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Saturday Sips: Domaine William Fèvre – Soul of Chablis

The secret to Chablis’ authenticity is geology. The vineyards of Chablis lie on the outcrop of a great submerged basin of limestone. It is Burgundy’s most northern region and the cool climate, along with the Kimmeridgian soil of limestone, clay, and a multitude of tiny, fossilized oyster shells, produce uniquely mineral wines. Chardonnay grapes respond to this terroir with flavors that can’t be reproduced anywhere else in the world, even wines from Côte de Beaune have a different taste and structure than Chablis.

Over the years William Fèvre had acquired a total of 126 acres of vineyards, all located in historic terroirs, and over half of them classified as Grands Crus and Premiers Crus, building one of Chablis’ greatest wine domaines (albeit a domaine that was often admonished for harvesting late and lavish new oak). In 1998, William Fèvre retired and sold all of his holdings to the Champagne House Henriot.

Since then the wines are made by the talented Didier Séguier who, as part of the Henriot team, had brought Maison Bouchard back to prominence. Under Séguier, all Fèvre vineyards have been converted to 100% organic cultivation and he has lately started introducing biodynamic practices. The whole crop of their domaine wines, straight Chablis included, is harvested and sorted by hand to ensure utmost quality. The domaine has also moved almost completely away from aging in new oak. For Domaine William Fèvre “Style is an empty shell”. The soul of Chablis is derived from its terroir and their wines are now the model for the purity of Chablis.

According to Séguier, 2012 is the most balanced vintage in the fifteen years since he been at the domaine. The wines are pure and fruity now but will provide enjoyment for years to come.

Fevre_bottle Domaine William Fèvre is the only producer to own six out of the seven officially delineated Grand Cru climates in Chablis. To get a sense of the different soil types and climates we suggest purchasing a mixed 12-Pack of all William Fèvre wines which includes three each of the Premiers Crus and two each of the Grands Crus.

Vaillons 1er ($59/bottle) RP 91-92 – SOLD OUT
Sitting on compact Portlandian limestone, it represents all the different types of Chablis terroir under one appellation.

Vaulorent 1er ($75/bottle) RP 93-94 – SOLD OUT
Rich and resonant. From 60-year-old vines bordering Preuses that Didier Séguier believes elevates quality toward Grand Cru level.

Les Preuses GC ($120/bottle) RP 93-94
Showiest of all Preuses, from two blocks at the lower and upper parts of the slope that lend both minerality and concentration.

Bougros GC ($120/bottle) RP 92-93
Holdings of almost 50% of the Grand Cru. Multifaceted, elegant, and long.

Les Clos GC ($130/bottle) RP 94-95+ SOLD OUT
Principally situated on the upper parts of the slope with more limestone soil. Textured and mineral-dredged.

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Posted on 2014.09.18 in Burgundy, France, Saturday Sips

 

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