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Vintages: Chablis

Chablis: Rêve de Bakara, Chablis Vaudecorce, Appellation Chablis Contrôlée

Part fermented in oak, part in steel, the Chardonnay grape in Chablis produces a flinty, sharp tang with good underlying citrus fruits. 

The grape in this northern part of Burgundy behaves differently from the rest of the region due to the underlying Kimmeridgian marl which nourishes and maintains the vines. 

Perfect as an aperitif or with fish, chicken, shellfish (oysters in particular), Chablis has been a staple of the best tables around the world. 

Recent Vintages: 

2018 Highly recommended. Sighs of relief all round in Chablis. Few challenges early in the year followed by a hot and pest free summer produced a generous vintage that was picked early. The product is classic Chablis – a crisp and clean wine with a good combination of acidity and fruit. A classic of its type. Well-structured and evenly balanced, this is a memorable wine that is beautiful to drink now but will keep well.  

2017 Probably the best since 2014. A long cold snap in late April (-6°C for 3 consecutive nights) delayed bud burst and the time of flowering which reduced the overall harvest. Fortunately the rest of the growing season was perfect. The sun shone and rain fell when needed. The grapes had a good level of ripeness and produced rounded wines without losing freshness or minerality. Acidity levels are good and the wine is harmonious and well balanced. A serious Chablis with a sturdy backbone of acidity, concentration, weight and ripeness. 

2016 A challenging year. Warm weather in January and February encouraged the growing season to start early but March saw temperatures 30% below average. Acute frost struck in late April combined with glacial winds, and heavy hail in mid and late May added to the carnage. Some vineyards looked like winter after pruning. High temperatures in August grilled grapes on the vines and picking was delayed till late September to allow the grapes to fully ripen. For many, the worst year since the 1950s and has resulted in limited stock from this year. Despite the challenges the wine  is softer than in recent years with a hidden minerality that has come through well in the bottle. 

2015 An early vintage. A good start to the year without springtime frosts followed by a sun-drenched summer filled the grapes with sugar but left low levels of malic acidity. Torrential hail in early September fortunately spared the Vaudecorce valley and the resulting wine is  more rounded and less chiselled than 2014. Pristine and mouth filling. This blend was selected at a blind tasting by the wine committee to be served at the Festival St. Vincent  banquet in 2017.

2014 A Benchmark Year. The warm and dry spring in Burgundy allowed for an uneventful flowering in early June. Despite the wet and chilly summer there was little disease in the vines but slow maturation of the grapes. From mid-August the sun came out and dry weather prevailed until the harvest. September lived up to its reputation as the month that makes the wine. This produced delicious, fragrant wines with great ageing potential. The wine has a series density of material, strong acidity and minerality. Drink or hold.

“Bright greenish gold. Correct and juicy-fruited with salivary qualities. Bone dry, even slightly creamy textured but with true Chablis character. Probably not at peak yet. Impressive persistence” (16.5/20)

Jancis Robinson

2013 Another challenging year.  Weather was against Chablis in 2013. Miserable flowering period, savage hail storms in July, slow maturation during the summer, probably a third of the harvest was lost. For those who waited longer for fruit to ripen, severe downpours in October damaged any remaining fruit. For Vaudecorce the conditions produced a lighter, less complex wine which repays early drinking. Low volumes but good balance. Drink soon. 

2012 A lovely surprise. Spring brought challenges with hail storms and frost. The summer was dry and remained fine so the fruit was refreshed and dried by steady breezes helping it mature well. The wines are as fresh and concentrated as 2010 and have cellared well. Referred to as a ‘vintage of reference’ the wine has a good concentration with a strong acidic structure. A powerful wine with harmonious flavours. Finally starting to show its age but fascinating to drink. 

“Deep greenish straw. Rather muted nose, but good cut and crystalline fruit on the palate. Is this a middle-aged thing? Will it emerge in a more beautiful state? Certainly very clean and pure and true to type.”(16/20)

Jancis Robinson

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