Ten years is much too long of an interval between blind tastings of Chablis. Our last comparison was back in September 2010, and with wine this beautiful and intense, we vowed not to wait so long again.
This tasting was one of those examples that showed the deficiency of our scoring format. Our point-based ranking system has the tendency to reward the top bottles, but denies credit to those bottles at the bottom. But in this case, we almost uniformly agreed that all the wines were very good to outstanding, showing focused flavors paired with laser-like acidity and verve. Ali even summed up saying that "these have everything I want in a white wine".
We also agreed that these were very versatile food wines, with some examples suggesting shellfish pairings, while others could stand up to roasted chicken.
In a happy surprise, two of the bottles came from the same producer and same premier cru designation, but separated by a single vintage. And we were happy that both older vintages and very young bottles showed well.
As usual, Josephine wowed us with her expansive botanical knowledge, specifically her keen ability to sense different flowers.
First Place: William Fevre Chablis Champs Royaux 2018. A little lighter in color compared to most others, showing a hint of green. Tasters found mostly citrusy mineral scents, plus white flower (galbanum, according to flower expert Josephine), crushed limestone, and a saline, sea air quality. Intense and complex in the mouth, without being heavy, offering flavors of limes and crushed rocks, then more of that saline note. Jamie noted "oyster liquor", and Ali settled on "It's so lovely." Andy, Ali, and David's favorite bottle of the night, and was the second favorite of the rest of the tasting group, receiving a total of 30 points. Ali's bottle. About $27.
Second Place: Domaine du Colombier Petit Chablis 2019. Relatively light in color, with a delightful nose of green apples, honey, wet pebbles, peach skin, sandalwood, and honeydew. Josephine detected "light colored suede", then "suede into apricot flower", and later settling on "osmanthus." Beautiful on the palate, featuring plenty of acidity and focus, but not lean or austere. Shows restraint. Flavors of Meyer lemon and wet stone, then hints of cedar, flint, and smoke on the very long finish. Ali felt that it "mellows me out", while Josephine noted that it has "so much depth it makes you want to keep going back for more". Kristin and Josephine's favorite, with a total of 27 points. Kristin's bottle. Wins best value, at $20.
Third Place: Joseph Drouhin Chablis Moulin de Vaudon 2019. The ripest nose of the night, suggesting ripe oranges, cantaloupe, plastic doll, talc, and broom flower (Josephine, again). Plenty of acidity, with flavors suggesting green apples and lychee. Andy exclaimed, "Ooo, that's good." Jamie's favorite, and totaled 15 points. Andy's bottle. About $25.
Christophe Patrice Chablis Premier Cru Beauroy 2019. Scents of kaffir lime, Bazooka bubble gum, salt air, river rocks, lime seltzer, and talc. Tasted creamy, not unlike a Creamsicle, but with high acidity, and notions of honey, seaweed, rosemary, and thyme. Some smoke on the finish, as well as suggestions of salinity and the beach. Ali felt that it was "a little bit manipulative." Received 7 points. David's bottle. About $39.
Daniel-Etienne Defaix Chablis Premier Cru Côte de Lechet 2006. A bit darker in color, with a savory nose of caramel, smoke, bruised red apples, burnt eucalyptus, green olive, graphite, and a slight bit of cream. Jamie felt that "this smells really serious." Compared to most this evening, this was richer on the palate, but having plenty of acidity, while staying darker in profile. Tasters were reminded of clementine, tangerine, honeysuckle, white tea. A little bit of aluminum on the long finish. Received 4 points. Josephine's bottle. About $58.
Daniel-Etienne Defaix Chablis Premier Cru Côte de Lechet 2005. Tasters were initially unimpressed with this one, showing scents of barnyard, fish tank, ammonia, crab apple, cardboard, and wet concrete. Ali never came around to it, however some of us felt that the negative scents burned off with air. Really rich on the palate, and reminiscent of baked apples, broccoli rabe, seaweed, grapefruit, and apples. Josephine decided that it "doesn't have as much dimension", and then spoke for it, saying, "I dare you to love me." Jamie's bottle. One point. About $70.