Telltale Characteristics of Top Vineyards in Chablis

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Matthew King
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Telltale Characteristics of Top Vineyards in Chablis

#1 Post by Matthew King » July 24th, 2020, 2:34 pm

I’m crowdsourcing collective wisdom here on what differentiates various 1er and GC plots in Chablis.

I can usually tell you a wine is from Chablis and if it’s from a lean or more solar year. But i’m humble enough to admit my palate isn’t calibrated highly enough to pick out, say, a Vaillons vs. a Montmains blind.

Which vineyards tend to be austere and chalkier? Which are more rich and fruit forward? Which require more age?

What adjective would you use to describe some of the top 10 sites?
What are their identifying “birthmarks”?

That type of thing. TIA.
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Re: Telltale Characteristics of Top Vineyards in Chablis

#2 Post by William Kelley » July 24th, 2020, 2:40 pm

I'd say the differences are pretty much as you'd expect. Riper, warmer sites make more open, expressive wines: e.g. most of Vaillons. Sites with cooler situations and lots of active limestone such as Les Lys make more tensile, incisive wines. Sites with lots of clay, such as Butteaux, make blockier, chunkier wines. If you look at a map and think about exposition, air drainages, and altitude you will be able to figure quite a lot out from first principles.
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Re: Telltale Characteristics of Top Vineyards in Chablis

#3 Post by Matthew King » July 24th, 2020, 5:06 pm

Hmmmm ... the map never lies, does it? [cheers.gif]

Your take is spot-on as usual, William.

Let me ask you this then: What makes Clos the undisputed heavyweight champ of Chablis?
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Re: Telltale Characteristics of Top Vineyards in Chablis

#4 Post by William Kelley » July 25th, 2020, 1:38 pm

Matthew King wrote:
July 24th, 2020, 5:06 pm
Hmmmm ... the map never lies, does it? [cheers.gif]

Your take is spot-on as usual, William.

Let me ask you this then: What makes Clos the undisputed heavyweight champ of Chablis?
The maps are certainly a good start, for sure.

Les Clos has a pretty uniform south-easterly exposition, so the biggest variation is in altitude from top to bottom (almost 100m). This map of the vineyard ownership is quite interesting: https://fernandobeteta.com/blog/2017/3/ ... all-owners It's the most homogeneous climat in the grand cru slope in that respect. It makes quite ripe, muscular, multidimensional wines, as I'm sure you've experienced. They are arguably not the most Chablisienne-styled wines in the region (more power, less "oyster shell"), and it's one of the sites that one could confuse with Côte de Beaune under the right circumstances. I certainly admire Les Clos (I have mags of Raveneau's 2017 for my daughter's birth year!) but I don't know if Chablis lovers would necessarily anoint it the "undisputed heavyweight champ" (except in the sense that it's often the most powerful wine). Personally, chez Raveneau I often prefer the steelier, more introverted profile of Valmur; and chez Dauvissat, I tend to gravitate towards the floral-mineral amalgam of Les Preuses (higher altitude, stonier soil, and longer sunlight hours than Les Clos). It is, however, the most prestigious site and is often the wine producers serve last in a tasting.
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Re: Telltale Characteristics of Top Vineyards in Chablis

#5 Post by Jayson Cohen » July 25th, 2020, 7:30 pm

William Kelley wrote:
July 25th, 2020, 1:38 pm
Matthew King wrote:
July 24th, 2020, 5:06 pm
Hmmmm ... the map never lies, does it? [cheers.gif]

Your take is spot-on as usual, William.

Let me ask you this then: What makes Clos the undisputed heavyweight champ of Chablis?
The maps are certainly a good start, for sure.

Les Clos has a pretty uniform south-easterly exposition, so the biggest variation is in altitude from top to bottom (almost 100m). This map of the vineyard ownership is quite interesting: https://fernandobeteta.com/blog/2017/3/ ... all-owners It's the most homogeneous climat in the grand cru slope in that respect. It makes quite ripe, muscular, multidimensional wines, as I'm sure you've experienced. They are arguably not the most Chablisienne-styled wines in the region (more power, less "oyster shell"), and it's one of the sites that one could confuse with Côte de Beaune under the right circumstances. I certainly admire Les Clos (I have mags of Raveneau's 2017 for my daughter's birth year!) but I don't know if Chablis lovers would necessarily anoint it the "undisputed heavyweight champ" (except in the sense that it's often the most powerful wine). Personally, chez Raveneau I often prefer the steelier, more introverted profile of Valmur; and chez Dauvissat, I tend to gravitate towards the floral-mineral amalgam of Les Preuses (higher altitude, stonier soil, and longer sunlight hours than Les Clos). It is, however, the most prestigious site and is often the wine producers serve last in a tasting.
This jives with my tastes too. When it’s on, Dauvissat’s Preuses is the most beautiful wine in Chablis to my taste. I would only add that Fevre’s Cote Bouguerots can also be profound: the complete package of precision, complexity, and concentration. To me it’s at the top of pyramid as well.

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Re: Telltale Characteristics of Top Vineyards in Chablis

#6 Post by alan weinberg » July 25th, 2020, 7:40 pm

Raveneau Valmur is my favorite at that address, much more than Clos. And I agree re Dauvissat Preuses.

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Re: Telltale Characteristics of Top Vineyards in Chablis

#7 Post by RyanC » July 25th, 2020, 9:22 pm

alan weinberg wrote:
July 25th, 2020, 7:40 pm
Raveneau Valmur is my favorite at that address, much more than Clos. And I agree re Dauvissat Preuses.
I agree too and have always had the feeling that Clos may be ever-so-slightly overrated. While I've had a fair bit of very good Chablis 'Clos', I too often prefer Raveneau's Valmur and Dauvissat's Preuses, and I generally prefer Fevre's Bougros 'Cote de Bouguerots' and maybe the Preuses as well.
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Re: Telltale Characteristics of Top Vineyards in Chablis

#8 Post by Fred C » July 26th, 2020, 3:53 am

RyanC wrote:
July 25th, 2020, 9:22 pm
alan weinberg wrote:
July 25th, 2020, 7:40 pm
Raveneau Valmur is my favorite at that address, much more than Clos. And I agree re Dauvissat Preuses.
I agree too and have always had the feeling that Clos may be ever-so-slightly overrated. While I've had a fair bit of very good Chablis 'Clos', I too often prefer Raveneau's Valmur and Dauvissat's Preuses, and I generally prefer Fevre's Bougros 'Cote de Bouguerots' and maybe the Preuses as well.
I am also of the Raveneau Valmur and Dauvissat Preuses mindset especially when considering the price vs Clos.

However that 04 Raveneau Clos that Alan shared was ethereal even in the context of the outstanding Valmur and excellent Blanchot from the same year.

Unfortunately, it had the untoward effect of me buying the Clos in 17.
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Re: Telltale Characteristics of Top Vineyards in Chablis

#9 Post by alan weinberg » July 26th, 2020, 6:57 am

Fred C wrote:
July 26th, 2020, 3:53 am
RyanC wrote:
July 25th, 2020, 9:22 pm
alan weinberg wrote:
July 25th, 2020, 7:40 pm
Raveneau Valmur is my favorite at that address, much more than Clos. And I agree re Dauvissat Preuses.
I agree too and have always had the feeling that Clos may be ever-so-slightly overrated. While I've had a fair bit of very good Chablis 'Clos', I too often prefer Raveneau's Valmur and Dauvissat's Preuses, and I generally prefer Fevre's Bougros 'Cote de Bouguerots' and maybe the Preuses as well.
I am also of the Raveneau Valmur and Dauvissat Preuses mindset especially when considering the price vs Clos.

However that 04 Raveneau Clos that Alan shared was ethereal even in the context of the outstanding Valmur and excellent Blanchot from the same year.

Unfortunately, it had the untoward effect of me buying the Clos in 17.
will save another bottle for you, Fred.

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Re: Telltale Characteristics of Top Vineyards in Chablis

#10 Post by Fred C » July 26th, 2020, 9:19 am

alan weinberg wrote:
July 26th, 2020, 6:57 am
Fred C wrote:
July 26th, 2020, 3:53 am
RyanC wrote:
July 25th, 2020, 9:22 pm


I agree too and have always had the feeling that Clos may be ever-so-slightly overrated. While I've had a fair bit of very good Chablis 'Clos', I too often prefer Raveneau's Valmur and Dauvissat's Preuses, and I generally prefer Fevre's Bougros 'Cote de Bouguerots' and maybe the Preuses as well.
I am also of the Raveneau Valmur and Dauvissat Preuses mindset especially when considering the price vs Clos.

However that 04 Raveneau Clos that Alan shared was ethereal even in the context of the outstanding Valmur and excellent Blanchot from the same year.

Unfortunately, it had the untoward effect of me buying the Clos in 17.
will save another bottle for you, Fred.
We’ll have to do another Hayato night with Matt when this thing is all over.
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Re: Telltale Characteristics of Top Vineyards in Chablis

#11 Post by john stimson » July 27th, 2020, 3:51 pm

I agree with most of what's been said above. the one thing I would say about Les Clos, at least from the top producers, is that it can take quite a while to hit it's stride. Many times folks will try it at 6-10 years, and be underwhelmed, yet if you give it longer it can blossom. For me it is a later bloomer than most any of the other wines.

The other thing is for me in many years now the grand crus' exposition is just too good, and the wines get heavy and lose definition. Often I get more Chablisness from MdT, Secher, even les Lys.

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Re: Telltale Characteristics of Top Vineyards in Chablis

#12 Post by john stimson » July 30th, 2020, 9:26 pm

A little surprised this hasn't gone any further. One of the key determinants whether a site has typicity is included in a picture of the "soil" in les Clos.
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Re: Telltale Characteristics of Top Vineyards in Chablis

#13 Post by emile bond » July 31st, 2020, 8:56 am

William Kelley wrote:
July 25th, 2020, 1:38 pm
Matthew King wrote:
July 24th, 2020, 5:06 pm
Hmmmm ... the map never lies, does it? [cheers.gif]

Your take is spot-on as usual, William.

Let me ask you this then: What makes Clos the undisputed heavyweight champ of Chablis?
The maps are certainly a good start, for sure.

Les Clos has a pretty uniform south-easterly exposition, so the biggest variation is in altitude from top to bottom (almost 100m). This map of the vineyard ownership is quite interesting: https://fernandobeteta.com/blog/2017/3/ ... all-owners It's the most homogeneous climat in the grand cru slope in that respect. It makes quite ripe, muscular, multidimensional wines, as I'm sure you've experienced. They are arguably not the most Chablisienne-styled wines in the region (more power, less "oyster shell"), and it's one of the sites that one could confuse with Côte de Beaune under the right circumstances. I certainly admire Les Clos (I have mags of Raveneau's 2017 for my daughter's birth year!) but I don't know if Chablis lovers would necessarily anoint it the "undisputed heavyweight champ" (except in the sense that it's often the most powerful wine). Personally, chez Raveneau I often prefer the steelier, more introverted profile of Valmur; and chez Dauvissat, I tend to gravitate towards the floral-mineral amalgam of Les Preuses (higher altitude, stonier soil, and longer sunlight hours than Les Clos). It is, however, the most prestigious site and is often the wine producers serve last in a tasting.
The aspect of Les Clos may be the most homogenous, but is the soil from top to bottom of slope equally homogenous? William Fevre and Christian Moreau are most likely the only 2 Producers who own from top to bottom of the slope based on size of ownership. I can only confirm Moreau and merely guessing regarding William Fevre. Tasting Christian Moreau’s Les Clos, which is composed of the entire aspect of the slope from top to bottom, next to Moreau’s family monopole, Les Clos “Clos des Hospices”, i.e. Clos des Hospices is located at the foot of Les Clos, conveys how different a singular area of slope tastes compared to the entire aspect of the slope. Many tasters may not identify both wines as Les Clos if tasted side by side even though barring small differences in percentages of elevage technique the vines and resulting wines are raised generally the same way.

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Re: Telltale Characteristics of Top Vineyards in Chablis

#14 Post by William Kelley » July 31st, 2020, 10:41 am

emile bond wrote:
July 31st, 2020, 8:56 am
William Kelley wrote:
July 25th, 2020, 1:38 pm
Matthew King wrote:
July 24th, 2020, 5:06 pm
Hmmmm ... the map never lies, does it? [cheers.gif]

Your take is spot-on as usual, William.

Let me ask you this then: What makes Clos the undisputed heavyweight champ of Chablis?
The maps are certainly a good start, for sure.

Les Clos has a pretty uniform south-easterly exposition, so the biggest variation is in altitude from top to bottom (almost 100m). This map of the vineyard ownership is quite interesting: https://fernandobeteta.com/blog/2017/3/ ... all-owners It's the most homogeneous climat in the grand cru slope in that respect. It makes quite ripe, muscular, multidimensional wines, as I'm sure you've experienced. They are arguably not the most Chablisienne-styled wines in the region (more power, less "oyster shell"), and it's one of the sites that one could confuse with Côte de Beaune under the right circumstances. I certainly admire Les Clos (I have mags of Raveneau's 2017 for my daughter's birth year!) but I don't know if Chablis lovers would necessarily anoint it the "undisputed heavyweight champ" (except in the sense that it's often the most powerful wine). Personally, chez Raveneau I often prefer the steelier, more introverted profile of Valmur; and chez Dauvissat, I tend to gravitate towards the floral-mineral amalgam of Les Preuses (higher altitude, stonier soil, and longer sunlight hours than Les Clos). It is, however, the most prestigious site and is often the wine producers serve last in a tasting.
The aspect of Les Clos may be the most homogenous, but is the soil from top to bottom of slope equally homogenous? William Fevre and Christian Moreau are most likely the only 2 Producers who own from top to bottom of the slope based on size of ownership. I can only confirm Moreau and merely guessing regarding William Fevre. Tasting Christian Moreau’s Les Clos, which is composed of the entire aspect of the slope from top to bottom, next to Moreau’s family monopole, Les Clos “Clos des Hospices”, i.e. Clos des Hospices is located at the foot of Les Clos, conveys how different a singular area of slope tastes compared to the entire aspect of the slope. Many tasters may not identify both wines as Les Clos if tasted side by side even though barring small differences in percentages of elevage technique the vines and resulting wines are raised generally the same way.
Sure, the soils are deeper at the bottom so the wines are fatter; but that is true of most hillside vineyards that range in altitude by +-90 meters, and true (in some instances, a fortiori) of the other grand cru climats, too. (You can find a map of who owns what, where, in Les Clos in the link I posted above, so no need to speculate - in fact, quite a few producers own plots at the top and the bottom). The point I made was that the climat is the most homogenous of the grand cru climats, not that it's entirely homogenous - of course, it isn't.
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Re: Telltale Characteristics of Top Vineyards in Chablis

#15 Post by Hank Victor » July 31st, 2020, 10:46 am

Check out Rosemary George’s Chablis book. Most recent edition was released last October.
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Re: Telltale Characteristics of Top Vineyards in Chablis

#16 Post by john stimson » July 31st, 2020, 10:50 am

emile bond wrote:
July 31st, 2020, 8:56 am
William Kelley wrote:
July 25th, 2020, 1:38 pm
Matthew King wrote:
July 24th, 2020, 5:06 pm
Hmmmm ... the map never lies, does it? [cheers.gif]

Your take is spot-on as usual, William.

Let me ask you this then: What makes Clos the undisputed heavyweight champ of Chablis?
The maps are certainly a good start, for sure.

Les Clos has a pretty uniform south-easterly exposition, so the biggest variation is in altitude from top to bottom (almost 100m). This map of the vineyard ownership is quite interesting: https://fernandobeteta.com/blog/2017/3/ ... all-owners It's the most homogeneous climat in the grand cru slope in that respect. It makes quite ripe, muscular, multidimensional wines, as I'm sure you've experienced. They are arguably not the most Chablisienne-styled wines in the region (more power, less "oyster shell"), and it's one of the sites that one could confuse with Côte de Beaune under the right circumstances. I certainly admire Les Clos (I have mags of Raveneau's 2017 for my daughter's birth year!) but I don't know if Chablis lovers would necessarily anoint it the "undisputed heavyweight champ" (except in the sense that it's often the most powerful wine). Personally, chez Raveneau I often prefer the steelier, more introverted profile of Valmur; and chez Dauvissat, I tend to gravitate towards the floral-mineral amalgam of Les Preuses (higher altitude, stonier soil, and longer sunlight hours than Les Clos). It is, however, the most prestigious site and is often the wine producers serve last in a tasting.
The aspect of Les Clos may be the most homogenous, but is the soil from top to bottom of slope equally homogenous? William Fevre and Christian Moreau are most likely the only 2 Producers who own from top to bottom of the slope based on size of ownership. I can only confirm Moreau and merely guessing regarding William Fevre. Tasting Christian Moreau’s Les Clos, which is composed of the entire aspect of the slope from top to bottom, next to Moreau’s family monopole, Les Clos “Clos des Hospices”, i.e. Clos des Hospices is located at the foot of Les Clos, conveys how different a singular area of slope tastes compared to the entire aspect of the slope. Many tasters may not identify both wines as Les Clos if tasted side by side even though barring small differences in percentages of elevage technique the vines and resulting wines are raised generally the same way.
Emile, I think the majority of the difference between the Moreau Clos and their Clos des Hospices is the winemaking. there's a fair amount of oak in the Hospice which isn't in the regular clos.

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Re: Telltale Characteristics of Top Vineyards in Chablis

#17 Post by William Kelley » July 31st, 2020, 11:32 am

Hank Victor wrote:
July 31st, 2020, 10:46 am
Check out Rosemary George’s Chablis book. Most recent edition was released last October.
Have been thinking of getting this - how much new material is there compared to the old one?
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Re: Telltale Characteristics of Top Vineyards in Chablis

#18 Post by emile bond » July 31st, 2020, 12:03 pm

William Kelley wrote:
July 31st, 2020, 10:41 am
emile bond wrote:
July 31st, 2020, 8:56 am
William Kelley wrote:
July 25th, 2020, 1:38 pm


The maps are certainly a good start, for sure.

Les Clos has a pretty uniform south-easterly exposition, so the biggest variation is in altitude from top to bottom (almost 100m). This map of the vineyard ownership is quite interesting: https://fernandobeteta.com/blog/2017/3/ ... all-owners It's the most homogeneous climat in the grand cru slope in that respect. It makes quite ripe, muscular, multidimensional wines, as I'm sure you've experienced. They are arguably not the most Chablisienne-styled wines in the region (more power, less "oyster shell"), and it's one of the sites that one could confuse with Côte de Beaune under the right circumstances. I certainly admire Les Clos (I have mags of Raveneau's 2017 for my daughter's birth year!) but I don't know if Chablis lovers would necessarily anoint it the "undisputed heavyweight champ" (except in the sense that it's often the most powerful wine). Personally, chez Raveneau I often prefer the steelier, more introverted profile of Valmur; and chez Dauvissat, I tend to gravitate towards the floral-mineral amalgam of Les Preuses (higher altitude, stonier soil, and longer sunlight hours than Les Clos). It is, however, the most prestigious site and is often the wine producers serve last in a tasting.
The aspect of Les Clos may be the most homogenous, but is the soil from top to bottom of slope equally homogenous? William Fevre and Christian Moreau are most likely the only 2 Producers who own from top to bottom of the slope based on size of ownership. I can only confirm Moreau and merely guessing regarding William Fevre. Tasting Christian Moreau’s Les Clos, which is composed of the entire aspect of the slope from top to bottom, next to Moreau’s family monopole, Les Clos “Clos des Hospices”, i.e. Clos des Hospices is located at the foot of Les Clos, conveys how different a singular area of slope tastes compared to the entire aspect of the slope. Many tasters may not identify both wines as Les Clos if tasted side by side even though barring small differences in percentages of elevage technique the vines and resulting wines are raised generally the same way.
Sure, the soils are deeper at the bottom so the wines are fatter; but that is true of most hillside vineyards that range in altitude by +-90 meters, and true (in some instances, a fortiori) of the other grand cru climats, too. (You can find a map of who owns what, where, in Les Clos in the link I posted above, so no need to speculate - in fact, quite a few producers own plots at the top and the bottom). The point I made was that the climat is the most homogenous of the grand cru climats, not that it's entirely homogenous - of course, it isn't.

Understood, and you are describing the point I was attempting to make. The Clos des Hospices plot is more singular soil, at least in regards to soil depth as you confirm, and a more singular aspect, only the foot of the vineyard, than a wine like Moreau’s regular Les Clos, which is composed of the entire aspect of Les Clos, from top to bottom, with soils of varying depths and certainly shallowest towards the top.

Mr. Stimson, the elevage does differ to an extent; typically 100% of Clos des Hospices is raised in barrel as opposed to 50% for the regular Les Clos. Additionally, the age of the vines in Clos des Hospices are younger than the average age of vines in the the rest of Moreau’s Les Clos holding. Vine age certainly influences each wine. Moreau’s regular wine may even be considered a more complete wine since it includes virtually all aspects, microclimates, and soil types in Les Clos whereas Clos des Hospices is less that a hectare(and Moreau’s holding is only 50% of less than a hectare) of Les Clos, which is almost 27 hectare in size. With Moreau it is a unique opportunity to taste a broader assemblage and a specific plot in bottle, which is generally only an opportunity available in a cellar.

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Re: Telltale Characteristics of Top Vineyards in Chablis

#19 Post by emile bond » July 31st, 2020, 2:23 pm

Moreau’s Petit Chablis, which is primarily exported to Australia, originates from the North facing side of Les Clos. I believe Raveneau’s Petit Chablis is from same slope.

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Re: Telltale Characteristics of Top Vineyards in Chablis

#20 Post by William Kelley » July 31st, 2020, 2:37 pm

emile bond wrote:
July 31st, 2020, 2:23 pm
Moreau’s Petit Chablis, which is primarily exported to Australia, originates from the North facing side of Les Clos. I believe Raveneau’s Petit Chablis is from same slope.
There isn't a north facing side of Les Clos! Where both these wines come from is the big plateau above the grand cru hill. The closest you can get on google street view is this spot, on the other end of the plateau: https://www.google.fr/maps/@47.8315819, ... 312!8i6656
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Re: Telltale Characteristics of Top Vineyards in Chablis

#21 Post by emile bond » July 31st, 2020, 2:53 pm

William Kelley wrote:
July 31st, 2020, 2:37 pm
emile bond wrote:
July 31st, 2020, 2:23 pm
Moreau’s Petit Chablis, which is primarily exported to Australia, originates from the North facing side of Les Clos. I believe Raveneau’s Petit Chablis is from same slope.
There isn't a north facing side of Les Clos! Where both these wines come from is the big plateau above the grand cru hill. The closest you can get on google street view is this spot, on the other end of the plateau: https://www.google.fr/maps/@47.8315819, ... 312!8i6656
Thank you for your sense of direction! I did not mean to imply there was a North facing aspect of Les Clos. Christian and Fabien once pointed to what I thought was the back side of Les Clos, behind Les Clos, when standing at top of Les Clos. I must have misunderstood, but it seemed as if they saying the vines were on the opposite side(back side-behind) of Les Clos, which I assumed was facing North.

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Re: Telltale Characteristics of Top Vineyards in Chablis

#22 Post by john stimson » July 31st, 2020, 4:22 pm

Emile--I guess I don't need to presume to teach you about Chablis! Although I do know my north from my south. Actually, I've heard those petit chablis vineyards as being referred to being on the plateau to the north of the grand crus, which is basically true.

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Re: Telltale Characteristics of Top Vineyards in Chablis

#23 Post by emile bond » July 31st, 2020, 4:38 pm

john stimson wrote:
July 31st, 2020, 4:22 pm
Emile--I guess I don't need to presume to teach you about Chablis! Although I do know my north from my south. Actually, I've heard those petit chablis vineyards as being referred to being on the plateau to the north of the grand crus, which is basically true.
Mr. Stimson, please teach as often as possible. I love to learn especially regarding Chablis! Thank you. I did a poor job articulating what I meant. Thank you for confirmation that the plateau is generally to the North, or what I described as the back side, or behind, and which William described as above, Les Clos.

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Re: Telltale Characteristics of Top Vineyards in Chablis

#24 Post by Hank Victor » August 1st, 2020, 8:04 am

William Kelley wrote:
July 31st, 2020, 11:32 am
Hank Victor wrote:
July 31st, 2020, 10:46 am
Check out Rosemary George’s Chablis book. Most recent edition was released last October.
Have been thinking of getting this - how much new material is there compared to the old one?
Not sure William, this was my first edition.
- ITB
Take a chance, Columbus did..

H V br1M@

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