Distinctive note in 2020 Chablis

I have probably only tasted a dozen or so 2020 Chablis wines thus far, but in all of them I pick up a cut hay/straw note that is quite distinctive. What is it?

A straw note is a descriptor attributed to acetaldehyde by several wine writers. But that seems like an unlikely cause across that many wines, unless, perhaps, they came from the same cellar.

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Across 7-8 different producers.


A couple of possibilities
Slightly herbaceous, slightly under ripe notes

secondary aroma associated with yeast influences from wines rested sur lie, ‘on the lees’, or those that have undergone bâtonnage, ‘lees-stirring’.

The first seems possible. Reminds me of a similar vintage: 2011, warm, early harvest. Though 2011 harvest started early because of rains, and the vintage reports I read suggest 2021 was just early because of ripeness. But if picking started early to avoid overripeness, that would be similar.

I saw much more of a gin botanical note in 2011 Chablis.

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They’ve been Hermitaged?

I see a gin botanical note most nights at 5!!!


When you say hay or straw, I equate that with a certain pungent heaviness and dullness in the nose, but not what I would call herbaceousness that can be fresh. Is that what you intended? I have described Chardonnays with this heavy hay character over the years, and it’s a big warning sign for me if it doesn’t go away with air.


In my January report, I reported on more than 10% of wines with pyrazines. I’ve now done 80 domaines’ 2020s (about 700 wines.) I’ve never seen that in Chablis before but only started tasting the vintage in Chablis from the 2012s - I suspect I would have seen a lot with the 2011s but missed them, perhaps luckily!

From the wines I bought - it seems more prevalent than that - once the temperature rises in the glass. I worry that it will go the way of 2011 and that these wines (and others I found ‘clean’) will develop asparagus notes that I don’t want in my glass - it’s not gin for me…

A lot of other Auxerois wines are problematic too - including the reds…


This is interesting given the typical hype machine about the (2020) current releases. Mine field in the making?

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Hi Jayson,

it is a cooler character to me and not heavy at all. Quite pleasant but distinctive. Perhaps it is pyrazine but nothing like 2011 (gin botanicals) or 2004 (nettles and celery salt).


Just opened a 2020 Domaine William Fevre Chablis AC. Quite a distinctive honey note, it’s quite ripe and viscous. There’s a hint of fennel and more typical Chablis character in the background, but my suspicion is some botrytis in this particular wine.

Very unlikely in 2020. Much more likely to be some passerillage! Didier commented on loosing fruit to sunburn in 2020.


Just had the 2020 Laurent Tribut Chablis and a green streak was definitely present on the palate, as was a vegetal note on the nose. Nothing ripe or viscous about this wine!

Makes sense. Elevated ripeness in some grapes. Less ripeness in others. Hence the two speed nature of the wine.
And another word to add to my wine vocabulary……thanks!


Recently tasted through a number of 2020 Fevre wines. Liked them quite a lot, though it does seem like the range of quality is compressed from top to bottom, and there is more similarity among the wines than differences, as has been the case in earlier years.


We had '20 L Michel Forêts, with some wonderfully briny local oysters yesterday.
I didn’t get any off-puttig notes; it was just young Forêts.
And, as usual, perfect with the oysters.