2012 Domaine des Héritières Chablis Montmains 1er cru

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.

2019 Guillaume Vrignaud Petit Chablis

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.

2019 Christophe et Fils Chablis

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.

2014 Moreau Naudet Chablis Vaillons 1er cru

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.

95 points.

2009 Stefano Lubiana Grande Vintage

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.

94 points.

2014 Gilbert Picq et Ses Fils Chablis Vaucoupin 1er Cru

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.

2017 Patrick Piuze Chablis Les Séchets 1er Cru

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.

2018 St Hubert’s Chardonnay

Another from the mystery TWE Cellardoor.co $75 six pack. Started nicely pitched between the green, spent match end and the peachy sunshine limit of the swinging pendulum of Chardonnay fashion. Ripe citrus, sort of Meyer lemon and grapefruit, a slice of peach, all generous and glossy. All roped together by ripe acidity, oak spice grip and a touch of tangy yoghurt. Really good winemaking. Restraint and craft. To misquote Scott from marketing, How good’s Aussie Chardy?

13.5% alcohol I think, forgot to note, tut. Screw cap. $12.50 of mysterious value.

92 points.

Champagne Voirin Jumel Cuvée 555

Cinq cent cinquante cinq certainly isn’t the easiest French number for an anglophone to get their mouth around. So much easier to drink though. So rich, dense and compact. Beautiful clean smells and tastes of crystallised citrus, quince, apple tarte tatin and spiced brioche. Such a mid winter cheer up treat. Over two days nothing budged from the first phhuutt of opening. It’s been languishing in the cellar for a couple of years, demonstrated by the cork staying compressed after gently wriggling free and just about the only clue to its age. The flavours despite their power show impressive compression and tension. For the technically minded, the back label says so much more than most Champagnes are willing to admit. All Grand Cru Chardonnay from the Côte de Blancs, barrel ferment, five different vintages, 20% reserve wine, 6gs per litre dosage and no malolactic ferment. The last bit still shows strongly with a surge of mouthwatering, appetite enhancing tingling acidity to close. Don’t think there’s a better way to start yet another quiet evening at home.

12% alcohol. Cork. Enthusiastic wifely purchase. Thanks indeed for sharing, dear.

95 points.

2017 Domaine Oudin Chablis 1er cru Vaugiraut

A weekend treat for this Chablis lover. Opened a little bit yeasty and wild but soon calmed down as it took a breath of air. Oh yes, this has all those Chablis smells and flavours of ripe citrus, maybe quince, creamy yeast lees, a yoghurt sourness and that ocean spray. Natural and relaxed. The concentration of flavour ramps up as it glides on flinty rails through the mouth, flaunting it’s premier cru caste. The flavours swell and linger, carried along on a cool watery stream of chalk and pebbles. Oddly this may be a real memory of smell and taste. Growing up in Wessex, my early summer holidays were often spent splashing in a gravelly chalk river. So immersed on a rare hot day that I probably swallowed a fair drink. Delicious Chablis will do these days.

13% alcohol. Cork, boo. $60.

94 points.