2007 Defaix Chablis

 
Does it get any better than Chablis? 

Seriously,  does Chardonnay take on the face 
of it's terroir anywhere else in the world better than in Chablis?  It's that Kimmeridgian soil, literally a dried up seabed, ridden with seashells and fossils (see pic above), and a layer of limestone, that give Chablis it's unmistakable identity.  There have been many wines that have left an imprint on me through my now 20 year wine career, and Chablis, along with the greats like Barolo, Burgundy, German Riesling, Champagne--are at the forefront.  The precision, sheer power, clarity of yellow fruits and white flowers, the saltiness, the mouthwatering minerality--all key components in a good Chablis.  Of course, producers make wines in all styles--some a little more oak, some all stainless, some more lees stirring and concentration.  But no matter what, when you drink a good Chablis, it is almost impossible to not have that hallmark Kimmeridgian soil and Chablis terroir stamped all over your wine. 

Chablis can express Chardonnay like no other place on earth. "With its extreme northern latitude and its distinctive soils, rife with the fossilized shells of an ancient sea whose bed transformed into Chablis’ best vineyards, Chablis at its best is a triumph of terroir over grape variety." 

It's extremely rare that we get to offer old vintages of Chablis, but for years now, the Defaix Family has held back a portion of each vintage of their wines for future release.  They are one of the only Domaines to do this. It's no secret that the goal of every Chablis collector is to cellar their bottles for years, and when its done for you, in the caves of Chablis, we can only expect greatness.

The defaix family has been in the region of Chablis since the 1700s--one of the oldest grape-growing families in the region. Daniel calls himself “Le Dernier des Mohicans” (“The Last of the Mohicans”), as they are one of the few families left who long-age their Chablis before release.  This was common practice in days of old, but is now the exception. The Defaixs owns thirty hectares of vines, mostly in premier and grand cru vineyards,  their best lots each vintage only bear the premier cru classification.  Any premier cru lot that that does not meet their standards for cru, are declassified as their villages bottling. All of Defaixs wines are fermented with naturally occurring yeasts, and can last upwards of 4-6 weeks.  His cellars are so cool, that it can take up to a full 2 years for full fermentations to complete.  Lees contact is extended, longer than anyone, as Daniel knows this contributes to the generous textures to his wines.  Rather than filtering, Daniel takes the extra time for his wines to clarify in tank naturally, another exception in the region, in which heavy filtering can be commonplace.

Young Chablis can be delicious, but it is only with age that it can attain its true character. it is a rare treat to have access to such powerful expressions of a singular terroir released at the perfect stage of their development—and at prices that are unheard of in Burgundy today.

The aged Chablis wines from Defaix are some of the most sought after wines we offer, and come and go once per year very quickly.  It seems the world has caught on to what tremendous values these wines really are.