2015 Domaine Rene et Vincent Dauvissat Petit Chablis

Year: 2015
Appellation: Chablis
Country: France
Wine Advocate: 89-91
Vinous Media: 88
Burghound: 87-89
White Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 13.0%
Price :

"The 2015 Petit Chablis, which comes from vines located on the plateau on hard limestone soils, has a crisp and taut bouquet, well defined and gently unfolding in the glass. The palate is well balanced with impressive fruit concentration, touches of ginger interwoven through yellow plum and star fruit flavors, then giving the taster a welcome spicy kick on the finish. This is a not so petite Chablis.

"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)

"Bright, light yellow. Very ripe aromas of lemon cream, marzipan and truffle; smells like a pastry. Creamy on entry, then tightly wound and brisk in the mid-palate, with its concentrated lemon and mineral flavors showing a repeating note of pastry shell. Finishes surprisingly taut, with notes of truffle and oatmeal. This very ripe, dense Petit Chablis is a touch topheavy; the alcohol here is 13.3%, the highest of Dauvissat's 2015s." (VM)

"There is ample Chablis character to the cool and admirably pure aromas that are composed of ripe and fresh apple, citrus and sea breeze nuances. The delicious, racy and lightly mineral-inflected flavors possess an attractive mouth feel while delivering fine depth and length in the context of what is typical for the genre. Worth a look." (BH)