2009 CHABLIS GRANDS CRUS

Following the 2008 vintage, a year which is looking even better one year on, the 2009s can be considered very nearly - if slightly less consistent - as successful as the 2008s. While elsewhere in the region, especially in the three great communes of Meursault, Puligny and Chassagne, there are just a few 2009s which show a bit of sur-maturité, if not of botrytis, the cooler climatic conditions of the Chablis vineyard, a hundred kilometres to the north, have worked to the wines' advantage. They retain the crisp minerality of true Chablis, while at the same time having the richness of the best wines produced further south.

In terms of quantity, both 2009 and 2008 are reasonably abundant but not excessively so: indeed the figures for both vintages are very close to the five year average.

It was a long, cold winter, but without excessively low temperatures, but it continued cold through March, especially at the end of the month. April and the second half of May, though, were a little warmer than average, leading to an even and successful flowering, unencumbered by spring frost damage, a few days earlier than the average, about 10 to 15 days after the Côte d'Or. July and August were largely warm, but interrupted by several quite torrential storms; but thankfully without serious hail problems, nor any cryptogamic outbreaks.

So we come to September. Conditions were already looking promising at the beginning of the month. The development of the fruit had already gained a few days: it was to approach its optimum even speedier. By the 15th the Chablis vignoble was ready, and the harvest began at around the same time as the Côte d'Or. The fruit was ripe, healthy and concentrated, and the picking took place under sunny skies without any serious interruptions for rain.

Two thousand and nine is a sensual Chablis vintage: the essential is ripe, and at the grand cru level, concentrated fruit, with plenty of richness. But at the same time the acidities are properly balanced, ensuring the racy steeliness we search for. There is plenty of encouraging purity. Some wines are at present a little four square, indeed seem heavy, but this may be an illusion. While some had not been bottled at the time of my tasting, most of the rest had not been in bottle long, and might very well appear more relaxed in a few months time.

In brief this is a fine Chablis vintage. Perhaps not as glorious as 2008, but not far short of it. It will give a lot of pleasure. Drink them from 2013 or so – or later – depending on your taste.

The vast majority of the wines below were set up for me to taste blind, climat by climat, by the local B.I.V.B in February 2011. My thanks to them. The Dauvissat and Raveneau wines were tasted separately, sur place, the next day.

BOURGROS

Jean-Marc Brocard 15.0

Not yet bottled. Somewhat lightweight nose. Pretty but a bit superficial on the palate. Forward. Lacks the depth of a grand cru. Good at best.

Co-operative La Chablisienne 16.0

Not yet bottled. Ripe, balanced and pure on the nose. Decent fruit. Medium-full body. Lacks a little definition but very good.

Domaine du Colombier 17.5

Good depth here. Fullish, stylish, minerally and well-balanced. Good vigour. Long and satisfying. Fine.

Vignoble Dampt 17.5

Clean and pure if not very full and concentrated on the nose. But very good fruit and style and long and positive at the end. Fine.

Bernard Defaix 14.0

Ripe and balanced on the nose, if not very elegant. On the palate it ends with a flavour of boiled sweets. Medium-full body. Quite good at best.

Joseph Drouhin 13.0

Somewhat four-square on the nose. A lack of personality. Decently ripe and balanced. But a little forced. Hard at the end. Only fair.

William Fevre 13.0

Fresh, fragrant, crisp nose. But not enough fruit on the palate. Rather lean.

William Fevre, Côte Bouguerots 16.0

Slightly four-square on the nose, but better on the palate. Fullish. Good grip. Ripe fruit and decent balance. Very good.

Domaine Laroche 16.0

Quite a full, fat example. Ripe and balanced. Just a little four-square, but the finish is positive. Very good.

Long Depaquit 15.5

Medium weight. Fresh and fruity. But it lacks a little personality. Good plus.

Francois Servin 17.0

A racy, lean wine with good energy and style. Positive at the end. Elegant too. Very good indeed.

GRENOUILLES

Jean-Marc Brocard 14.0

Not yet bottled. Lovely flowery nose. But sadly the palate is less distinguished. Balanced but rather forced and rather coarse. Quite good at best.

Co-operative La Chablisienne, Château Grenouilles 17.0

Not yet bottled. Steely, nicely lean nose. Ample on the palate. Medium-full body. Ripe, positive and balanced. Good energy at the end. Very good indeed.

Jean-Paul et Benoit Droin 17.0

Soft, ripe, harmonious nose. Plump, yet properly steely. Almost peachy in its fruit. Balanced, long and stylish. Tails away just a bit at the end but very good indeed.

William Fevre See Note

Lean, coarse, decidedly inelegant nose. Not even really clean. What happened here?

Testut Frères 15.5

A touch of oak here which I find out of place. This gives it an un-Chablisien spicy flavour. Otherwise reasonable weight and balance.

LA MOUTONNE

Long Depaquit 15.5

Decent crisp fruit on the nose. Medium body. Balanced and fresh but no great dimension. Good long finish though. Good plus.

PREUSES

Jean-Marc Brocard 17.0

Not yet in bottle. Fragrant nose. Stylish. Medium to medium-full weight. Nicely flowery. Ripe and positive at the end. Very good indeed.

Co-operative La Chablisienne 16.0

Fullish, rich, ripe and balanced on the nose. Slghtly four-square but long and positive on the palate. Lacks a little grace. Very good though.

Vignoble Dampt 17.0

This has very good fruit and plenty of depth and energy behind it. A bit rigid on the follow through though. Very good indeed.

Vincent Dauvissat 18.0

Full, fat, backward and quite powerful nose. Lovely ripe fruit on the palate. Quite a big wine. Needs time. Ample, long. Fine plus.

Maison Faiveley 17.5

Flowery, ripe, elegant and balanced on both nose and palate. Good positive finish. Lovely fruit. Fine.

Nathalie et Gilles Fevre 17.5

Ripe, balanced and stylish on the nose. Good energy on the follow through. Medium-full wright. Very good finish. Fine.

William Fevre 12.0

Somewhat unbalanced and not very clean either. No.

William Fevre (Domaine) 17.5

Steely nose. Very Chablis. Clean and pure. Good depth. Harmonious. Plenty of vigour. Long. Fine.

Francois Servin 12.5

Soft and fruity on the nose, but a bit feeble. Not much personality either. Forward. Disappointing.

Simonnet-Febvre 18.5

Not yet in bottle. Very pure stylish nose. Lots of depth. Medium-full body. Harmonious. Very good energy. Long and lovely. Very fine.

BLANCHOTS

Pascal Bouchard 16.0

Not yet in bottle. Crisp, lean nose. Good style and grip. This will develop well. Nicely fresh and appley. Very good. Could turn out even better.

Co-operative La Chablisienne 17.0

Not yet in bottle. Attractive, ripe nose. Forward and accessible. But only medium weight and concentration. Balanced and positive. Better on the finish than on the attack Very good indeed.

Laroche 17.5

Youthful, energetic, nicely profound nose. This has very good fruit and depth. Long and satisfying. Will evolve well. Fine.

Laroche, Reserve de l'Obedience 17.5

Racy, crisp nose. Good depth and character. Good vigour. Youthful. Good fruit. Pure and elegant and long on the palate. Will keep well. Fine.

Long Depaquit 15.0

Ripe. Medium-full weight. Harmonious. Good attack but then it falls away a bit. Good at best.

Maison Lupé-Cholet 14.5

Just a little lean, even thin on the nose. Ripe but a bit superficial on the palate. Decent finish. But a lack of depth. Quite good plus.

Louis Moreau 18.0

Good minerally nose. A backward wine with a lovely style and lots of depth. Good energy. Long on the palate. Fine plus.

Raveneau 18.0

Not yet in bottle. Firm, flowery, clean and closed in on the nose. Fullish body. Ample. Very lovely pure fruit. Somewhat austere. Very good grip. Long, complex and classy. Fine plus.

Francois Servin 17.5

Good, fresh, balanced nose. Attractive, ripe, stylish fruit. Fullish body. Lots of personality and depth. Long on the palate. Fine.

Simonnet-Febvre 14.0

Not yet in bottle. Quite a deep colour. Somewhat over-blown nose. Quite a lot of oak. Ripe underneath. Full and fat. But not very stylish. Quite good at best.

Vocoret et Fils 18.5

Nice and pure and steely on the nose. Medium-full body. Ripe and rich and with plenty of depth. Long. Lots of finesse. Very fine.

VALMUR

Jean-Marc Brocard 17.5

Not yet in bottle. Ripe, nicely racy, harmonious nose. Medium-full body. Good energy and depth. Lots of style Fine.

Jean Collet et Fils 18.0

Nice and steely on the nose. Good depth. Ripe, stylish and balanced. Very lovely fruit. Excellent finish. Fine plus.

Jean-Paul et Benoit Droin 17.0

Lovely, almost ethereal, flowery nose. Very elegant. Medium-full body. Very ripe on the palate. Almost peachy. Long. Very good indeed.

William Fevre 17.5

Very good depth here. A fullish, concentrated, vigorous wine with very good fruit. Perhaps not quite the elegance at the end, but lots of drive. Fine.

Christian Moreau Pere et Fils 16.0

Cool, composed, stylish nose. Very good fruit. Not quite the concentration and grip on the palate. But ripe and easy to drink. Very good.

J. Moreau et Fils 16.0

Slightly closed in on the nose, but good style and depth. Just a bit solid on the attack. Balanced but an absence of energy and nuance. Very good though.

Louis Moreau 16.5

Slighly austere on the nose. Good grip. Medium to medium-full body. Nice and pure but lacks a bit of fruit. Elegant finish nonetheless. Very good plus.

Raveneau 18.5

Not yet in bottle. Very lovely concentrated nose. Firm. Has a touch of hazelnut. Full body. Rich. Flowery in an orange-blossom sort of way. Individual, delicious. Very fine.

VAUDESIR

Pascal Bouchard 12.0

Overblown nose. A bit too rich. Tarty.

Jean-Marc Brocard 16.5

Not yet in bottle. Balanced on the nose but a little rigid, so it lacks nuance. Good energy. Medium-full body. Very good plus.

Co-operative La Chablisienne 16.0

Not yet in bottle. Stylish and pure on the nose. But not as elegant on the palate. Medium-full body. Good grip. But not quite the class. Very good at best.

Bernard Defaix 19.0

Very soft and peachy on the nose. Lovely fruit. Very ripe and elegant. Reasonably forward but with a very lovely follow through. Very fine plus.

Jean-Paul et Benoit Droin 19.0

Flowery, peachy nose. Harmonious and very elegant. Medium-full body. Persistent. Lots of dimension especially on the finish. Excellent.

Joseph Drouhin 18.5

Soft, ripe, elegant nose. Quite full and firm, but good depth. Very good fruit and grip. Long and positive at the end. Lovely.

William Fevre 18.5

Lovely nose. Flowery and composed. Medium-full body. Ripe and harmonious. Classy fruit. Long and complex and very elegant. Very fine.

Garnier et Fils 17.5

Not yet in bottle. Subdued nose, but nice and minerally. Pure and stylish. Lots of fruit. Quite rich, with a very slight touch of oak. Medium to medium-full body. Long. Fine.

Long Depaquit 16.5

Good depth here on the nose. Plenty of energy. Medium-full body. Balanced. Very good plus.

Domaine de Malandes 16.0

Good steely, profound fruit on the nose. Lacks a bit of sheer class on the palate. But medium-full body and good grip. Very good. May improve as it ages.

Domaine de Maupertuis 18.5

Soft, ripe, pure and distinguished on the nose. Medium-full body. A subtle wine. Balanced and persistent. Very long. Very fine.

Christian Moreau Père et Fils 19.0

Lovely nose. Very pure, ripe, racy fruit. Balanced, poised and vigorous. Medium-full body. Lots of depth. Very fine plus.

J. Moreau et Fils 19.5

Very lovely fruit all the way hrough. Balanced and persistent. Medium-full body. Ripe and long and complex. Delicious. Very fine indeed.

Louis Moreau 17.5

Fresh, pure, elegant fruit on the nose. Medium to medium-full body. Lots of nuance if not a wine for the very long term. Fine finish. Fine.

LES CLOS

Pascal Bouchard See note

Not yet in bottle. Somewhat over-blown, slightly oxidised nose. Ripe. Medium bodied. But not at its best. Slightly heavy at the end.

Jean-Marc Brocard 16.5

Not yet in bottle. A slight touch of reduction on the nose. Medium to medium-full body. Good balance. Nice fruit. Very good or better.

Co-operative La Chablisienne 17.5

Not yet in bottle. Fresh stylish nose. Good fruit. Plenty of character. Soft, ripe and accessible. Medium to medium-full body. Good grip and a positive finish. Elegant, pure and persistent. Fine.

Vincent Dauvissat 19.5

Very classy, poised nose. Excellent grip. Very lovely, steely character. Ripe underneath. Full body. Very pure. Lovely fruit. Excellent balance. Splendid finish. Very fine indeed.

Jean-Paul et Benoit Droin 17.0

Nicely austere, slightly yeasty nose. Fullish. Good grip. Not the finesse of the very best but good energy and very good indeed.

Joseph Drouhin 17.5

Lovely clean, steely nose. Ample, rich and full of fruit on the palate. Quite full body. Good energy. But almost too rich. Fine but not great.

Caves Duplessis 15.5

Not yet in bottle. Very poised, racy nose. Soft on the palate. Ripe and fruity. Medium bodied. An elegant wine, but it tails off. Merely good plus.

Maison Faiveley 16.0

Ripe and ample but not very stylish on the nose. A little bit too rich. Medium to medium-full body. Decent finish but very good at best.

William Fevre 17.5

Good vigorous nose. Ample, ripe, balanced and accessible on the nose. Stylish fruit on the palate. Medium to medium-full body. Long and vigorous. Fine.

Garnier et Fils 19.0

Not yet in bottle. Lovely nose. Pure and racy. This is classic. Fullish body. Elegant, balanced, clean and complex. Very lovely long finish. Excellent.

Alain Geoffroy 17.5

Racy, minerally and very Chablis on the nose. Ripe but steely. Lots of depth. Pure, persistent and fullish bodied. Very elegant. Long and lovely. Needs time. Fine.

Lamblin Fils 17.5

Good ripe fruit on the nose. Fullish, ample, balanced and stylish on the palate. Plenty of wine here. Plenty of depth. Finishes very well. Fine.

Laroche 13.0

Soft nose. Even softer palate. Medium body. Forward. A bit short and one-dimensional. Only fair.

Long Depaquit 13.0

Pretty but rather short and slight. Lacks energy.

Christian Moreau Père et Fils 16.5

Ripe fruit and good grip on the nose. Medium-full body. Persistent, balanced but not quite the class. Lots of energy though. Very good plus.

Christian Moreau Père et Fils, Clos des Hospices 17.0

Good class, energy, balance and fruit on the nose. Medium-full body. Good follow through. An ample wine. Very good indeed.

J. Moreau et Fils See note

Rather reduced. Difficult to judge.

Louis Moreau 16.0

Quite herbal on the nose. Good grip. Medium to medium-full body. Slightly lean, and it lacks a bit of dimension. But clean and balanced and long on the palate. Very good.

Louis Moreau, Clos des Hospices 17.0

Ripe and yeasty and slightly oaky on the nose. Very ripe on the palate. An ample, well-balanced wine. Long. Very good indeed.

Domaine des Malandes 16.0

Good firm nose. Fullish. Very ripe on the palate. This is balanced and vigorous but it lacks that extra finesse. Very good.

Pinson 14.0

Somewhat over-blown on the nose. Ripe but a bit flat. Lacks energy and elan. Quite good at best.

Raveneau 19.5

Not yet in bottle. Really profound, classy nose. Lots of distinction here. Full body. Backward. Lots of vigour. Delicious fruit. Very complex. Splendid finish. Very fine indeed.

Francois Servin 15.0

Delightful, delicate, flowery nose. Very soft on the palate though. Lacks grip and energy. Forward. Good at best.

Simonnet-Febvre 18.5

Not yet in bottle. Firm and fresh on the nose. Good depth. Medium-full body. Lots of very good fruit here. This has grip, depth and energy. Very fine.

Vocoret et Fils 17.0

Fresh, flowery, stylish nose. Medium weight. Not the greatest of energy and depth. But harmonious and persistent. Very good indeed.