2017 Droin Jean Paul Chablis Vaillons


91 points Wine Advocate

The 2017 Chablis 1er Cru Vaillons, a blend of fully five of Vaillons’s lieux-dits, exhibits aromas of lemon oil, pastry cream and anise. On the palate, it’s medium to full-bodied, saline and structurally open-knit, with a gently oak-inflected finish. This sees some 4% new wood.

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Open and approachable. This Chardonnay defines a new world fruit balanced by the structure of an old world style body and finish.!

This long-established domaine, amounting to some 26 hectares, is directed by 14th-generation vigneron Benoît Droin. Farming is conventional, but the soils are worked and their vitality prioritized. Harvest is early, and partially mechanized, followed by fermentation and élevage in stainless steel and wood, the proportions varying according to the cuvée. Most of the barrels are recently used, but some cuvées see as much as 10% new wood. Bottling, like the harvest, is comparatively early to lock in freshness and is preceded by a light filtration and sometimes a fining. These are concentrated but incisive examples of Chablis, sometimes marked by spicy wood influence in their youth—a quality for which I have an admittedly low tolerance—but generally integrating and harmonizing with bottle age, as a couple of notes on older vintages included in this report testify.


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