Chablis, Vaillons, 1er Cru, 2017

  Domaine Pattes Loup

Chablis, Vaillons, 1er Cru

A classic example of Vaillons – silk, citrus and flowers. Perhaps not the out and out intensity of Thomas’ other Premiers Crus, but charming for its sheer beauty and fruit expression. A satin like texture cloaks some beautifully detailed, scented flavours of fresh cut flowers, yellow fruits and citrus blossom. Aged in a mixture of used demi-muid barrels and steel tanks for two years.

Contains Sulphites.

About Domaine Pattes Loup

Growing up surrounded by a vigneron father and grandfather, Thomas Pico discovered a passion for vine-growing at an early age. After completing his viticulture and oenology studies in Beaune, he returned to the family Domaine, Bois d’Yver, in 2004. In 2005 Thomas took back 8 ha of vines from the family domaine for himself and also began planting his own vines on the lieu-dit Pattes Loup, after which his domaine is named. The first bottled vintage under the Domaine Pattes Loup label was 2006. Today, based in the village of Courgis, Thomas organically farms 25 hectares of vines. A meticulous, nature first, approach in the vineyard together with a style of thoughtful, unrushed winemaking unique in Chablis make for some of the most complex, pure and lively wines in the region. The Domaine was certified organic in 2009. The whites are fermented and aged in a mixture of used oak fut, demi-muid, concrete and steel tanks depending on the cuvée and vintage. The wines undergo a long, slow ageing of between 12 to 30 months, again depending on vintage and cuvée, before bottling. The later bottlings of Butteaux and Chablis Vent d’Ange spend a year in used oak fut and two years in tank. These are brilliant wines of texture, nuance, vibrancy and purity, quite unlike anything else in Chablis.

Appellation: Chablis

Chablis is Burgundy's northern most region spanning 3,000 hectares centred around the town of Chablis itself in the départment of the Yonne near Auxerre. Though considered part of Burgundy, in terms of geography it is as close to Sancerre and Pouilly Sur Loire as it is to the Côte d'Or, and in terms of soils and climate is actually closer. The vineyard area rolls around Chablis itself and 19 other villages. There are four levels of wine: Petit Chablis; Chablis;Chablis 1er Cru and Chablis Grand Cru, the latter of which there are seven which sit prominently above the town of Chablis itself on sun-blanched south-facing slopes.

Soil is a very important factor in the quality and unique style of Chablis and can roughly be divided into two types, firstly Kimmeridgean. This is a kind of clay limestone with a large proportion of fossilized oyster shells. Chablis is on the edge of the Paris rock basin the other side of which is the Dorset village of Kimmeridge from which the soil takes its name. The other soil type is Portlandien, a similar clay limestone structure without the same complexity, giving wines of slightly less sophistication and finesse. The former is the base of the Grands Crus and all of the best Premiers Crus and Chablis Villages vineyards, the latter, generally speaking, is the base for most of the outlying Petit Chablis area.

The northerly climate obviously means that vintages can vary quite starkly, summers are mostly hot and sunny, though, with the variation in weather coming more into to play towards the end of the season. The greatest danger during the season is from frost, which can be devastating, so much of the vine-growers early season activity is spent devising ways to protect the vines. One of the more traditional is lighting "smudge pots" throughout the vineyards, in an effort to get warm air circulating around the vines. The quantity and quality of wine produced can therefore vary from year to year. Chablis is obviously a large area and now a very big commercial brand so there are swathe's of rather poor quality and not very good value example around. Fortunately though there are plenty of fine examples, too. At its best Chablis is a unqieuly steely mineral wine that can age extremely well. "Classic" Chablis as we know it today is aged and fermented in steel tanks. However there are a number of growers experimenting with oak, mainly used barrels, not to give any oak flavour to the wine but to improve its texture and complexity. These can make for some of the very finest examples of Burgundy there are. Some of the finest exponents are Vincent Dauvissat, Francois Raveneau, Laurent Tribut, Droin and Moreau Naudet.

Grape Type: Chardonnay

Chardonnay is one of the most widely-grown and versatile of all white grape varieties. As a relatively neutral grape, it offers a near transparent map of winemaking style, climate and terroir. It is the ideal grape variety for Burgundy, where it serves to mirror the complex nuances of the myriad of terroirs found in this hallowed land. Chardonnay produces a variety of wines from the minerally and unoaked styles found in Chablis, the fatter nuttier examples in Meursault, to the tropical fruit-driven versions found in the New World. It is also the major grape variety in Champagne, where it produces lively floral wines, namely in the Côte de Blancs. It can be found throughout Europe and the New World thanks to its versatility. As a non-aromatic variety, it has an affinity with oak, whether new or used, French or American.