Samuel Billaud Petit Chablis 2015
The new winery lies in the heart of Chablis and used to belong to Stéphane Moreau-Naudet. It is set up so that Billaud only needs to pump his wines once, then gravity does the rest. The rest of the facilities consist of brand new stainless steel tanks and underground storage for barrels.
The recently purchased hectarage includes land in the grand crus Les Clos, Vaudésir, Montée de Tonnerre, Mont de Milieu, Séchet, and in the village level vineyards Les Pargues and Chapelot, as well as a Petit Chablis parcel directly to the north of Les Clos. The 2015 vintage is the first for which he will have full control of the land for the entire year. He is also newly sourcing fruit from the grand crus Blanchots, Valmur, and Bougros. Due to his deep roots in Chablis, Samuel is able to purchase grapes from some of the finest, most well- established growers.
n the cellar, the premier and grand cru wines see about 15% new wood in the form of large 450 and 600 L barrels, which offsets any overt “oakiness.” The rest is fermented in small stainless steel tank.
The resulting range, from AC to Grand Cru, are layered wines rife with crunchy oyster shell and silex, and exhibit a range of flavor profiles from licorice to white peach to toasty baguette. This is top quality Chablis from a rising star producer – for white Burgundy lovers, these are not to be missed.
While there is not really anything small about Petit Chablis, it does categorically represent a “mini” Chablis in the sense that the wines are more approachable when young and not intended for long age. Petit Chablis is a perfect introduction to the Chablis style of Chardonnay—bright, racy, tactile, flinty, complex. But Petit Chablis won’t put you over budget and they are notoriously wonderful food pairing wines. Raw fish, oysters, grilled prawns, or any fish for that matter, as well as egg-based dishes, goat and soft creamy cheese and savory puff pastry tartlets will partner graciously with the floral, citrus and mineral notes of a Petit Chablis.
The term Petit Chablis actually refers to the wines made from Chardonnay grown in vineyards right outside of the borders of the Grands Crus and Premiers Crus, but still within the Chablis wine-growing district. In thte Petit Chablis areas, Portlandien soil dominates, a clay limestone soil similar to the prized Kimmeridgian (where the Grands and Premiers Crus Chablis vineyards lie), but geologically younger.
Petit Chablis are generally made without the use of oak barrels.
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.