There are a lot of wine cooperatives in France, some of them good, some of them bad. One of the best is to be found in Chablis. This cooperative is called La Chablisienne and you will find the wines of La Chablisienne easy enough, as the cooperative is responsible for about 25 % of the total Chablis production. We have always appreciated the wines from La Chablisienne and a visit there recently again confirmed the quality of the wines. Actually they even tasted better than a few years ago.
300 wine growers belong to La Chablisienne and they get advice and help from the wine makers and the oenologists from the cooperative in order to produce fine and healthy grapes. “It is important to work together” says Hervé Tucki, a so called ambassador of La Chablisienne. “Our vision of Chablis”, Hervé continues, “is classical, we want our wines to show the minerality. We do not vinify a Chardonnay wine, we vinify a Chablis. Chardonnay is everywhere, Chablis is only here…
“Chablis can be a bit austere”, says Hervé, “not so friendly, to begin with. It needs time to develop and it has a long life after the initial primary fruit aromas have disappeared.”
La Chablisienne uses some oak, often 20-30 % of the wine spends time in oak barrels. The use of oak in Chablis is controversial, Hervé however, says that because they never bottle their wines early the oak has time to integrate and it does not mask the minerality.
Tasting of vintages 2009 and 2008
Both 2009 and 2008 were great vintages with a very good grape maturity. However, they were very different. 2008 was colder than 2009 and had less problems with botrytis (the north wind, a good treatment against botrytis, also helped). “We could pick perfect grapes in 2008”, says Hervé, “with good freshness and with richness and acidity in balance”.
2009 was hotter and the wines have less acidity and are more powerful than usual.
Petit Chablis 2009
“To understand Chablis you should always start a tasting with Petit Chablis”, says Hervé. “Pas si Petit” (not so small) is the name of this Petit Chablis, and it is a good name. Just because it is a Petit Chablis, it does not mean that it is a simple wine. This one has a lovely Chardonnay nose; it is unpretentious but very pleasant to drink. “This is the most Chardonnay like wine that we produce”, says Hervé.
Chablis La Sereine 2008
Good acidity and pleasant citrus aromas. 20 % of the wine has spend time in small oak barrels, no batonnage though (stirring of the lees). “We prefer a static ageing on lees, instead on a dynamic one”, says Hervé. Bottling 15 months after harvest. “We love long ageing; it gives less fruit, but more structure.”
Chablis Les Vénérables 2008
Made from a selection of old vines. 30 % in oak, the rest in stainless steel tank and bottling after 18 months. A classic Chablis with freshness, minerality, complexity and length.
Chablis 1er cru La Singulière 2008
Blend of grapes from both sides of the river Serein. A lot of citrus on the nose and on the palate, quite full bodied with a pure and fresh taste. And marvellous after taste.
Chablis1er Cru Côte de Léchet 2008
From the left bank of the river, close to the village of Milly. Made from old vines. Beautiful minerality, sharper than la Singulière (and less citrus).
Chablis 1er cru Montmains 2008
This well known premier cru is also on the left bank. Quite steely and very classic Chablis. Good balance between body, acidity and aromas.
Chablis 1er cru Fourchaume 2008
Fourchaume is on the right side of the river. It is a powerful wine, tasty and with all elements in harmony. It is already very elegant but it will keep for 10-20 years. The terroir will be more obvious after a few years, says Hervé.
Chablis 1er cru Mont de Milieu 2008
Mont de Milieu is quite close to the Grand Cru slope. It has a very good southern exposition and the grapes ripen easily. The acidity is a bit sharp but there is a certain softness in the aftertaste. The wine is pure and elegant with a subtle minerality.
Chablis 1er cru Montée de Tonnerre 2008
Powerful and full bodied wine with a flinty taste and with citrus aromas mainly in the aftertaste. “Very sophisticated minerality”, says Hervé.
Château de Grenouille 2008
Grenouille is the smallest of the seven Chablis Grand Cru. La Chablisienne owns a big part of it – 7,2 hectares out of 9,2 in total. It is a beautiful wine with an incredible length and a creamy structure. But the acidity is there and the freshness and the purity. “One of the best wines we have ever made”, says Hervé.
Chablis La Singulière 1991 ended our tasting and it shows that a Chablis can age wonderfully for at least 20 years. The aromas change but this wine is amazingly well kept with only a hint of dried fruit and honey. And the crispy acidity – the sign of a good Chablis – remains.
We have talked a lot about minerality! Do you want to know more about how La Chablisienne explains minerality? Visit their website http://chablisienne-com.blogspirit.com/ and click to the right on ”Minerality of wine according to La Chablisienne”.
And if you are interested to learn more about Chablis wines you can come on one of our wine tours.
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