Alain Gautheron Chablis Montmains Vieilles Vignes Premier Cru 2019
The old vines (as they often do) produce a remarkably rich and intense wine. This cuvée unlike most of the others spends a bit of time in oak barrels, but that doesn't get in the way of the wine's racy tropical fruit and minerals. An impressive effort from this young winemaker and this classy Chablis cru.
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Domaine Gautheron is situated in the village of Fleys, to the east of the town of Chablis and overlooked by the steep slopes of les Fourneaux. This estate of only 25 hectares has been in the Gautheron family for five generations. The domaine makes traditional Chablis, with fermentation and maturation avoiding wood to preserve the fresh steely flavours and unique influence of the chalky vineyard soils. The old vine cuvees exceed 65 years old and are partly matured in oak. Since 2009 a 0.4ha plot of organic vineyard has produced the cuvee Emeraude.
The source of the most racy, light and tactile, yet uniquely complex Chardonnay, Chablis, while considered part of Burgundy, actually reaches far past the most northern stretch of the Côte d’Or proper. Its vineyards cover hillsides surrounding the small village of Chablis about 100 miles north of Dijon, making it actually closer to Champagne than to Burgundy. Champagne and Chablis have a unique soil type in common called Kimmeridgian, which isn’t found anywhere else in the world except southern England. A 180 million year-old geologic formation of decomposed clay and limestone, containing tiny fossilized oyster shells, spans from the Dorset village of Kimmeridge in southern England all the way down through Champagne, and to the soils of Chablis. This soil type produces wines full of structure, austerity, minerality, salinity and finesse.
Chablis Grands Crus vineyards are all located at ideal elevations and exposition on the acclaimed Kimmeridgian soil, an ancient clay-limestone soil that lends intensity and finesse to its wines. The vineyards outside of Grands Crus are Premiers Crus, and outlying from those is Petit Chablis. Chablis Grand Cru, as well as most Premier Cru Chablis, can age for many years.
One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it is grown and how it is made. While it tends to flourish in most environments, Chardonnay from its Burgundian homeland produces some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. California produces both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines. Somm Secret—The Burgundian subregion of Chablis, while typically using older oak barrels, produces a bright style similar to the unoaked style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy Chablis.