Vincent Dauvissat Chablis La Forest 2005
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
While much commercial Chablis is utterly predictable, Vincent Dauvissat's old-fashioned, artisanal wines are anything but: their phases of evolution and the way they respond to oxygen are unlike almost anything else in the region. The 2005 Chablis 1er Cru La Forest proves that point perfectly. On opening, mature aromas of honeycomb and marzipan suggest the wine might be tiring, but the longer the bottle is open, the younger the wine seems, its bouquet segueing into a mélange of citrus oil, dried white flowers and oyster shell, relegating those notions of honeycomb and marzipan to the background. On the palate, the wine is medium to full-bodied, satiny and enveloping, with a powerful, layered core that's structured around notable dry extract and ripe but tangy acids, concluding with a long, beautifully defined finish. As the wine ages, it is more marked by producer and vineyard than it is by its vintage signature, which is another recurring theme when tasting Dauvissat's wines.
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.