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Burgundy - Top Producers of the Chablis District

DK PublishingDK Publishing 2/07/2014 DKBooks

Domaine Billaud-Simon

Top Producers of the Chablis District

Domaine Billaud-Simon - Chablis

location: 1 quai de Reugny
telephone number: 03 86 42 10 33
wine styles: white
best vintages: 2002, 2000, 1998, 1996, 1995
recommended wines: Vaillons, Blanchot

This 20-ha estate is blessed with one of the most extensive and complete ranges of premiers and grands crus in Chablis. Today it is run by Bernard Billaud and his nephew Samuel, who have created one of the most technically up-to-date wineries in the region. Almost all the wines are aged in stainless steel, although one or two crus, including Mont de Milieu and Blanchot, receive some oak-aging. These are wines marked by purity and mineral complexity.


Domaine François & Jean-Marie Raveneau - Chablis

location: 9 rue de Chichée
telephone number: 03 86 42 17 46
wine styles: white
best vintages: 2002, 2000, 1998, 1996, 1995
recommended wines: Butteaux, Les Clos, Blanchot

Raveneau only owns 8 ha of vineyards, but they are all outstanding sites, and everything is premier or grand cru. The wines are fermented in tanks but partly aged in older wood. Before bottling, different lots of the same wine are blended to ensure that the balance is consistent. The result is classic Chablis: mineral and even austere in its youth, but flowering with age into a rich, nutty complexity. Les Clos is usually the finest and most long-lived of the wines, but production is limited and demand is high.


Domaine Jean-Paul & Benoît Droin - Chablis

location: 14 bis rue Jean-Jaurès
telephone number: 03 86 42 16 78
website: www.jeanpaul-droin.fr
wine styles: white
best vintages: 2002, 2000, 1998, 1996, 1995
recommended wines: Vaucoupin, Les Clos

Jean-Paul Droin is one of the region’s most thoughtful winemakers, and the fortunate possessor of plots in four grands crus: Blanchot, Les Clos, Valmur, and Vaudésir. For many years he was a believer in fermentation and aging in new oak, but in the 1990s, he took heed of critics who found the woody aromas in his wines too dominant. Today the wines are much better balanced, with oak as a nuance rather than a flavor component. They are expensive, but beautifully made and infinitely complex.


Domaine Laroche - Chablis

location: 22 rue Louis Bro
telephone number: 03 86 42 89 00
website: www.michellaroche.com
wine styles: white
best vintages: 2002, 2000, 1998, 1996, 1995
recommended wines: St Martin, Fourchaume, Réserve de l’Obédience

Michel Laroche is a man of prodigious energy and ambition. He owns around 100 ha in Chablis and successfully combines sound commercial sense with top quality at all levels—from his generic Chablis brand (St-Martin) to the parade of sumptuous grands crus. Laroche has been aging his top wines in old oak for over 20 years and since 1991 has made Réserve de l’Obédience, which is vinified with scrupulous care from some of Blanchot’s oldest vines and released at a high price.


Domaine Louis Michel - Chablis

location: 9 blvd de Ferrières
telephone number: 03 86 42 88 55
wine styles: white
best vintages: 2002, 2000, 1998, 1996, 1995
recommended wines: Montmains, Vaudésir

Louis Michel and his son Jean-Loup own some 20 ha in Chablis, and most of their holdings are in the premiers crus of Montmains and Montée de Tonnerre. All wines are aged solely in stainless steel, which helps preserve the primary fruit and vigor. The absence of oak aging also helps retain the individuality of each cru. All the wines are fairly priced.


Domaine René & Vincent Dauvissat - Chablis

location: 8 rue Émile Zola
telephone number: 03 86 42 11 58
wine styles: white
best vintages: 2002, 2000, 1998, 1996, 1995
recommended wines: La Forest, Vaillons, Les Clos

The enthusiastic Vincent Dauvissat has inherited his father’s winemaking skills, and this remains one of the region’s finest and most traditional producers. Dauvissat believes that a long maturation period accentuates mineral nuances, and all his wines are fermented and aged in older oak. Consequently there is a loss of overt grapey fruitiness, but these are wines for aging, and after five years they reveal their immaculate balance and complexity.


Domaine William Fèvre - Chablis

location: 21 ave d’Oberwesel
telephone number: 03 86 98 98 98
wine styles: white
best vintages: 2002, 2000, 1998, 1996, 1995
recommended wines: Montée de Tonnerre, Blanchots

With 16 ha, William Fèvre owned more grand cru vines than any other grower in Chablis. In 1998, he sold his holdings to Bouchard Père & Fils, who within a few years transformed the wines into some of the most exuberant in the region, richly fruity and wonderfully varied from cru to cru. Fèvre’s wines had been over-oaked, but the new team uses the technique with more moderation and skill.


Jean-Marc Brocard - Chablis

location: 3 rte de Chablis, Préhy
telephone number: 03 86 41 49 00
website: www.brocard.fr
wine styles: white
best vintages: 2002, 2000, 1998, 1996, 1995
recommended wines: Montée de Tonnerre, Beauregard

The Ebullient Jean-Marc Brocard is a rarity in Chablis, a self-made man who inherited 2 ha and astutely built up a substantial 80-ha estate. The wines are aged entirely in stainless steel, not oak, since he feels it is the soil rather than the wood that gives Chablis its character. As well as Chablis of very reliable quality, Brocard produces some fascinating and good-value bourgogne blanc from outside the Chablis zone. The large production allows Brocard to maintain fair prices.


La - Chablisienne - Chablis

location: 8 blvd Pasteur
telephone number: 03 86 42 89 89
website: www.chablisienne.fr
wine styles: white
best vintages: 2002, 2000, 1998, 1996, 1995
recommended wines: Vieilles Vignes, Beauroy

With a production of some 500,000 cases, this co-op is a major player in the region, and quality has always been consistently high. Prices, although not low, offer good value. In addition to a wide range of premiers and grands crus, La Chablisienne produces blends such as the Vieilles Vignes (from old vines), which is given some oak-aging and is released ready to drink.


Maison Pascal Bouchard - Chablis

location: Parc des Lys
telephone number: 03 86 42 18 64
website: www.pascalbouchard.fr
wine styles: white
best vintages: 2002, 2000, 1998, 1996, 1995
recommended wines: Fourchaume Vieilles Vignes, Les Clos

This is one of Chablis’ largest estates, with ownership of (or contracts with) around 100 ha of vines. The firm opened a modern winery here in 1995. The wines are true to type, and only some of the grands crus are treated to a touch of barrel-fermentation and oak aging. They are enjoyable young for their rich fruit and firm minerality, but the finest crus are best kept for a few years.


Perfect case: Chablis

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