The Somm Journal

Dec 2015-Jan 2016

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Page 89 of 124

{ }  89 Climats There is no specific order in which to taste or rank the wines from the various Climats, and so taking a geographical approach is as good as any other. Most northerly of the Left Bank Climats is Beauroy. Its wines have an immediately like- able and more fruity character than some other Climats that have a more full-on minerality. Beauroy , they say, exercises the palate rather than the intellect. Moving south we come to the Côte de Léchet, where the day started—very stony ground that leaves a distinctly flintly note in the wines. Next comes Vaillons. On its steep, sunny slopes the grapes are often harvested early and the wines are richer and fruitier on the nose than many others. These are wines that are not typical of Chablis when young; their minerality only comes out after a few years. If, by now, you are feeling more at ease with the idea of Climats, Vaillons will have you guessing again because Vaillons is what is called a porte-drapeau (flagship) and within Vaillons there are in fact seven other Climats. If a winemaker's vines are in one of those seven Climats, he or she has the option of labelling the wine with the name of the smaller Cimat, or of using the flagship name Vaillons. The same holds true for the next Climat, Montmains a mere 200 metres away, but less steeply sloping which accounts for later harvests, a paler color and a different balance in the wines. Montmains is also a porte-drapeau and includes two other Climats: Butteaux and Ls Forêts. Crossing to the right bank we find more Chablis Premier Cru Climats. To the north is Fourchaumes, the largest and perhaps the best-known of all the Chablis Premier Cru Climats. It comprises four separate Climats, including the intriguingly named L'Homme Mort (Dead Man) and Vaulorent, which is quite often marketed under its own name. In general Fourchaumes grapes ripen well and produce wines that are easy to drink, albeit with slightly less tension. Further south lie Montée de Tonnerre, the most mineral of all the Chablis Premier Cru wines, Mont de Milieu and Vaucoupin with its saline and exotic fruit character. Chablis Grand Cru seen from Les Preuses, with Vaudésirs directly ahead, Valmur in the middle distance right, beneath the trees, and Les Clos to the far right in the distance. Fourrey Chablis 1er Cru Côte de Léchet. Domaine Long-Depaquit Chablis Grand Cru Moutonne. La Chablisienne Chablis 1er Cru Vaulorent.

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