On the Trail

A Quick Trip Through Chablis

Trey Beffa

Chablis is an easy region to get to after flying into Paris, so long as you can navigate around the city without incident. We did quite well on our last trip over, despite the nearly ninety minutes it took getting around and pointed in the right direction. Once on the open road it is a straight shot south for about an hour or so and you are there. Alex and I were pretty excited. It was his first trip to the region and I had not been for a dozen years. Our first stop was a late Sunday appointment with Louis Moreau. We tasted through some of his 2014’s, which tasted clean and fresh after the long journey.

After our rather quick tasting through the numerous selections, and friendly visit down in the cellar, we headed for Hostellerie de Clos: a well known hotel and restaurant in the heart of Chablis. The hotel was very comfortable and the restaurant was perfect for what we were looking for. It is always best to not have to drive anywhere for that first night in France after flying in. I am a huge fan of walking back to your room after dinner. Obviously, as expected, the restaurant had a really cool wine list with a bunch of older Chablis vintages from a wide range of producers. We enjoyed a 2013 Billaud-Simon Chablis 1er Cru "Montée de Tonnerre" and a bottle of 2009 Jean Grivot Chambolle Musigny “Combe de Orveaux” over oysters and other local fare. Again—being within walking range of our hotel was key to whole experience.

Our first stop the next morning was at Jean-Paul & Benoit Drion's property. The Droin family is among the oldest in Chablis, its members having been wine growers for nearly five centuries.  In 1999, the youngest son, Benoit, took over for his father as chief winemaker and we met with him upon our arrival. Tasting through his lineup of 2014's, which were quite impressive, it became instantly clear that 2014 will be a vintage to buy. Benoit believes these wines will age very well, so make some room in your cellar. The acidity is generally very high across the vintage and the wines show structure, balance and depth. Our next and final stop in Chablis before heading south to Burgundy was at Domaine Vincent Dauvissat. Similar to Raveneau, sourcing the wines from Dauvissat is the biggest problem. The wines are amazing, with laser focus and precision, but these are wines to age. I thought is was interesting that the 2013 Petite Chablis he showed us was being poured from a bottle opened 10 days before. It was still fresh as could be.

Chablis is one of the few places left in Burgundy where great, age worthy, and serious wines with complexity and depth can still be found with relative ease and for prices that are still reasonable. Needless to say, it won't be another twelve years before we head back. For the sake of our own cellars and those of our customers, we expect to increase our business in the region as 2016 continues on. 

-Trey Beffa