Why is this Wine so Yummy?
Back in the early naughties, we were hoovering Chablis from the early 1970’s. When the Tsunami hit, wheelbarrows of Grand & 1er Cru’s were arriving from the auction at houses at around $14 a bottle. By the time it receded, they were up at a round $40 a bottle and still a bargain. Purity, complexity, amazing texture, lovely lines of acid were the hallmarks of these incredible wines. Testut et Fréres Grenouille featured! Such a great vineyard.
People often cite Domaines Raveneau and Vincent Dauvissat as the two greatest exponents of Chablis, however, I would like to add a third – Domaine Jean-Paul & Benoît Droin. Over the last five or six years, Benoît Droin has really ratcheted up the quality. I cannot exaggerate how often Droin’s wines end up the best of the flight during the annual “Burgfest” blind tastings. Again and again, they shine against stiff competition. It is time to accept that Droin is now one of the leading producers in Chablis. Neal Martin
The 2017 Vintage at Droin
“It was easy and difficult,” Droin replied when I enquired about the 2017 growing season. “It was difficult because we had the problem with frost. We lost a lot in the Right Bank, especially Vaulorent and Montée de Tonnerre and in the Grands Crus. We had frost, but we protected the vine. Even in our parcels of Grand Cru, the weather was very cold for two weeks, while the nights were on the limit for frost, which made it difficult for the vines to grow. So with the cold conditions, the grapes didn’t form and we lost a lot of production [known as “vrille”]. Sometimes you would have one bunch instead of two or three. After that, for me it was a perfect vintage with respect to the vegetative cycle. We had good temperatures, never too high or low, not too dry or wet. When it was hot we had rain, but not too much. I don’t like vintages with excessively high temperatures or too much rain, but in 2017 the maturation came naturally and maintained the tartaric acidity. So the grapes were perfect. I remember it was the first time in 20 years that I smelled the juice before pressing and it was so wonderful. We started the harvest on 2 September. In the end, it was such a pity to have such a small crop. That’s the difference with 2016. In 2016 the hail and frost affected Petit Chablis and Chablis. In 2017 it is OK for Petit Chablis and Chablis and not so good for the Premier and Grand Crus. In 2017 we lost around 50%, nearly the same as in 2016.”
The 2017s are incredibly exciting across the board: Chablis as it ought to be – full of tension, steely, poised and intense. The wines continue to represent outstanding value. Neal Martin
Can 2017 be considered a truly classic vintage in terms of terroir dictating the order of quality? Droin’s 2017s certainly sang this tune. Tasted from tank just prior to bottling, the wines were uniformly great; it was a tasting in which every single wine performed exactly to script. They communicate a fundamental understanding of each parcel while offering incredible value and enjoyment from Petit Chablis right the way through to the Grand Cru Les Clos. Nick Stock
Chablis Geology & Geography Explored
Detailed Map of Chablis
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