2015 Domaine Rene et Vincent Dauvissat Chablis Les Preuses Grand Cru

Year: 2015
Appellation: Chablis
Country: France
Wine Advocate: 95-97
Vinous Media: 95+
Burghound: 91-94
White Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 13.0%
Price :

"The 2015 Chablis Grand Cru les Preuses has a strict and linear bouquet, touches of beeswax and honeysuckle reluctantly emerging with time, well defined, but very backward at the moment. The palate is well balanced with a rounded, sensual opening. There are subtle tropical tones here, quite spicy, with very lithe tannin and then it finally fans out with confidence on the long, ginger and orange rind tinged finish. This offers just about everything you could possibly want from a Chablis Les Preuses.

"You know I am not a pessimistic person, but..." So said a beleaguered Vincent Dauvissat when we descended into his ancient cellar to taste his 2015s from barrel. Vincent has been, or rather is being hammered by the 2016 growing season with the onslaught of hail, frost, more hail and at the time of writing, intense mildew pressure as the mercury rises after a long period of rainy summer. He told me that in some areas, he has lost 95% of the crop. "It has impacted me financially. Sometimes it is difficult to sleep," he rued with the air of reflection from a winemaker who must have seen it all over many years of winemaking. And at least he has a raft of quite stupendous 2015s awaiting in barrel.

He started picking on September 2 just after the hail, commencing with those damaged by pellets of ice and put the secateurs away eight days later on September 10. Readers might be aware that I missed Dauvissat's 2014s last year because my appointment coincided with the unseasonal heat-wave; it was so hot that he was finding it difficult to spray the vines, because any liquid would instantly dry up. So returning a few months later, it was a pleasure to find that all the efforts from a man who lives in the vineyard had resulted in a clutch of awesome 2015s that deserve superlatives. As I remarked to Vincent, his achievement is to capture the opulence of the warm growing season while locking in both acidity and terroir expression, something that not all Chablis growers were successful in doing. I asked him how he managed to achieve such nervosité in his wines. Breaking into a smile he replied in sanguine manner that it was not him, it was the terroir that pierced these wines with acidity.

Right from his splendid Petit Chablis up to his two immense Grand Crus, Les Preuses and Les Clos, there is so much to recommend in these wines. I wonder whether they will go into their shell as they are wont to do. Usually they shine just after bottling and then go off into a sulk for 8-10 years before blossoming again, rewarding those wise enough to cellar them--as proven by a 2002 Chablis Les Clos he popped open before I departed. Perhaps the controlled decadence of these 2015s will mean that they don't quite stomp upstairs in a teenage sulk like other vintages. Personally, I would be loading up on all I can, what with the ineluctable shortfall in 2016, and cellar them for as long as possible." (WA)

"Pale yellow. Aromas of lemon-lime and crushed stone are lifted by topnotes of violet and lavender sea salt. Wonderfully rich, pliant wine with the thickness of the vintage perfectly leavened by citrussy lift and the rocky character of this grand cru. Simultaneously suave and powerful, fine-grained and penetrating, this seamless, bulletproof grand cru finishes with outstanding building length and an impression of chewy dry extract. Really amazing texture, concentration and early personality for a wine with a moderate 12.5% alcohol. This should go on for a long time." (VM)

"The super-elegant if restrained nose exhibits notably cool and admirably pure aromas of white flowers, pear, apple, citrus and plenty of classic Chablis elements. There is fine volume to the solidly dense and atypically powerful medium-bodied flavors that coat the mouth with dry extract as well as deliver a strikingly persistent finish that brims with minerality. As it almost always is, this is the most refined and harmonious effort in the range and this beauty should also repay up to a decade of cellaring." (BH)