On the road – our Sunday tastings in Chablis: William Fèvre and La Chablisienne

Our first day in Chablis was a Sunday. A  few wine making places are open on Sundays, amongst them the boutiques of La Chablisienne and of William Fèvre. No reservations are needed. Great.

On that Sunday, we also visited the Chablis market…

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… and Auxerre with its beautiful gothic church of St. Etienne.

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La Chablisienne – valued in Pocket Johnson and surely worth visiting with its broad selection of wines

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La Chablisienne is a Cooperative that makes wines for about 300 wine growers. They are the largest wine maker in Chablis. They offer wines from a broad variety of climats (about 30 different Chablis wines), and they own the Château Grand Cru “Grenouilles”, the smallest of the seven Grands Crus terroirs (they acquired the quasi-monopole of Grenouilles in 1999).

Jean-Michel guides us through our tasting – with a lot of charm – listening and reacting, e.g. by bringing another Grenouilles from a different year… This is what we tasted:

  • Beauroy 1er Cru: Fruity – perhaps quince. Nose is more pronounced than taste.
  • Vaulorent 1er Cru : Fruity – perhaps quince and nuts. Nose also stronger than taste.
  • Fourchaume 1er Cru 2013: Young, fruity – orange, both nose and taste. Would like it with shellfish. Liked it and bought a bottle.
  • Montmains 1er Cru 2009: Liked it and bought a bottle.
  • Les Preuses Grand Cru 2011: More yellow than 1er Cru, less acidity, flowery, can imagine it with Asian food. Can age more.
  • Les Grenouilles Grand Cru 2007: Ready to drink, salty, mineral note, but somewhat ponderous (on “heavy feet” or “schwerfüssig”). 2010 is fresher than 2007.

It is surely worth visiting La Chablisienne with its broad selection. On  our Sunday they also hosted a cheese tasting event. Unfortunately, the cheese tasting lady was a little grumpy.

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William Fèvre – “three stars” in Pocket Johnson and a lot of enthusiasm in the boutique – for me my second tasting highlight in Chablis

William Fèvre has three stars in the “Pocket Johnson”. For lack of family heirs, he sold his business to Henriot in 1998. He has the largest Grand Crus possessions in Chablis.

His boutique is nicely set up. To illustrate the terroir, there are brochures and samples of the Kimmeridgian soil. I enjoy the enthusiasm that the boutique assistant shows when explaining the Kimmeridgian stone samples to us. I ask him why William Fèvre is called “William”, though the family has long lived in Chablis – no Anglosaxon background. He smiles. And then tells me the story: When William was born, his parents could not agree on his name. After three days, the mayor reset the date of birth and gave him the name “William”. The assistant sees the “Pocket Johnson” in my hands. “May I see, what Johnson has written about us, I have not checked this out recently”, he says and then adds: “I have met Johnson once, he is an impressive person.”

This is what we tasted:

  • Petit Chablis 2013: Fresh, brisk, on “light feet” (“leichtfüssig”)
  • “Plain” Chablis: Almost no nose, a little more dense than the Petit Chablis
  • Chablis 1er Cru 2012, Montmains:  Round and crispy, I liked it again (liked it already at Chablisienne)
  • Chablis 1er Cru 2012, Mont de Milieu: Mineral taste, I like it less than Montmains.
  • Grand Cru Les Preuses: They assemble the wine from two vineyards in this climat, the one having more sun in the morning, the other more in the evening.
  • Grand Cru Les Clos: Touch of peach, sold out, but still some half bottles from 2010 left .

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I buy a half bottle of Petit Chablis (great for an apéritif in summer), a half bottle of Les Clos and a bottle of  Montmains. The assistant packs my buyings carefully into boxes, whereby he fixes the half bottles with a “collar” to prevent them from bouncing in the box. I like these details. To me it shows that the winemaker is caring about his wines and his clients.

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