Well, I’m a silly boy, just noticed this is the second bottle. Old and forgetful as well as silly. The first one was reviewed in July 2020, two years ago, my only mitigation. Similar points and probably on the 94 side of 95, either seems right. Consistently delicious bottle of extravagant bubbles nonetheless.
A weekend of treats from the cellar. This one from the good value direct importer, Champagne de Vigneron. A few years rest after 50 months on lees and it smells so good. Voirin Jumel again disclose more info than most on the back label, hundred percent grand cru Chardonnay from the Côte des Blancs, five different vintages plus 20% reserve wine, barrel fermented in old oak between 15 and twenty years old, no malo and 6g/l dosage. Complicated bit of wine making. The result is amazingly single minded. Great perfume of savoury brioche yeasty lees, crystalline fruit and chalky freshness. Drives long and narrow all the way to a lingering end of grapefruit and a sort of yeasty floral honey. Quiet power that ends in a puff of steely acidity leaving the mouth fresh as fragrance fills the senses. Over a couple of days maybe a little oak texture and definitely a tarte tatin richness to add weight to a memorable end. Not flamboyant but plenty of flavour. By way of understatement, what a good way to encourage an appetite.
12% perhaps, the gold print on black velour label is very posh but faded. Cork. Think it was well under $100 which in the scheme of the Champagnois price thinking is a bargain.
94 very poised points. Extra for appetite sharpening.
It was perhaps last century when I realised how good Michel Laroche’s Chablis were in terms of clean winemaking and consistency. Maybe not the magic of the now beyond reach Raveneau or Dauvissat. Laroche was perhaps one of the first French producers to use screw caps as a logically scientific answer to the organic whims of tree bark, such was the care taken. It was a surprise to read the family business had sold. I should try and keep up. It must have been of some size. Le Domaine d’Henri seems to be a much smaller operation run by ses enfants and named after his père. This particular bottle came as another hearty recommendation from Randall’s Wine Merchants. Starts off with a whiff of sulphur reduction that clears quickly in the glass. In honesty you can only describe aromas in terms of those which are familiar. So bear with me but this has that heady perfume of one of those Australian wattles in full bloom, don’t know which one and there’s a lot of them. Like walking in seaside forest on a warming sunny winter day as those acacias are vivid in their yellow fragrance. More familiar are flavours of pears in honey, exotic citrus, yuzu or Meyer lemon, a whisper of white peach and cut apple, all cruising to a detailed end of real length. Texturally there’s a quiet build of feather tickle acidity that starts as a murmur and builds to a self confident sweep of beautiful fruit. Plenty of wine description fancy too in those Chablis chalky mineral flavours. Such good manners and maybe at a point in life where it’s most comfortable in its skin?
12.5% alcohol. Diam. Didn’t keep a receipt which is wise after visiting Randall but about $60 I think.
94 points, just fading a scintilla on day two to 93. Silly quibble really.
A pre arrival offer from Randall’s, a local Melbourne importer of good things, and some great reviews from Bill Nanson’s Burgundy Report made buying irresistible at the sort of prices we are warned won’t last. The increasingly earlier vintages seem to bring flavours and structure to Chablis which aren’t perhaps exactly typical. Recently, if I hadn’t known what’s in the glass, my first guess would have been more Yarra Valley Chardonnay than Chablis in a couple of cases. Wondering why, a bit of…er…my own research found accounts of early seasons more like the Yarra in timing where the tartaric acid remains firm with little of the malic acid which of course turns into that mouthwatering lactic tang I love in Chablis. Isn’t science good? Thus, it was a joy to stick my nose into this and think Chablis. More ripe citrus and sweet green herbs than stone fruits and then that invigorating marine scent of oyster shells and chalk. Gloriously refreshing. Perhaps more of a firm grip than a luscious tingle but still impossible to put down. Tremendous depth of fruit for the humble bottom of the Chablis pyramid. So clean, fresh and head first into a cool ocean. Didn’t buy enough.
12.5% alcohol, nice. Diam, hooray, the difficulty of getting one back in the bottle won’t be a problem here. Currently $33 in store. Hope there’s some left.
93 points, as many as the richer, more powerful 2019 1er cru on the table at the same time.
June 2022 and another bottle. Like the first, much better the second day. The fruit gains so much weight and length. There’s quite a grapefruit tang in the middle verging into pleasantly sour. Maybe a whisper of pyrazine green capsicum? Nonetheless, so delicious. Did I mention I love Chablis?
92 points perhaps for this but don’t expect objectivity.
A negotiant bottling I think as the front label has a cryptic OT reference and the back label says bottled by Maison Tricon, perhaps the Olivier variety of Tricon? The source aside this was one of those bottles that was disappointing to start and ended up with the feeling the bottle was too small. Still a good fill level and a long firm cork with virtually no travel was encouraging. Still lightly coloured with a tinge of green gave even more hope. First sniff and taste was a let down of cheese and nuts aldehyde, sort of oxidised like Fino. Grapes with no protection from oxidation like apples cut and left to brown. First taste, crisp and fresh to start, then a cloud of the oxidative making hides any fruit through the mouth until a flicker of citrus and honey to end. Enough to stuff the cork back in and back into the fridge to see what happens with a day’s air. Kill or cure. Second day and the oxidative edge is still there but as it sits in the glass, booming flavours of beeswax, acacia flowers, honey, exotic citrus, mushrooms and that sense of stream water over cool limestone or something similarly fanciful. The aldehydic note nearly disappeared. Not sure how wine science explains that. The lessons here I think are, the 2012 Chablis vintage is very, very good and despite some old fashioned or dodgy winemaking that fruit quality will out. So wish I had some 2012s in the cellar.
13% alcohol. Cork. $48 at auction.
Started 85 points, ended up 93 days of yore points.
Sort of not so petit with large framed flavour and shape. Maybe it’s the warmer vintages? Thankfully this hangs on to some typical Chablis smells and tastes despite the rich and ripe feel. Lots of ripe lime, other sweet citrus verging into almost melon. Viscous glide full of creamy glycerol texture. Nevertheless for us Chablis fanciers there’s sea breezy saline, a hint of crustacean shell and a cut of yoghurt tangy acidity that still manage to scratch the insistent itches for which there’s only one treatment. A little broad in the beam but anchored to its sea shell bed. Lacks the detail of a premier cru in a cooler vintage but delicious and honest. Beggars and choosers as the old cliche goes.
12.5% alcohol the label says but… Diam, yes. $30 pre arrival offer from Randall the Winemerchant, nice selection.
91 but so much more for Chablis truth.
I think I’d better make this post script a pre script as the difference in what my oft inadequate senses of smell and taste can tell was so different. Another bottle in September 2021 was so much riper looking it took head scratching to levels where resident small animals feared eviction. Did I get the vintage year right the first time? This bottle looked so much riper. Some sweet lime, almost green melon and a sultana skin like finish. Still a hint of Chablis salinity and tang but compared to the last bottle, pretty much lacking. Maybe the scents and poise of Chablis sunk below the ripeness as it settled in bottle? It did get the chance to explain over a couple of days. Certainly not going to argue with the perception that 2018 and 2019 were generally warm and too ripe for cool Chablis refreshment. There’s always going to be exceptions, I’d thought this was one. Could be a dodgy, old palate of course.
This time 91 point good Chardonnay.
No simpler or more evocative name in white wine for me, oh no, here he goes again. This small domain has been making Chablis of class and quality above its relative appellation for a few years now. This is shy and coiled with latent sinewy muscle but with some air, the quality of the raw materials starts to show in the form of a lingering depth. Delicious array of flavour across the scale from a top note of delicate acacia, like Australian wattle in full winter bloom, sweet Meyer lemon, beeswax, honey, sweet green herbs, to a bass of seaside iodine and old damp limestone. All pulled long on a yoghurt tang and the finest tingle of ripe acidity. Subtle power. Time will be kind, especially sealed with a Diam stopper. The problem will be keeping the paws off the other bottle.
13% alcohol. Diam. $49, in the world of white Burgundy, a bargain.
Easy 94 points, in time 95, village label but 1er cru class.
Not sure if complexity in wine flavours is necessarily a good thing but when all the smells and tastes are sumptuous, well then I’m happy to cope with the competition for my attention. Opening with almost caramel toffee, bit of aldehyde, damn cork perhaps? Quickly turns to creme brûlée, then wild waxy honey, quince and ripe exotic citrus. Twists and turns with air, a little hazelnut through the middle, bruised apples and pears, finally a yoghurt tang and wet chalky soil. Power packed but so self contained by pith and mouthwatering acidity. Great white Burgundy from the north end of things. Essence of Chablis, the world’s most delicious Chardonnay surely?
12.5% alcohol. Cork, they flirted with Diam in the past too, doh. About $80 I think.
After months of sensible pandemic restrictions, the joy of being allowed to cook dinner for a dear neighbour was doubled when they turned up on the doorstep with such luxurious bubbles. Something like 70% Chardonnay, the rest Pinot Noir left on lees for nine years before disgorging and goodness, some impact and power. Starts a bit reductive and green but with the dense bubbles tickling the nose, there’s a richness of spice, caramel, butter pastry, crystalline citrus, barley sugar and aniseed. Lingers with a deep flavour of ripe Chardonnay and still fresh chalky acidity. Not exactly subtle but a powerfully balanced mouthful. Splendid Australian sparkling wine of its own merit. What a great way to celebrate our lockdown patience and true neighbourliness.
12.5% alcohol. Diam. Thanks.
Ah Chablis, tickles a fancy like no other Chardonnay can. A first scribbled impression, forgive the hyperbole….like a cool stone bedded country stream, through meadows of spring flowers, bees awaxing fragrant honey, floating downstream to dream of weightless graces, to a breath of the iodine sea. There, complete nonsense. Nonetheless a traditional Chablis in the best sense. Mouthfilling amount of pithy solid grape bits to chew, champion lactic acidity, rich in flowers, honeycomb – the waxy hive type not the sugared confection, a paste of fresh hazelnut and almond, a warm peck on the cheek of a rosy apple, cut and browning. All evaporates in a fragrant puff of acidity and stony grip. OK, a hopeless infatuation.
12.5% alcohol. Cork, no romance there. 580 gms of glass. $70 brave bid.
95 points, no objectivity whatsoever.
Maybe complexity in wine can be good or not so good? Under and over ripeness, obvious oak or plain faults could all bring complexity, this has none of those things but it does have a kaleidoscopic range of beautiful flavours. From a vineyard in the larger premier cru of Vaillons noted for its floral perfume, you’d barely need a sense of smell to agree. My scribbled notes, flowers! Wattle in bloom, waxy honey, muddy chalk. Precise and powerful laser beam of ripe citrus, perfume and drive, perfect ripeness just floats off into the distance. Dense and compact too. That was just the first day. After twenty four hours, it gets even more florid….more sea salty, candied Meyer lemon, almost bergamot builds in the mouth, perfect seasoning of oak caramel and a great sweep of pebbly, dry, ripe acidity sweeps through leaving the perfume of a perfect spring day in a flower and honey strewn meadow. Notwithstanding the fanciful nonsense, this is a brilliant drink.
12.5% alcohol. Cork, groan, a screw cap and ten years on, I wish. $110 rrp.
95 points, more to come.