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james suckling uncorked

Chilling Tales of Chablis


Posted: Feb 26, 2007 8:27am ET

I was happy enough this weekend to find a bottle of 2002 premier cru Chablis in the small cellar in my ex-wife’s house in Yorkshire. I was staying with my two children for a week there. I bought a case of the 2002 William Fèvre Chablis Vaillons back in 2004 and couldn’t wait to enjoy the wine with an array of British delights, particularly smoked salmon and potted shrimp. It was nice to drink some finally.

The wine was great on its own. It showed lots of honey, melon and mango with a citrus fruit undertone on the nose. It was full bodied, round and fruity with a bright, crisp finish and a minerally aftertaste. I like it better than the outstanding 2000 Vaillons from Fèvre.

Chablis remains one of the best values in high-class whites, in my opinion. And its bright and lively style goes with so many different foods. I have always loved the wines of Raveneau and Dauvissat but of late I have also liked those from Christian Moreau Père & Fils. Their 2002  Chablis Les Clos is fabulous. I bought some a few years ago driving from Geneva to Paris. Fèvre is also excellent and seems a little less woody than in the past.

However, beware when you buy Chablis. If you buy one in a green vintage, be ready for something chilling. A few weeks ago I bought a simple bottle of 2004 Chablis from Simonnet-Febvre and it was so acidic and citrusy that I thought I might have to have my teeth enameled the following day. I brought the bottle to dinner with a couple of friends at Nishimura, the high-class LA sushi house. The starlet I was with said she couldn’t drink the stuff and preceded to down a bottle of sake, while my movie director buddy ordered some red.  There were no wine Oscars that night. If only I had my bottle of Fèvre 2002 with me then …

David M. Henry
Mequon, WI —  February 26, 2007 3:42pm ET
The 2004 and 2005 Christian Moreau Chablis Villages are both excellent and modestly priced (about $18 each). I have, however, tasted a few other 2004 Chablis that are quite acidic. However, I think that at least some of them are sufficiently well-balanced that the fruit will eventually break though, resulting in a very enjoyable wine (e.g., the 2004 Seguinot-Bordet Chablis Villages). Given the quality of the Christian Moreau Chablis at the villages level, I am on the hunt for their 2004 and 2005 1er Cru and Grand Cru Chablis. I hear that Clive Coates has bestowed on Christian Moreau a high level of acclaim (something about being one of the ten best domaines in all of Bourgogne). While there may not be the history there to justify such high praise, Christian Moreau certainly seems to be a Chablis producer worth carefully watching.
Bob Golbahar
Los Angeles —  February 26, 2007 5:03pm ET
James, would have taught you would be at the Governors Ball last night with the starlet and then you could drink the good stuff..."Sterling Vineyards, the landmark Napa winery, will make its fourth consecutive appearance as the featured wine of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Governors Ball, the official party of the 79th Annual Academy Awards".

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