2016 Domaine William Fevre Chablis Les Preuses Grand Cru

Year: 2016
Appellation: Chablis
Country: France
Wine Advocate: 92-94
Vinous Media: 93
James Suckling: 95
Burghound: 93
White Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 13.0%
Price :
$79.95

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"The 2016 Chablis Grand Cru les Preuses has a fresh and enticing bouquet with apple blossom, lime flower, granite and wet limestone aromas that really get to the core of Chablis. Of the six grand crus from Fevre, this might be my favorite. The palate is well balanced and very harmonious. The acidity is well judged and it possesses great elegance and femininity. One of the best wines from the domain this year, it comes recommended.

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)

"The 2016 Chablis Les Preuses Grand Cru has opened wonderfully since I tasted it in bottle: citrus lemon, Vervane tea, dill, ginger and yellow plum aromas bursting from the glass, an underlying spiciness developing in the glass. The palate is very well balanced with a spicy opening, lemongrass and touches of ginger, very open and generous with dried honey, curry leaf and a touch of ginger towards the feisty finish. Excellent. " (VM)

"Superfine, powerful and flinty with a linear and long shape. Like an arrow on the palate. This has quite an aloof and regal style. Very closed and steely. Long and mouthwatering. Supreme intensity, which makes it exhilarating. Drink or hold." (JS)

"A moderately exotic nose consists of a potent mix of fennel, oak, menthol, mineral reduction and essence of pear. There is excellent density and power to the medium weight plus flavors that still manage to come across as refined thanks to hugely long, balanced and sappy finish. This classy effort needs a few years to develop more depth but the material is present for that to happen." (BH)

Winery Notes:
2,55 ha of 11.4 ha. Structured to be kept in the cellar thanks to a dense, compact, clay-rich soil resting on a limestone bed. Characterised by flowery notes and a great mineral quality.

Characteristics of the appellation:
Floral nose, with fruity aromas enhanced by intense mineral notes and developing lightly smoky touches. Very round on the 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.