2015 Domaine William Fevre Chablis Les Clos Grand Cru

Year: 2015
Appellation: Chablis
Country: France
Wine Advocate: 91-93
Vinous Media: 92-95
Burghound: 92-94
White Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 13.0%
Price :
$99.95

"The 2015 Chablis Grand Cru les Clos was showing a little reduction on the nose, like several others from this famous vineyard. Underneath lies attractive yellow plum, Granny Smith apple and honeysuckle scents. The palate is very well balanced with crisp tannin and fine acidity; it is tightly coiled and not as expressive as say the Bougros. There is a very attractive spiciness on the finish that lingers in the mouth, but it is clearly a wine that needs at least a couple of years in bottle.

My rendezvous with Didier Seguier, head winemaker at William Fevre, was at their tasting room in Chablis ville, opposite the Bistro de Grand Cru. As usual, we tasted through their comprehensive portfolio, first with the 2015s, of which all but the entry-level wines are still in tank on their lees and due for bottling next year. Then we broached the 2014s in bottle.

“Flowering passed well with just a little coulure in Premier and Grand Cru,” Didier explained. “There was a storm in the second week of August and we needed the rain as it had been hot since the beginning of June [in fact, there was hardly a drop in June or July, which resulted in some hydric stress]. Then there was the hailstorm on August 31 and we started the picking on September 3, commencing with three areas that had been impacted by the hail: Montmains, Les Clos and in Montée de Tonnerre. The alcohol levels came in between 12 degrees and 13.5 degrees.”

Some of the facts and figures on their 2015 vintage report make an interesting reading: a 75% drop in rainfall in June and July, with August 66% wetter than usual, but because of that hailstorm on August 13, there was 13% more sunshine hours than average--in particular during April, June and July. Didier actually compared the 2015 to the 2009 vintage when I asked if any came to mind, which is a fair comparison given the warmth of those two seasons, though the jury is out whether 2015 actually surpasses the 2009.

Didier’s use of barrel is always astute. Long gone are the days when William Fevre was known (infamous?) for its oaky Chablis; now they use oak barrels that are between three- and five-year-old, much more discrete and playing a supporting rather than main role. Fevre also presciently used alternative closures, a trend in the Chablis region. “Everything is bottled under DIAM, which we have been using since 2006. We have opened some of those bottles and they are still so fresh.” Tasting through the portfolio of William Fevre is a good litmus test of the vintage. since they boast such a deep array of Premier and Grand Crus, as well as very popular entry-level wines. There are stellar wines here from Bougros Côte de Bourgerot and Valmur, while others such as Vaudésir just seem to not click into top gear when compared with others.

As I anticipated, their 2015s seems rounded and more approachable than 2014--less nerve and race, although I adored the Mont de Milieu and Vaulorent this year. Some of the 2014s are very special, in particular a very impressive, mineral-driven Les Lys. While this is not the more well-known Premier Cru, here it is demonstrating exactly what it can do."(WA)

"Pale, slightly cloudy yellow. Pungent aromas of lemon, lime, spices and iodine are lifted by an almost metallic topnote. Then almost shockingly rich and sweet in the mouth and softer than the nose suggests, offering powerful flavors of yellow peach, lichee and spices. This hugely concentrated, slightly saline wine offers terrific plushness and depth of fruit if a bit less minerality than usual in the early going. But the backward, slightly phenolic finish suggests that this wine will need extended bottle aging. Production here was just 30 hectoliters per hectare." (VM)

"Once again there is just enough wood present to warrant mentioning on the strikingly fresh, cool and pure nose of mineral reduction, ripe pear, sea water and floral aromas. There is flat out remarkable power to the highly energetic flavors that also display ample amounts of dry extract that imparts a sappy texture to the intensely mineral-driven, explosive and hugely long finish. It's interesting as one can sense an elevated level of alcohol but surprisingly there is no associated finishing warmth to speak of." (BH)

Winery Notes
4,11 ha of 26 ha. The largest and most famous of the Grands Crus, because it is the historical cradle of Chablis vineyards.The soil, with its due south orientation and very white, dense and deep clay soil, rests on a limestone bed 80 cm below, which brings along those spicy notes so typical of this terroir.

Characteristics of the appellation:
Remarkably complex bouquet, blending fruity, floral and spicy notes with a substantial mineral touch. Structured palate.

Food-wine matches:
Fish, shellfish and other seafood, grilled or in a cream sauce. Poultry and white meat, grilled or in a cream sauce.

Serving temperature:
12°C-14°C.

Grape variety:
100% Chardonnay.