Billaud-Simon Chablis Les Clos Grand Cru 2020  Front Label
Billaud-Simon Chablis Les Clos Grand Cru 2020  Front LabelBillaud-Simon Chablis Les Clos Grand Cru 2020  Front Bottle Shot

Billaud-Simon Chablis Les Clos Grand Cru 2020

  • JS96
  • JM95
  • D95
  • BH95
  • V92
750ML / 13% ABV
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  • BH94
  • JM94
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750ML / 13% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Elegant, pale golden color with greenish glimmers. The delicate nose offers mineral, honeyed notes combined with citrus and white stone fruits. The palate is powerful, dense and fleshy with a lively acidity. Mineral and saline notes linger on the finish.

Pair with filet of John Dory with chervil butter, spicy cod loin, or tiger prawns flambé.

Critical Acclaim

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JS 96
James Suckling

So cool and delicate, so deep and refined, this Chablis Grand Cru is only just beginning to open up and display its fabulous elegance. Very precise and filigree palate that doesn’t even reach the upper end of medium-bodied, because this kind of chardonnay doesn’t need volume to impress. Such an incredibly elegant finish that pulls you back for more.

JM 95
Jasper Morris
Made from purchased fruit. Mid lemon yellow, lightly grilled hazelnuts, pyrazines, some oak in this which may contribute. The wine behind has plenty of energy but doesn’t compete with Preuses for overall excellence. Still, fine long and ripe with a smoky bacon finish.
Barrel Sample: 92-95
D 95
Currently showing a bit more oak, this has plenty of weight on the palate. A little more heft than this producer’s Les Preuses, but likely to be more popular. Impressive but, for me, not their top 2020. Sappy on the palate, casks were used here for fermentation and malolactic.
Barrel Sample: 95
BH 95
Subtle but discernible wood blends with ripe yet cool aromas of overtly floral lemon-lime, quinine and oyster shell .The sleek, intense and powerful big-bodied flavors manage to retain a highly appealing refinement along with plenty of minerality that seems to build from the mid-palate to the bitter lemon suffused finale. This could use better depth yet, much like the Valmur, there is sufficient structure and balance to allow this to age well for years.
Barrel Sample: 92-95
V 92

The 2020 Chablis Les Clos Grand Cru comes from a single parcel replanted around 2017, so this particular vintage comes from an exchange of fruit (the first harvest will be in 2022). Aged 50% in used barrel, it has a light flinty bouquet that opens nicely in the glass. The palate is well balanced with an edgy opening, fresh and flinty with more substance and grip on the finish compared to the domaine's other crus. Very fine.

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Billaud-Simon, France
Billaud-Simon Sorting at Harvest Winery Image

Domaine Billaud-Simon was founded in 1815 by Charles Louis Noël Billaud upon his return from the Napoleonic Wars. He planted vines on his family holdings, which were later expanded through the marriage of his relative Jean Billaud to Renée Simon in the 1930s. Situated behind high walls near the river Serein, the winery is now helmed by Jean’s son, Bernard. Known as one of the top producers in Chablis, Billaud Simon’s 20 hectares include vineyards in 4 of the 7 Grand Crus: Blanchots, Les Clos, Les Preuses, and Vaudésir, and four leading Premier Crus: Fourchaume, Mont de Milieu, Montée de Tonnerre, and Vaillons. They also make AC Chablis of exclusively from estate fruit in the Kimmeridgean soils surrounding their 1er and Grand Cru vineyards.

At the age of 18, Bernard Billaud left Chablis for Paris to study fine art. He made a successful career in communications consulting, while continuing to find time for his artistic pursuits of painting, sculpture and jazz music. Eventually however the family biz siren song lured him back to Chablis in 1991 where he made it his mission to ratchet up the quality of the wine. He wanted to produce classically styled, ethereal Chablis of delicacy.

Bernard completely overhauled the winery at Billaud-Simon, installing a pneumatic press, all new tanks, and the most modern fermentation equipment available. Although they now have state of the art technology, they maintain an important balance with traditional practices. This includes the use natural yeast for fermentation, and natural advancement into malo. Most wines are vinified and matured in stainless and don’t see any wood. There are two exceptions: Premier Cru Mont de Milieu Vieilles Vignes and Grand Cru Blanchots Vieilles Vignes, which each see some large oak. Light fining and filtration result in Chablis of elegance, purity, balance and freshness. They are delicious when young, and even more beautiful with age.

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Burgundy, France

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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.

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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.

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