What a delight to have in front of me seven different Premier Cru Chablis to taste! A rare opportunity that gave me a chance to compare seven wines that come from the same appellation (Chablis), grape variety (Chardonnay) and quality level (Premier cru) but that show differences depending on where exactly they come from.
The whole concept of terroir and climat made sense at the tasting. Indeed we were able to understand how the specific location, the soil characteristics, the steepness and the exposure of a slope can change the style and taste of the wine. Some wines were very mineral and had a distinctive purity (Premier cru from Côte de Léchet, Vau de Vey, Montmains) while others displayed fruitiness and floral characteristics (from Vaulaurent and Beauroy).
It was quite fascinating to analyse the subtle differences that revealed the true meaning of terroir. However, for me, the concept of terroir is not only the geological and climatic condition of a specific plot of land but it also encompasses the know-how and experience of the wine maker. It is his talent that will truly reveal the personality of that terroir.
Here is a list of some of my favourites:
Chablis Premier Cru, Côte de Léchet, Domaine des Malandes, 2015
Pure expression of Chablis Premier Cru: oozing of freshness on the nose with lemon, lime, grape and flinty minerality. On the palate, the wine is pure, focused and full of energy with a long finish.
Chablis Premier Cru, Montmains, Domaine des Malandes, 2015
Same producer, same vintage but different climat and winemaking, hence a different style. The freshness is still palpable but with more depth than the first wine: here, the minerality is chalky, there is a touch of fresh bread and saltiness added to the lemon/grapefruit palate. Definitely rounder and denser than the Cote de Lechet.
Chablis Premier cru, Beugnons, Domaine Sébastien Dampt, 2014
This wine, aged in concrete egg, is a bit closed on the nose but reveals an extraordinary palate of savoury character and nuttiness (walnut). Very intense and long finish.
Chablis Premier Cru, Vaulorent, La Chablisienne, 2014
One of the climat giving the most floral character to the wine. Indeed the wine has a distinctive floral and fruity nose with peach, strawberry and cream. On the palate, the notes become more lemony and have a clear redcurrant character. Powerful and expressive with a very long peach finish. My favourite.
Chablis Premier Cru, Fourchaume, Domaine William Fèvre, 2014
Yet, another expression of what Chablis can be. This time, minerality comes back with a cheesy (comté) and creamy expression and some hazelnut notes. Very distinctive.
Chablis Premier Cru, Beauroy, Alain Geoffroy, 2012
Back on the floral/fruit spectrum with white flowers, peach, lime, grapefruit, green apple and notes of tropical fruits (mango) and yet, still expressive minerality. Round and grapefruity long finish. Another favourite.