of.
Happy Chablis wine tasting!