Simonnet-Febvre Chablis 2009
The Maison & Domaine of Simonnet-Febvre were founded in 1840 by Jean Febvre, a barrel maker by trade from the town of Montbard. In the early days, the house was known for its sparkling Chardonnays from Chablis, known today as Crémants de Bourgogne. Over the years, the Febvres acquired holdings in some of the greatest terroirs in Chablis. Today, the domaine comprises approximately 9 acres, crowned by a 2/3 acre plot in the Grand Cru vineyard of Les Preuses, with 3.5 acres of 1er Cru Mont de Milieu and 4.7 acres of communal Chablis vineyards. In 2003, Simonnet-Febvre was acquired by Maison Louis Latour. Since its purchase, the Latours have completely renovated the winemaking facilities, installing new stainless steel tanks and pneumatic presses. The vineyards have been reworked with the same sustainable vineyard practices utilized in Latour’s 125 acre domain in the Côte d’Or. Maison Louis Latour also hired a talented new winemaker, Jean-Philippe Archambaud.
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.