Chablis

2020 is another short harvest in Chablis, but again of very high quality. 2021 sounds as though it's smaller again in quantity, and while the quality may yet be reasonable, we'd advise stocking up now given how long Chablis can keep and mature. Stylistically the wines are often quite hard to tell apart from 2019 - as Pierrick Laroche of Domaine des Hâtes put it 'it's a vintage I like a lot - it's ripe because it was hot but there's good acidity and minerality - 2019 and 2020 are pretty much in the same frame.'


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Domaine des Hâtes

Pierrick Laroche's father farms cereals, and was not very concerned with his family's vineyard, the production of which was sold to the co-operative. Pierrick took them out of the co-operative, and 2010 was his first vintage making wine under his own label.

Pierrick is clearly a very talented winemaker. He currently manages 25 hectares of vines in Petit Chablis, Chablis and Premier Cru, with additional fruit being bought to make his Beauroy and Grand Cru Bougros.

In preparation for bottling under his own name from 2010 onwards Pierrick stopped using pesticides and herbicides in 2009 and has since then manually worked the soil - this great change in practices has seen superb results in the quality of fruit he is now picking.

It is all about freshness and precision here. Classical, deeply mineral wines. Picking perhaps earlier than some of his neighbours Pierrick captures beautiful acidity and brightness of fruit - he then loves giving the wine a long élevage in tank to build texture and weight and complexity. He is not averse to using oak - but it is done at a very minimal level with just the 1er Cru wine having less than 25% oak ageing. The results are bright, elegant wines but with a real shape and feel - classical, but interesting Chablis.

2020 CHABLIS Grand Cru Bougros Maison des Hâtes

2020 CHABLIS Grand Cru Bougros Maison des Hâtes

All in one 'demi-muid' (a 600l barrel) which was new in 2018. Rich and complete, lots of power then a harmonious richness which is taut and full of energy - it's very good. There's a very subtle oakAll in one 'demi-muid' (a 600l barrel) which was new in 2018. Rich and complete, lots of power then a harmonious richness which is taut and full of energy - it's very good. There's a very subtle oak effect which simply elongates the long finish. Drinking range: 2024 - 2040L&S (Oct 2021)

75cl bottles, case of 6

In Bond

2020 CHABLIS Domaine des Hâtes

2020 CHABLIS Domaine des Hâtes

Light bright nicely balanced wine with a really attractive touch of sweetness to the fruit and a breezy saline minerality on the lifted finish.Light bright nicely balanced wine with a really attractive touch of sweetness to the fruit and a breezy saline minerality on the lifted finish. Drinking range: 2022 - 2025L&S (Oct 2021)

75cl bottles, case of 12

In Bond

2020 CHABLIS 1er Cru Butteaux Domaine des Hâtes

2020 CHABLIS 1er Cru Butteaux Domaine des Hâtes

This was entirely made in barrel, but no new wood - 3-5 year-old barrels. Tasted when just out of barrel, so a little hard to discern, but this is a very classic style from a vineyard with quite aThis was entirely made in barrel, but no new wood - 3-5 year-old barrels. Tasted when just out of barrel, so a little hard to discern, but this is a very classic style from a vineyard with quite a lot of white marl, with weighty presence and firm mineral underpinnings. Great length shows there's even more to come. Drinking range: 2023 - 2033L&S (Oct 2021)

Magnums, case of 3

In Bond

75cl bottles, case of 12

In Bond

Domaine Adhémar et Francis Boudin

Domaine Adhémar & Francis Boudin, also known as Domaine de Chantemerle, has supplied L&S since our very first list. Adhémar, who sadly departed on his 96th birthday, was a well-known personality, never short of a story. He was in the leading group of the pioneering growers who cleared scrub and planted some of the original Chablis vineyards. It was hard, and he only stopped keeping cows alongside ('if you didn't have a cow or two you died of hunger') in the mid-1950s. It is astonishing to think that the Premiers Crus were only defined in 1975.

Adhémar was the first to bottle the macabrely-named 'Homme Mort' Premier Cru separately, (it is usually sold as part of la Fourchaume) after a geologist confirmed his belief that it closely resembled the soil structure and exposition of the Grands Crus. The name is as a result of the discovery, when the vines were originally planted, of the body thought to be that of an English soldier from the Hundred Years’ War.

Francis Boudin, now aided by the next generation, his daughters Angélique and Virginie, as well as Angélique's husband, continues to make wines that are, for Chablis, rich and yellow gold, fatly concentrated, unoaked and pure, with a mildly buttery edge rounding out that minerally, stony ethereal Chablis character. These are wines which can be consumed with enormous pleasure in their first year after the harvest, or kept (even the simple Chablis) for several years.

Domaine Agnès, Didier & Florent Dauvissat

Domaine Agnès & Didier Dauvissat was founded in 1986, and is based in the village of Beine at the eastern end of 1er Cru Beauroy. Agnès and Didier planted all their vineyard themselves. This amounts to around 10 ha now, made up of 3.5ha of Petit Chablis, planted on hard Portlandian limestone soils full of marine fossils on the plateau above Fyé, 4.5 hectares of Chablis planted in the villages of Courgis and Fyé, on south-facing slopes which are the southerly continuation of the slope of the Grands Crus, and finally a 2 ha plot or 1er cru Beauroy which is above the lake slightly toward the eastern side of the middle of this Premier Cru, and exposed to the south-west. The vines are now reaching full maturity and producing what is obviously some very high-quality fruit.

Florent, Agnès and Didier's son, has now joined the domaine and seems to be something of a wine-making talent - as Neal Martin wrote in his 2019/2020 Chablis report 'Could Florent Dauvissat be the next great winemaker to bear that famous surname?'. The wines are made in completely classical way, in stainless steel and aged on the lees for 12 months.

Domaine Denis Pommier

Founded when the Pommiers inherited 2 hectares of vines in 1990. Isabelle and Denis bottled their first wine in 1994 and now have 18 hectares of vineyards, which are run according to biodynamic principles (which have sadly cost them dearly in terms of lost crop in 2016 and 2017).

The Petit Chablis is a model of brisk freshness - made entirely in stainless steel. The two named 'lieu-dits' of Chablis 'village', Les Reinettes and Croix aux Moines, are about a hectare in total. It's a north-facing slope which catches the sun late in the day. Reinettes is on pure Kimmeridgian clay, under Croix au Moines, which is on a thinner soil at the top of the hill, both in the same sector as Côte de Léchet. The Premiers Crus benefit from a small amount of barrel-fermentation and élevage. The Troësmes (a small parcel within the larger premier cru 'Beauroy' which the Pommiers think deserves to be identified by its correct name) is relatively rounder, while the Côte de Léchet is the one for fans of the slatier, crystalline side of minerality. Keep either of the premiers crus four to six years.

Domaine Drouhin Vaudon

The Beaune-based merchant Joseph Drouhin has restyled its Chablis Domaine 'Domaine Drouhin-Vaudon' to emphasise its ties with and holdings in (38 hectares) the Chablis vineyard. The Moulin de Vaudon, an 18th Century watermill straddling the Serein River, close to the Grand Cru vineyards of Chablis, is the headquarters and the source of the name. It is the largest estate in Chablis entirely farmed biodynamically.

Domaine Moreau-Naudet

A domaine of 25 hectares, of which 3 are in Petit Chablis, 11 or 12 in Chablis, 3 in Vaillons, 2 in Forets, 1.6 in Montmains, 0.86 in Montée de Tonnerre, and 0.58 in Valmur. (Yes, this does not make 25 - there are further parcels of young vines in the Courgis sector - Beauregards, Côte de Jouan and Goulotte, which are currently sold in bulk).

Virginie (Mimi) Moreau is proving more than equal to the task of taking over from her husband Stéphane. Stéphane, who was influenced by Vincent Dauvissat (who recommended him to us many years ago, and who remains an influence here) was vigneron whose star burned very brightly, and the domaine continues along the lines he set, working organically, hand-picking, aiming for optimum maturity while avoiding any botrytis influence.

The cellar-work is also masterful, using 30% barrel-élevage for all the Premier and the Grand Cru, but not in such a way that oakiness can readily be detected in the wines (all the barrels are steamed rather than charred and there is no new oak except for in the straight Chablis, and then only one barrel per 100hl in order to age it prior to using for the Premiers Crus).

Virginie is now really totally confident in her role here, and the wines here, full of racy character, textural depth and complexity, seem to be better with every vintage.

Domaine Solange Tribut

Solange Tribut is the daughter of Laurent Tribut, whose excellent Chablis we have sold successfully for years, and the niece of the highly regarded Vincent Dauvissat. The family tradition for expressive yet pure Chablis is safe in her hands. Her wines are very classically shaped. Light on their toes - pithy with lovely citrus highs and great clean lines. Super value wines with great heritage.

Domaine Laurent Tribut

Laurent Tribut is married to Vincent Dauvissat's sister, Marie Clotilde. When he started he made his wines in the Dauvissat cellar in Chablis, but now this small family-run domaine is based in Poinchy. Laurent has now officially retired and has now handed over to three of their four children (Solange, Adeline and Gabriel), with Solange taking the lead in the winery. With Laurent’s guidance the future here looks very bright.

With just 6 hectares the quantities are small - but the quality of all the cuvées is extraordinary. Pure, powerfully driven, classically shaped there is more than a passing similarity to the wines of his brother-in-law, the head-line grabbing Vincent Dauvissat. Buyers will enjoy these long-lived wines with some time in bottle too - they have a great ability to age and patience will pay off, we recently tasted the 1er Cru Côte de Léchet 2004 with Laurent in his cellar and it was bright, young and full of vigour - nearly 15 years on, and in 2020 the 2000 Beauroy was still in it’s prime. This is brilliant, classic Chablis.

Domaine Vincent Dauvissat

A domaine of 12.7 hectares, comprising a hectare each of the Grands Crus Clos and Preuses, 3.7ha of Premier Cru Forest, 1.3ha of Vaillons, 0.4ha of Séchet, .3ha of Montée de Tonnerre, 3.3ha of Chablis, 1.1ha of Petit Chablis, and .6ha of Irancy (red).

Vincent Dauvissat remains one of the (if not the) leading lights of Chablis, and his wines are always in high demand and limited volume.

Vincent's grandfather Robert was the first to start bottling under the family name in 1931 and he uses the same cellar today - but the family have been growing grapes here since the 18th century. Today his single-minded determination in the vineyard, where he follows biodynamic principles (without certification) followed by very subtle use of old oak barrels as part of a long élevage, produce some of Chablis' most age-worthy and fascinating wines.