Caves Jean et Sebastien Dauvissat, Vaillons, AOC Chablis Premier Cru, Yonne, Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, France, 2015
On AOC Chablis Premier Cru
The 40 premier crus, plain Chablis, and Petit Chablis vineyard, are pretty much evenly distributed along both banks of the Serein river, whilst all the 7 grand crus lie, optimally positioned, on the right bank, map.
Regarding use of oak, if used at all, it is the more reserved French, rather than American, and not new. It is most commonly used at grand cru level, which can take both the added flavour of sensitively used wood, and its associated costs, at fermentation, and/or for ageing for some percentage, on the fine lees, with lees stirring.
In youth, the profile is citrus and orchard fruit, and depending on exposure and vintage conditions a richer riper stone fruit dimension of white peach and apricot. Acidity is decidedly fresh, in the medium-high range. With a few years cellaring, say 10+, oaked or unoaked, the best examples start to take on a biscuity-caramel-honeyed-hazelnut character, which can be mistaken for Chassagne-Montrachet.
This wine: lot No. LV718022 (on front label), varietal chardonnay, coated natural cork closure, 12.5% abv, Caves Notre Dame, €25.50 (09/19).
Consumer tasting note: Chablis in 2015 experienced a hot year, with fears of lowered acidity, but this was unfounded, however September hail ruined 10% of the vineyard including premier and grand crus. This premier cru is fully developed now, a little precocious, with a honeyed nutty profile, with notes of lemon curd, yellow stone fruit and mint; medium-full bodied with fresh(ish) acidity and a ditto palate to the nose; finishing soundly long.
Drink now – RTD, and will keep for 2-5 years – Wait. No need to decant.
WSET style tasting note
Appearance: clear and bright, medium intensity gold, showing tears [no sediment].
Nose: clean, medium (+) intensity, fully developed, with aromas as they come, of a honeyed roasted nuttiness edged with dried herbs, lemon curd, butterscotch, hint of baked apple, crystallised pear, hint of almond oil, a hint of tinned peach, dried mint, and strangely, a hint of confected red cherry, then cold stewed apple.
Palate: dry, medium (+) acidity, medium alcohol, medium (+) body, medium (+) intensity, a velvety texture with a low-key grip, with flavours of a honeyed nuttiness, yellow citrus pith, a hint of almond oil, a hint of tinned peach, herbal hints, hint of dried citrus peel, dried apple. A long (>40s) length, with a clean finish of honeyed nuttiness, edged with dried apple on the end, with a very low key grip.
Quality: very good, well balanced fresh acidity with alcohol and the textured medium-full body; a sound intensity throughout, with similar concentration; showing a fully developed character of much better than moderate complexity, with evidence of fruit development (cooked and dried fruit) and tertiary development (honey, nuts). Finishes long.
Drinking readiness/ageing potential: drink now, unsuited to further ageing, but will keep for 2-5 years – a sound acid backbone and balance; fully developed with nowhere to go, but with enough intensity, concentration, length, and an interesting complexity, to suggest it will hold, and drink well, for a few years yet.