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