We really like the chablis wines of William Fevre, the estate who is owned by the champagne house of Joseph Henriot since 1998. Didier Séguier, previously successful at the estate Bouchard in Beaune, has really elevated quality to an even greater level each year it seems. The great 2010 grand cru Les Clos that literally blew us away was tested here. It also contains more information about the producer and their work.
The chablis grand cru 2012 Bougros was newly released and we got really exited with the amazing 2010 vintage fresh in mind, but not expecting the same supremacy. So at this vertical tasting – not surprisingly – we added the 2010 as well as the classic vintage of 2008.
The 2008 vintage is good and classic with a lot of delicate lime minerals backed by a overly high level of energetic acidity and very pure fruit. However, this year survived spring frost well, but lacked sun until very late mid-September when it got hot. Luckily, it was saved by cooling north winds to keep acidity levels in the grapes. The lack of summer sun appeared an issue at first, but it is in general usually quite balanced, very fresh and managed to reach almost perfect ripeness right before harvest. However, the acidity is in general usually very high and gnarly wrapping loads of chalky minerals now so it certainly needs time to integrate much more. 2008 has all the element and grace for a better than normal vintage, but needs patience to develop into a more balanced wine.
2010 is in our opinion a greater and iconic, but unusual vintage compared to the very good and classic vintage of 2008 for chablis. Actually, spring was unusually cold, wet and very irregular which rendered very late and uneven flowering thus yields are 35-40% lower than usual in the grand cru vineyards and producers needed to sort grapes meticulously. Moreover, the vintage was saved by normal weather from late July until harvest, but still with heavy rains. Fortunately, the vintage manage to come out unusually great and much better than anticipated. The 2010 takes everything in a classic vintage even further and is remarkable for its impeccable balance, aromatic precision and unusual power for a Chablis, but without sacrificing any detail or complexity. On the contrary, it rather emphasis them. However, these descriptions only applies if you harvested early. Otherwise, the wines may get too heavy and overly concentrated without freshness. It may very well be the greatest vintage in Chablis in the latest 20 years and it will have a longer life than usual.
The 2012 started off with disaster during spring in the grand cru vineyards with frost and really poor weather conditions that prolonged flowering by weeks and when summer finally arrived in August, it got really hot and dry, but there was enough water retained in the soil in most places. However, due to the issues during spring, yields were down by up to 40% from normal and it was crucial to pick early to avoid too low levels of acidity in this vintage. Among the producers that did, 2012 is in general a little bit like a less complete version of the 2010, equally powerful and almost as concentrated, but not with the same precision and balance. This warmer vintage stand out as unusually rich, generously forward and much more approachable than the other two.
Now over to the tasting..
The colour has a pale but translucent middle with transparently yellow with a little light-green nuances and light yellow edges.
The scent has a base of vibrant, slightly burned lime minerals, fennel, nettles, exotic spices, grape, lime fruit and wonderful top notes of white flowers. A quite complex and beautifully fresh nose, but little nose, that is dominated by fresh minerals.
Typical pure layers of lime, grape, gooseberries, green apple and notes of almond. A lot of vibrant lime minerals that is dominated by a very energetic and balsamically fresh acidity that needs a lot of airing, but even after two hours, it is still gnarly now and obviously needs more time to integrate and really calm down. Texture is smooth, it is medium-bodied and driven by its overly energetic acidity.A classic and mineral-fresh wine with pretty nose, but now a little too high acidity-level. However, everything that you would expect from a classic is in there. Open 2016.
The colour has an overall translucent quality and the middle is pale, but transparently yellow with just a little light-green nuances and light yellow edges.
The scent emerges after about two hours in the decanter and offers distinct vibrating, somewhat burned, and very delicate lime and minerals. Moreover, there is pure lime fruit, elder, nettles, delicate white flowers and a very discrete slowly emerging, but mysterious inner perfume. A very deep and complex nose that make us happy and hooked.
We really like the vibrating, fine tuned and lightly burned chalky lime minerals that are elevated by the impressive acidity that is so energetic, fresh, olive oil-creamy and crispy. Moreover, the palate offers quite intense, but absolutely pure aromas of lime fruit, gooseberries, honey melon, passion fruit and notes of dry honey that gradually builds its weightless power into a super-long and elegant final. It is voluptuous, provides a consistent high-level concentration and texture is fine-grained and chewy.
This is an impressive and unusual version of this grand cru that is quite intense with impressively fresh and really pure aromas. Moreover, it is an amazingly persistent and powerfully structured wine build with impeccable balance and finesse.
Didier and his crew started picking early on the 20th of September, so they managed to keep a very high level of acidity in the very hot and dry end of the summer.
The colour has an overall translucent quality here too and the middle is pale yellow with just a little light-green nuances and light yellow edges.
Even after two hours of decanting, the nose is still very slow and emerges with white flowers, fine tuned minerals and citrus- and exotic fruits, but the fruit is very much in the background now. A fine but a little backward and less complex nose.
The taste is is quite the opposite, actually. It is very generous and offers lime, pears, gooseberries, honey melon and sea grass. It is very rich and more forward than the 2010, but it is not as balanced and lacks some depth and complexity. Texture is fine grained and the crispy acidity reveals itself in the very long final with less austerity than the 2010 and more saline notes. It is very rich, generous and weightlessly powerful for a chablis.
A broad-shouldered Chablis that stands out as rich and generous with plenty of fresh and high quality acidity for early drinking. Even so, my suggestion is to wait another year or two, so it can come together more and hopefully the nose will open up some more too then.
Compared with the nose in for example the Fevre 1er cru Montee de Tonnerre, the Bougros is slimmer, holding back and quite crisp in the beginning. A few hours after opening the bottle it gets rounder and opens up more. We find fresh pears, mineral notes and some exotic fruit in the background. Today this wine delivers a greater experience on the palate than on the nose. The acidity is fantastically crisp and energetic and carries the wine forward. There is also minerals, again some pears, and hints of honey in the end.
This wine should develop with time. Today it is a bit slim but has all the potential in the long run. This wine is all about freshness and energy rather than about complexity and depth, which of course could develop more with time. These short comings will not render top ratings, but this is a fantastically fresh wine.
The Bougros is a grand cru that in certain vintages like 2010 and 2012 can get really complete with more power without compromising details and complexity in the hands of a very crafted producer, but obviously it falls short to its supreme sibbling, the Les Clos. The 2012 Les Clos and the special Bougros, the “Côte Bougureots” will be released in August and we will be back with a tasting later that month, so stay tuned. Open a Bougros from Fevre to very fresh sea food, medium-fat fish dishes with creamy sauces. Ensure you have decanted the wine for at least three hours and that they are served at 12 degrees Celsius.