Tag Archives: Chablis

A creamy, powerful 2012 Les Clos from Fevre

We have praised domaine William Fevre before and especially the work by the team behind Didier Séguier. The 2012 Bougros was tasted in a vertical here. This post also summarises our thoughts of the 2012 vintage. The fantastic 2010 Les Clos was tasted here.

DSC046452012 Chablis grand cru Les Clos, William Fevre

Colour is quite crystalline lightly yellow pale with tints of green.

The nose emerges with immediate popcorn, nettles and hazelnut. You need to decanter this at least for two hours, but then more nettles arrive to the scene as well as lime, citrus-peel, and elegant perfume of white flowers.

On the palate, the texture is very creamy, soft and chewy. A quite big-bodied and powerful wine in accordance with its vintage, but still with remarkable precision and amazing concentration. A very aromatic wine with a lot of dried tropical fruit, walnuts, sea grass and of course citrus flavours. All coated in really fresh, impeccable and mineral-driven acidity of high quality wrapping olive oils and rocks.

A broad-shouldered and ample wine with steadfast focus and immense freshness.Obviously, not as balanced as the amazing 2010, but still really refined, focused and with a lot of finesse. It is drinkable now, but I would wait until 2018 for perfection. Perfect to fat fish dishes or shell fish.

94+p/100

A vertical tasting of Fevre’s chablis Bougros grand cru

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..

2008 William Fevre, Bougros grand cru

Sir Galahad:

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.

91-92p/100

2010 William Fevre, Bougros grand cru

Sir Galahad:

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.

95p/100

2012 William Fevre, Bougros grand cru

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.

Sir Galahad:

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.

93-94p/100

Andreas:

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.

92-94p/100

Summary

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.

Showdown: 2010 grand cru Les Clos, Chablis

The vineyard Les Clos is the most long-lived, complex, luscious and in my opinion the most elegant of the seven grand crus in Chablis. A much less high maintenance, charming and seductive princess compared to the elegant and graceful queen of Montrâchet, when it comes to wines based on chardonnay. It is also the largest vineyard spanning 27 ha and it is known for its Kimmeridgian soil that contains tremendous amount of white-grey lime stone and calcareous clay. Same type found in most parts of Sancerre (Loire) and Champagne.

The vintage 2010 is classic and very highly regarded in Chablis, even though frost and uneven, poor flowering rendered a very low yield, 30-50% lower than normal. Malo was slower to complete than usual but without issues and the vintage is even better than the great 2008 and offers very high concentration, high levels of acidity and perfect balance provided that you harvested at the right time. It will have a longer life than normal, maybe even 20 years! Hence, it is now just a baby, but we are interested in the vintage and some producers that people have been talking about lately.

The contenders for the title of best Les Clos wine are Christian Moreau Pére e fils and Domaine William Fevre.

DSC03082

The contenders in Les Clos

2010 Christian Moreau Pére & Fils “Les Clos”

Vines are 40-65 years old. Christian Moreau and his son Fabien are running the estate. Moreau works ecologically and is moving into biological cultivation without weed-killers or pesticides of any kind. Grapes are handpicked and a second selection is done at arrival in the winery. Yields are not kept at a certain level at this estate it seems, but rather natural, so no idea what the outtake was in this vintage. A gentle and careful pressing of the grapes is done by a pneumatic wine press. The grape must is fermented in temperature-controlled stainless steel with natural yeast. They started using natural yeast in 2008. Then 35% is aged for six months on fine lees in barriques, of which 10% are new. Cool racking is applied. After six months, the grapes in barriques are blended back with the rest in stainless steel and aged for another half year. Open 2016-2025. Costs €52.
Sir Galahad:

Colour is pale, transparent light yellow.
After 1.5 hour a very pleasant fragrance of white flowers, fresh apricot, notes of toffee, balsamic notes, nettle, some buttercup, beeswax and burned lime stone minerals. Very nice nose!
A mid palate of citrus, apricot, grape fruit, pine apple, a little saline and some burned chalky minerals. It is aromatic, generous, medium-bodied, quite rich and has medium length. However, very surprisingly it is a little low on acidity, from vintage plenty of it, causing some flatness and it is less fresh as well as carrying some residual sugars that disturbs the palate. Did they harvest too late or needed to chapitalise and made a mistake?..

After a really good nose, the taste was a surprising disappointment. Even though the wine is generous and aromatic, it certainly is a little flat, lacks energy as well as complexity and elegance.

91+p/100

Andreas: 

Nose: Honey, apricot and some floral notes. Very fresh and pleasant nose.
Taste: Quite soft acidity and not very integrated. Again the honey is clear but also some exotic fruits.
Finish: Quite short and sweet.
Summary: This is a generous wine, but when compared with the Fevre it lacks complexity. The nose promises more than the wine can deliver.

92p/100

2010  William Fevre “Les Clos”

Didier Séguier is in control of the wine making since 1998 when the champagne house Joseph Henriot bought the estate from William Fevre. Didier was very successful with Bouchard in Beaune before arriving to this estate and is obviously a perfectionist with an extreme focus on preserving terroir and quality in terms of purity, freshness and elegance. Three of Fevre’s four parcels are in the highest parts of the vineyard whereas one is further down, so this way they can make their final blend by vinifying the parcels separately. Fevre works ecologically and vines are 28-60+ years old here of which 50% are planted in the 1940s. During harvest grapes are handpicked and yields are kept as low as 29 hl/ha and a second selection/sorting is done when arriving at the winery. A very gentle and careful pressing of grape bunches (no de-stemming) is done by pneumatic pressure and the grape juice is not pumped around in the process, but force of gravity is used to affect the grape juice as little as possible. After pressing, the grape juice is resting for a day in stainless steel vats. The wine is clarified only by letting the sediments and lees fall to the bottom in stainless steel. After some rest, about 70% of the grapes are fermented in six years old barriques with natural yeast and on its lees, no new oak is used and no batonage is carried out, until about 6-8 months it is blended with the rest on steel tanks. Matures another six months, or until it is ready, in steel to retain its flavors and to stabilise before bottling. This vintage was harvested early before the rain on the 25th of September. Costs €71. Open now or even better in 2016-2025+.

Sir Galahad:

Colour is transparent, clear light yellow.
After almost two hours of air in a decanter, the wine is slowly waking up and emerges with a scent of incredibly fresh and complex floral fragrances, imposingly pure citrus fruits and extremely fine tuned burned, vibrating lime minerals. An impressive delicate and complex nose indeed!
The mid palate offers extremely pure aromas of lime, impressive deep layers of fresh citrus fruits, passion fruit, apricot, dried honey, roasted almond, shale stone, fresh balsamic notes and elegant fine tuned burned minerals. A very fresh and crispy acidity is building the structure to the intense, extraordinary long lingering finish. The wine literally takes a hold of you with a firm grip and lead you into a wonderful dance to beautiful music. It is surprisingly powerful for a Chablis in a very good way and it is with less weight and more energy it is build. And above all this its balance is sensational.

Wow, I am in love with this wine! 🙂 This is the kind of wine that makes you fumble after expressive words, but I was blown away by its purity, freshness, complexity and balance. The wine is simply so enchanting that you just want to spend hours with it without worrying about time or anything else less important as it continues to firing off long, pure, super-fresh, rich, elusive, but lovely, flavours and all this at a sensational balance. And it is just a baby! A truly complete wine and monumental achievement of Didier and his crew! I definitely need to buy more bottles before they run out, especially from this vintage. Make sure to serve it at correct temperature i.e. about 11-12 °C! After decanting it for at least two hours, put it back into the wine cooler or refrigerator for a while, but in the latter case don’t forget to cover it from everything else in there.

97p/100

Andreas:

Nose: Pineapple, minerals, some citrus, floral and after a few hours peaches enters the palate.
Taste: Minerals, some soft honey taste in the background, very crisp acidity but still surprisingly full bodied.
Finish: A very nice finish driven by the acidity.
Summary: This is a complex wine which needs several years to develop before the full potential is reached. You want to spend several hours exploring this fantastic wine.

95-97p/100

Summary

The Fevre wins by first round knockout and totally outclasses the Moreau in the Les Clos.