Tuesday, February 8, 2011

CHABLIS....WHITE BURGUNDIES TRUE EXPRESSION....Day 3 by Philip S. kampe

CHABLIS, I was told by DANIEL-ETIENNE DEFAIX of Chablis Defaix is defined by his mentor, his Grandfather, as, "THE WINE THAT IS IN-BETWEEN THE SKY AND THE SOIL". After spending several hours with Daniel-Etienne Defaix and sampling his complete Chablis Portfolio, I must agree.

My CHABLIS journey began early with a wonderful regional French breakfast at my hotel, HOSTELLERIE LES CLOS (highly recommended) on Rue Jules Rathier in Chablis http://www.hostellerie-des-clos.fr/ .

My schedule read like a book:

9a.m.
Visit and tasting at Maison LAROCHE http://www.larochewines.com/ . I was met by Winemaker DENIS de la BOURDONNAYE and was given a tour of the XIII century wine making facility. The LAROCHE Family has been making and producing Chablis since 1850. Their headquarters, once an abbey, houses a wooden screw type wine press from the 1300's, which is still in use, thanks to 5th genertion Michael Larouche's restoration skills. The LAROCHE family vineyards occupy over 250 acres, home to their award winning Chablis portfolio.

10:30am
Visit and tasting at Domaine Daniel-Etienne DEFAIX http://www.chablisfaix.com/ . Daniel-Etienne DEFAIX is credited with establishing wine-tourism in the town of Chablis. Twenty-five years ago he established the first vineyard driven retail shop in the center of Chablis, which promotes the wines from his vineyard. The following year, twenty other vineyards followed his idea and opened shops in chablis, thus creating a center for wine-tourism. Daniel or Etienne, as he likes to be called, follows his family's 18th century winemaking philiosophy.

12:30pm
Lunch at Restaurant Au Vrai Chablis with three other British journalists. We exchanged stories while eating local cuisine--Coq au Vin, paired with a Chablis Premier Crus.

2:00pm
Discovery of vineyards in 2CV...the heart of Chablis with ERIC SZABLOWSKI http://www.aucoeurduvin.com/ . Eric is one of those special types of people who stands out in a crowd. His wine knowledge and love of the terroir is mind shattering. We waundered through the vineyards, rock by rock. Eric explained that the SOIL is what Chablis is all about. This was the common thread amongst today's visit with the winemakers. If the soil is healthy, the wine will be healthy. Limestone, with fossils and oyster shells make the wine what it is today. We visited several plots, learned about the subsoil and vineyard history a la Eric's incredible details. We entered Eric's World for the journey, a 1981 2CV CITROEN, and drove with windows open and the top down to Eric's favorite vineyard, FEVRE, for a wine tasting.

3:00pm
Visit and tasting at Domaine Gilles et Nathalie FEVRE http://www.nathalieetgillesfevre.com/ . The FEVRE family began several centuries ago in the heart of Chablis producing eceptional wines. Today, Gilles is in charge of the vineyards and Nathalie takes care of the winery. The cellar is composed of small thrmo-regulated stainless steel tanks in order to vinify each parcel seperately.

4:30pm
Visit and tasting at Domaine Jean-Francois BERSAN http://www.domainebersan.com/ . Jean-Francois BERSAN is a lucky man. His wine cellar is from the XII th century. It is like an underground city that leads to six kilometers of tunnels, once used to hide from enemies, centuries ago. Today it is a wine cellar, complete with several thousand year old marble wine crushing stations. The labyrinthine houses Sean-Fancois's Saint-Bris grape varieties. Like father, like son, Pierre-Louis is following in his father's footsteps and will soon be the 25th generation wine maker in the BERSAN family.

8:45pm
Dinner at Le Bistrot des Grands Crus with Chablis Commission Vice President, Jean-Francois BORDET and Celine BOCARD-Gueguen of Jean-Marc BROCARD.

As you can see, Day 3 was an overly busy day.
More to follow on each vineyard and wine tasting in day's to come.

CHABLIS RULES!!

PHILIP S. KAMPE

philip.kampe@thewinehub.com
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