TN’s: Chablis village 06/07 comparison with Dauvissat, Fèvre, Tribut and more

This is the first in a series of educational tastings to be hosted by my bud Wouter. In this case everything was popped and poured, but the Dauvissats were double-decanted after the initial tasting.

Chablis 2006 – Domaine Christophe
Medium straw at the core, with a watery rim. The medium intense nose shows fairly typical notes of minerally infused clay and grapefruit, but also an odd Sauvignon Blanc-like buxus top note and something of vaguely animal origin.
This Chablis is medium-bodied, and all seems in order initially with refreshing medium-plus acidity and medium intense yellow grapefruit mid-palate flavours. After about ten minutes however, the bitter grapefruit edge becomes more pronounced and on the 12-15 second finish, it turns decidedly phenolic to resemble apple peel. 81 points and drink up yesterday.

Chablis 2006 – Domaine du Pattes Loup (Pico)
Similarly coloured, this wine is but medium-minus intense on the nose and rather volatile. Hints of riper fruit shine through the gluey notes and some spices reveal themselves with more oxygen.
Also medium-bodied, the acidity comes in at medium tops after which medium-minus intense flavours turn out to be decidedly estery. The impression that this wine should have been drunk some time ago, is reinforced by somewhat muddled flavours of citrus and mealy clay-like minerals. The finish can’t seem to extend itself beyond the ten-second mark either.
Concluding, this bottle is hovering on the brink of what’s palatable to my standards. I’ve not encountered anything like this in some time and will give 70 points for the effort. Despite considerable hype spun over this relatively new domaine, I’ve yet to come across a truly convincing bottle of their produce.

Chablis 2006 – Domaine William Fèvre
Medium intense lemon-green core with a clearing rim. The nose is medium intense and curiously enough, this wine too displays a not quite clean animal note reminiscent of the earlier Christophe. Some spice is also present, but overal the nose mostly reminds me of overripe Camembert. As there is no improvement with oxygen, I doubt that there is reduction at play here.
Again medium-bodied, the acidity is almost medium-plus which keeps this wine sufficiently fresh. An again clay-like mineral infusion lends lift and balance to the otherwise medium-plus intense mid-palate, which offers reasonably precise flavours of citrus and cool fennel bulb. The latter comes more to the fore on the 15 second finish, which is reasonably satisfying. 85 points are in order here and this wine is as good as it’s ever going to get.

Chablis 2006 – Domaine Vincent Dauvissat
Once more the core is medium intense straw coloured with a clearing rim. This is no more than medium-minus intense initially, but a clear step up in precision and poise with its mentholated fennel and oyster-shell nose. After absorbing air for 30 minutes, a lemon sherbet note is added.

Medium-bodied like its vintage-siblings, this village is however much more extracted; indeed to the point where the medium (double-)plus acidity is largely buffered. It then pulls the curious trick of being both medium-plus intense ánd closed, which leaves one with a mouth full of… what exactly? In any case this village is quite pleasantly textured and when the medium-plus intense flavours of lemon sherbet, honey and saline minerals are finally revealed, nobody present wishes to discuss its top place in the night’s hierarchy.
I’ll give 87 points for this showing and when it improves its precision over the next 2-5 years, it will be nearer 90.

As I have run out of time, I will post the notes for the 2007s (Tribut, Fèvre, Dauvissat) and my observations/conclusions tomorrow.

Mike, I know you’re a Dauvissat fan, so…

But, I recently became aware that getting a bottle of Dauvissat villages Chablis from them is as difficult as getting a Preuses. I assume it is one of the top examples? But, I don’t really know.

Stuart,

It is indeed hard to come by, albeit not quite as hard as the Preuses. To me, it is the best non-site specific village on the market. Only the Billaud-Simon “Tète d’Or” comes close, but that hails from north of the Serein and is made from vines in a specific plot adjacent to Montée de Tonnerre proper.

The rest of the notes:

Chablis 2007 – Domaine Tribut
The difference in colour intensity is obvious: very light straw at the core with a watery rim. The barely medium-minus intense nose offers up typical impressions of lime, oyster shell and fennel bulb.
This too is medium bodied and despite pronounced acidity and being somewhat closed otherwise this village is still far from unpleasant, as medium intense flavours of lime and a high-toned cretaceous mineral expression make for a nervously styled and elegant drink. When the finish maintains its balance for 20-25 seconds, I can’t award anything less than 86 points for this solid village. This will continue to develop for at least half a decade and I would be very surprised if it didn’t pick up a minimum of two points along the way.
Chablis 2007 – Domaine William Fèvre
Virtually identical in colour as the Tribut, this wine is medium intense on the nose yet quite distinct and precise. Faint citrus is complemented by smoky, indeed almost toasty notes and a cheesy edge not unlike the previously tasted 2006.
Medium bodied like virtually all wines tasted this evening, its medium-plus acidity is much more mellow than common for the vintage. Medium intense citrus flavours are accompanied on the mid-palate by good clay-like mineral expression and while reasonably nervous, some dilution is definitely present. The finish still manages to hold on for 15-20 seconds and while nothing special, it still is a pleasant quaffer. I’ll award 85 points and just maybe, one extra might arrive from somewhere over the next 2 years.

Chablis 2007 – Domaine Vincent Dauvissat
Visually this is somewhat more intensely coloured; about medium straw with a greenish tinge. The medium-minus intense nose is somewhat diffuse at present and paradoxically both reticent and deep, while fading in and out with about a half minute amplitude. Extended exposure to oxygen brings out hints of candied lemon rind, grapefruit and cretaceous geological matter, while an almond paste note hints at hidden riches.
Again impressively extracted and therefore a little more than medium-bodied, its pronounced acidity is very well buffered by mouth-coating medium-plus intense flavours of ripe citrus fruits, cooling fennel seed and saline minerals. Despite being a “vin droit”, its smooth texture improves overall drinkability but there can be no doubt about this wine being an utter chrysalis, which will need half a decade to turn into something way above its village classification.
Since the finish loses its balance after 15-20 seconds, I will give 87 points for this showing but this will certainly broach the 90-point barrier; just not any time soon. I’ll dig one up on of my own by 2016 or thereabouts.

As I’ve ran out of time yet again, I will post final thoughts tomorrow on the train to Barry 8!

Despite the admittedly small sample, several interesting things caught my attention. Firstly; despite the fact that I would be hard pressed to come up with a succession of two more different vintages, house style seems to trump vintage typicity chez Fèvre. In the case of the 2006, that can be considered a good thing, but for 2007 not so much IMO.
These differences are much more marked for the Dauvissat wines, which still had some kinship in the buffering of their typical structure by massive concentration. I never realized just how extracted the Dauvissat village is until this tasting.