2015 Jean Paul Droin Chablis Vaulorent 1er Cru

Year: 2015
Appellation: Chablis
Country: France
Wine Advocate: 92
Vinous Media: 93
Burghound: 89-91
White Wine


Price :

"The 2015 Chablis 1er Cru Vaulorent possesses one of the most expressive bouquets of Benoît Droin’s premier crus, with pure white peach, nectarine and apricot scents that are very well defined. The palate is very well balanced with an irresistible fatness that renders it like a Côte de Beaune Blanc. There are subtle nutmeg and walnut notes towards the harmonious finish and a suggestion of almond and white chocolate on the long aftertaste. This is a superb wine and one that shows some of its fellow 2015 premier crus how it should be done.

At the annual “Burgfest” blind tasting, the wines of Benoît Droin consistently impress, as will be revealed when I write up the 2014s later this year. This is one of the most consistent growers in Chablis and one of the earliest converts to DIAM closures. When I broached the topic, Benoît told me that when comparing aged bottles side by side, DIAMs perform better (he uses mainly DIAM 10 these days, for those of you who like to know these details).

On this visit we tasted through the recently filtered and blended 2016s directly from stainless steel tanks in his capacious winery facility on the outskirts of the village. Back in the domain's tasting room at their maison in the heart of the village, we also tasted the range of 2015s from bottle. “The harvest in 2016 began on 22 September, although there is no Mont de Milieu or Fourchaume because of the frost. At this stage I am looking for some reduction on the samples, because this protects them and allows them to age," Benoît informed me. "2015 was a hot vintage. We started picking early because of the hail, although I had been expecting to pick on 4 September anyway. It is not a classic vintage like 2010 or 2012. In 2015 there was no Blanchot because of the hail. It was difficult to estimate the yield so sometimes you might have a little more oak and you might rack these early. But there were not too many differences [in quantity] in the end.”

These are very consistent Chablis that deliver where it matters—in the bottle. It is his enviable cluster of premier crus where things get really interesting, especially the impressive Montée de Tonnerre and Vaulorent. His four grand crus seem always to deliver, the les Clos showing the authority and completeness that you desire and the Vaudésir articulating the brightness and energy of that vineyard. I have a preference for the 2016 over the 2015 vintage at this early stage. The detail and nervosité of the 2015s seem to be abraded by the warmth of the summer, although to reiterate, the Vaulorent and Montée de Tonnerre buck that trend. Overall, Droin's 2016s appear to show more tension and vibrancy even at this early stage, although one must be cautious comparing wines at very different stages. " (WA)

"The 2015 Chablis Vaulorent 1er Cru has a very attractive bouquet of orange pith and gunflint infused with pressed yellow flowers. The poised, harmonious palate is well balanced, displaying a fine thread of acidity and just the right amount of salinity on the finish. This is a brilliant Vaulorent from Benoît Droin. Tasted blind at the annual Burgfest tasting." (VM)

"Here the nose is at once more elegant and cooler with its airy combination of oyster shell, citrus, floral and soft apple aromas that is trimmed in just enough wood to notice. There is both good punch and volume to the attractively refined and wonderfully pure flavors that offer good length but in this case there is a mild sweetness to the finish that isn't overt but it would be fair to say that this isn't especially dry. It's possible that this will tighten up once it's bottled but I would advise drinking it after only a few years of cellaring." (BH)