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Chablis – Les Preuses
Grand Cru White 750 ml
Tasted: Oct 15, 2018
Note: from a .41 ha parcel of vines planted in 1952
Producer note: Régisseur Olivier Bailly, who works under the direction of Jérome Flous, the technical director for Faiveley, described the 2017 vintage as one where “once again we were hit by April frost damage and in particular on the lower slopes. Otherwise the growing season was easier than 2016 and in particular because we didn’t have the same level of mildew pressure and just as importantly, we didn’t have nearly the same degree of sunburned fruit. Bud break occurred early on as did the flowering. However, as is often the case in vintages where there is early season frost, the damaged versus undamaged vines progressed at two difference rates which obviously caused some complications in terms of picking fully mature fruit. We chose to begin the harvest on the 7th of September in Vaillons and picked 6 days. While on average we brought in yields that averaged 32 hl/ha, that figure disguises matters considerably as some parcels were down as much as 90% whereas others gave us normal volumes. Even more unfortunately, the worst hit were our grands crus which were down fully 55%. One positive in this though was that the parcels that were the worst hit in 2017 were not the same as those damaged in 2016. Potential alcohols were good at around 12.5 to 13% and acidities were good as well as the post-malo pHs came in between 3.2 and 3.3. As to the wines, I think that they are extremely promising because they’re purer than their 2016 counterparts with good freshness and concentration. I also find them a bit less austere than the 2014s but with the same classic Chablis elements.” The 2016s revisited below were bottled between November 2017 and February 2018. I note for the benefit of readers that the Petit Chablis, Chablis and Tête d’Or wines are bottled under the Diam brand composite cork. Everything else is bottled under natural cork. In terms of the harvest, the Petit Chablis and Chablis vines are picked by machine and the others are harvested manually. Lastly, the old vines cuvée of the Mont de Milieu will no longer be bottled separately. (Frederick Wildman, www.frederickwildman.com, NY, USA; Bancroft Wines, www.bancroftwines.com, Goedhuis & Co., www.goedhuis.com and Charles Taylor Wines, www.charlestaylorwines.com, all UK; and Altaya Wines, www.altayawines.com, Hong Kong).
Tasting note: I very much like the purity of the more elegant and airier aromas of essence of pear, apple and citrus that are laced with enough classic Chablis nuances to be persuasive. The palate impression is definitely bigger and richer than usual as there is excellent power and density to the punchy medium weight flavors that deliver very good if not truly exceptional persistence. What this needs to be at the next level is better depth though I point out that the underlying material is good enough that could happen.