White, Ready, but will improve

2012 Chablis, Fourchaume, 1er Cru, Vieilles Vignes, Le Domaine d'Henri

2012 Chablis, Fourchaume, 1er Cru, Vieilles Vignes, Le Domaine d'Henri

White | Ready, but will improve | Le Domaine d'Henri | Code:  26531 | 2012 | France > Burgundy > Chablis > Chablis Premier Cru | Chardonnay | Medium Bodied, Dry | 13.0 % alcohol

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Scores and Reviews

WA

91/100

JANCIS - Berry Bros. & Rudd have assembled quite a collection of top-quality Chablis from the distinctly superior 2012 vintage. This one, with its smoky nose and tantalisingly massive juiciness and fruit seems one of the most exciting. No hurry to drink it. 
Jancis Robinson MW - Financial Times - December 2014

WA - The 2012 Chablis 1er Cru Les Fourchaume Vieilles Vignes is a little quieter on the nose than the more boisterous regular Fourchaume. Here, you have to eke out the aromas with notes of chalk and citrus peel developing in the glass in timid fashion. The palate is medium-bodied with fine acidity, a pleasant briskness here with great tension and an almost clinical, mineral-driven finish. Tasted twice both blind and then three weeks later at the domaine with Michel, this is a great Fourchaume.
Neal Martin - 28/08/2015

The Producer

Le Domaine d'Henri

Le Domaine d'Henri

Ancestors of the Laroche family owned vines in Chablis as long ago as 1695. Today, with Michel Laroche as patriarch, they are among the most respect winemaking dynasties in all France. Michel has steered a wise yet bold path since his first vintage in 1967. In 2010, he sold the family’s stake in Domaine Laroche, in order to establish a new, smaller, quality-oriented domaine, which he would name after his father, Henri. The winery at Domaine d’Henri may have been constructed from scratch, but a significant proportion of the domaine’s holdings is venerable. Of particular note are the eighty-year-old vines in the 1er Cru Fourchaume vineyard, which produce the cuvée known as Héritage.

Lutte raisonnée is the chosen ethos in the vineyard, while the objective in the winery is to allow each different terroir to express itself. Each parcel is therefore vinified separately, using only natural yeast. 10 and 35% of any given wine is aged in barrels depending on the vintage and cuvée – just the right amount to highlight, rather than mask, the startling purity of the domaine’s wines.

The Grape

Chardonnay

Chardonnay

Chardonnay is the "Big Daddy" of white wine grapes and one of the most widely planted in the world. It is suited to a wide variety of soils, though it excels in soils with a high limestone content as found in Champagne, Chablis, and the Côte D`Or.

Burgundy is Chardonnay's spiritual home and the best White Burgundies are dry, rich, honeyed wines with marvellous poise, elegance and balance. They are unquestionably the finest dry white wines in the world. Chardonnay plays a crucial role in the Champagne blend, providing structure and finesse, and is the sole grape in Blanc de Blancs.

It is quantitatively important in California and Australia, is widely planted in Chile and South Africa, and is the second most widely planted grape in New Zealand. In warm climates Chardonnay has a tendency to develop very high sugar levels during the final stages of ripening and this can occur at the expense of acidity. Late picking is a common problem and can result in blowsy and flabby wines that lack structure and definition.

Recently in the New World, we have seen a move towards more elegant, better- balanced and less oak-driven Chardonnays, and this is to be welcomed.

The Region

Chablis Premier Cru

Chablis Premier Cru

Chablis Premiers Crus are stylish, minerally wines which, typically, are less intense than the Grand Crus but finer and longer-lasting than basic Chablis. They are highly underrated with the better examples outclassing many a good village white Burgundy.

The vineyards cover 750 hectares, scattered across 15 communes on isolated slopes with good exposure. There are 17 principal Premiers Crus but in total 79 vineyards are eligible, with most of the lesser-known ones using a more familiar umbrella name on their label. The best flank the Grands Crus on the north bank of the River Serein, like Montée de Tonnerre (probably the best of all), Fourchaume and Mont de Milieu.

Those just south of Chablis, like Vaillons, Montmains (especially Les Forêts) and Côte de Léchet are also good. With the vineyard area having doubled since the 1970s, quality varies enormously so, as ever, the producer is key.

Styles also vary, with some maturing and fermenting in stainless steel for a purer, more minerally style, while others age and sometimes even ferment their wines in oak for extra complexity.  The best examples reach their apogee at eight to 10 years, but are normally enjoyed long before then.

Recommended producers: Jean-Claude BessinBillaud-SimonSéguinot-BordetJ.-P. & Benoit DroinDuplessisDefaix

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