2016 Domaine William Fevre Chablis Les Clos Grand Cru

Year: 2016
Appellation: Chablis
Country: France
Wine Spectator: 92
Wine Advocate: 91-93
Vinous Media: 93-95
James Suckling: 96
Burghound: 92
White Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 13.0%
Price :
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"Enticing aromas and flavors of green plum, lemon, apple and seashore mark this balanced, seamless white. The flintiness adds an extra dimension, making this complex, while the finish builds nicely. Drink now through 2024. 120 cases imported. -BS" (WS)

"The 2016 Chablis Grand Cru les Clos, cropped at around 17 hectoliters per hectare, was blended the day previous to my visit and is due to be bottled in December 2017 or perhaps the following month. As such, the aromatics are too leesy to assess. The palate is balanced with a saline, sour lemon-tinged entry, perhaps lighter than the Bougros Côte Bouguerots and with a prickle of spice toward the finish. It should gain complexity and harmony throughout its élevage and will be one to watch.

Head winemaker Didier Séguier has steered this important Chablis producer, part of the Henriot group, since its acquisition in 1998. Previously he worked as assistant winemaker at Bouchard Père & Fils, so he already had experience under his belt, steering what was then a very oaky style of Chablis to one that was much more terroir driven and for want of a better word, just more "Chablis."

We focused mainly on the 2016s, with a smattering of 2015s that had been bottled since my visit last year. They suffered frost on 19, 25 and 27 April, when the temperature tumbled to -2.8° Celsius in some sectors. Around 30 hectares were completely destroyed, while vineyards such as Vaulorent, Montée de Tonnerre, Mont de Milieu and Montmains suffered around 50% damage. Then there was 240 millimeters of rain in May that caused wide mildew pressure from 8 June onward, especially in Les Preuses and Vaulorent.

Flowering took place on 20 June and then there were two periods of warm weather on 22/23 June and 8 to 10 July, when temperatures increased up to almost 40° Celsius. From 14 July to 1 September it was hot and dry, causing grillure (burning of the berries) in some of the more exposed vineyards. The warm and dry conditions would have threatened to halt the growing cycle of the vines, though fortunately 15 millimeters of rainfall on 15 September spurred things on toward maturity, so that the first bunches could be picked on 22 September in healthy, sanitary conditions.

Yields were generally weak: 18 hectoliters per hectare in Chablis, 15 to 25 hectoliters per hectare in premier crus affected by the frost and 35 to 40 hectoliters per hectare in the least affected vines. Generally, William Fevre's 2016s showed well, although with all the sturm und drang, it is no wonder that the Vaulorent did not live up to the quality of the superior 2015. The traumatic beginning of the 2016 growing season seemed to affect some vineyards more than others with Montée de Tonerre, for example, showing much better than Mont de Milieu. I would have liked just one or two of their array of grand crus to broach the 95 point mark, although their Bougros Côte de Bouguerots does come very close, the standout 2016 from William Fevre."(WA)

"(just 18 hectoliters per hectare produced owing to frost and mildew): Pale yellow. Lovely brisk citrus and apple aromas complicated by gingery spices, white pepper and iodiney minerality. Large-scaled, dense and quite powerful but not yet filled in, with its very concentrated peach and citrus flavors accented by ginger and white pepper. More glyceral in the early going than the Preuses but showing less personality today. This fruit was picked very ripe, with nearly 13% potential alcohol, according to Didier Séguier." (VM)

"The complexity, concentration and drive make this an excellent Clos in 2016. The fruits vary from citrus to exotic stone fruits. Green tropical and white floral notes, too. The palate has a staggeringly concentrated core of acid-drenched lemons, lime, peaches and green mangoes. Incredible depth, high acidity and a very long finish. A great Clos! Drink or hold." (JS)

"An even more complex nose displays excellent Chablis typicity with its smoky combination of lychee, citrus, white orchard fruit, sea breeze, mineral reduction and soft oyster shell nuances. The broad-shouldered flavors are rich and concentrated to the point of opulence while managing to retain reasonably good precision on the citrus and solidly dry finale that really fans out as it sits on the palate. Note that my rating assumes that better depth will develop over time as the finish is somewhat one-dimensional at present." (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:

Grape variety:
100% Chardonnay.