Posts Tagged ‘chablis’

What are the odds of tasting three faulty wines in the space of a week?  One was in a pub/restaurant where I just thought the wine was crap but it was only after I had left that I started to think about what might have been wrong with the wine. Another I bought in a good independent wine shop and the final wine was one that I regularly drink. Apart from being oxidised the other common denominators were that they were all chardonnay and all from Burgundy – albeit one from Macon and the other two were Chablis.

I tend to drink Chablis regularly so am attuned to the taste and profile, what I found most surprising was that in the space of a week a wine that I had regularly tasted up to that point was still fresh with good fruit and indications that it would last another year or 2. Now it may be that I was unlucky and that other bottles of the same wine will be ok but it has made me change my preference for a particular Chablis producer

There has been much discussion about prematurely oxidised Burgundies or premox if you like. The alledged causes vary from lowered sulphur levels, corks to battonage – especially extensive stirring of the lees after malolactic fermentation.

The main detectable fault for oxidised wine is the darker colour, the sherry nose and the flavour of bruised apple. With age this is what can happen to wine anyway; it is a problem when the wine should have potential to age.

Here is a Chablis that is not oxidised and one which is fast becoming my new favourite. Drouhin Reserve de Vaudon 2008. Typical Chablis flavours of citrus and green apple, but soft as it has been aged 12 months in oak – none of which is new. Available is most good independent off licences and wine shops


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Diacetyl is a compound formed during malolactic fermentation. This ‘fermentation’  (bacterial action actually) reduces the acidity of wine and gives nutty and caramel flavours to the wine. A lot of wines undergo malo but sometimes the level of diacetyl is too high and it can actually spoil the wine imparting intense buttery flavours. I am coming across this more frequently in Chablis these days. The buttery flavour actually masks the primary fruit flavours of the wine. When faced with high natural acidity  some producers fear that the consumer will not enjoy these wines therefore they reduce the acidity with malo and sometimes to the detriment of the wine. Chablis is meant to have high acidity as this is part of its style and profile. Unfortunately this is just another case of wine being dumbed down for the consumer and ruined for the amateur.

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fevre chablis 2007 copy

William Fevre are synonymous with making excellent wines and their reputation is well deserved. The Champs Royaux are select parcels that come from some of their own vineyards and grapes that are bought in by Fevre separately. This is a step up from their entry level Chablis and is treated in the same manner as their Premier Cru wines. The must is  fermented in stainless steel and 10% is aged in French oak barrels, presumeably old ones.  2007 has been hailed as a classic Chablis vintage with minerality, linear fruit and a good dose of acidity. The high acid is not as prevelant due to the percentage of oak treatment that softens out the acid. I tasted the basic Chablis in June and there is a marked difference between the two wines in terms of acidity. The Champs Royaux is an excellent wine and at €18.99  ( Redmonds of Ranleagh) represents great value when you consider most Premier Cru are above €20.

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