The world is warming, of that there can be little doubt. And if there is one wine that depends on a marginal climate for its salient character, it is Chablis.
The wines of Chablis are models of mineral tension, having a steely lemon-and-lime core that lends them a scintillating precision. As such, they offer the sort of drinking that makes one’s taste buds sit up in a state of high alertness. The best wines of the region slice a citrus hole in one’s senses through which they pour the limestone accumulations of their Kimmeridgian origins.
And the trouble is that that tension – that precision – is being gradually leached away by climate change. Delicious wines are produced, but the Chablis-ness is diminished.
Well, in 2017 it is back in spades. They are what the French call craquant i.e. crunchy. They zip; they fizz; they race about on one’s tongue like sandpipers on a beach trying to keep their feet out of the surf. In short, they are Chablis squared.
I have tasted a great many superb examples in the last few weeks and can here offer what I consider to be a properly representative bunch. I commend them to anyone who loves a fine bottle of Chablis wine.
[Each wine name is a live link to the wine in our online shop, and all 2017 wines from any one producer are linked within the shop. The domaine titles are live links to ALL 2017 wines from that domaine.]
This estate always made good wine…if a little oaky at the top levels. Then it was bought by champagne house Henriot in 1995 and it was pushed right into the top tier of Chablis wine production. Fèvre owns 78 hectares of vineyards, of which 15.9 are classified as Premiers Crus and 15.2 as Grand Crus.
2017 Chablis, William Fèvre
2017 Chablis 1er Cru Montmains, William Fèvre
2017 Chablis 1er Cru Vaillons, William Fèvre
2017 Chablis 1er Cru Mont de Milieu, William Fèvre
2017 Chablis 1er Cru Montée de Tonnerre, William Fèvre
2017 Chablis 1er Cru Vaulorent, William Fèvre
2017 Chablis Grand Cru Bougros, William Fèvre
2017 Chablis Grand Cru Vaudésir, William Fèvre
2017 Chablis Grand Cru Les Preuses, William Fèvre
2017 Chablis Grand Les Clos, William Fèvre
2017 Chablis Grand Les Bougros Côte de Bouguerots, William Fèvre
I visited Vincent at his winery back in November and subsequently saw him again and retasted his wines in London. Vincent makes a village Chablis that is designed for immediate consumption, whilst retaining excellent character. But it’s his premiers crus that I really love. Both the winery and vineyards are on the left bank of the River Serein in a sector that produces especially mineral wines.