Gilles and Nathalie Fèvre met at university where they both qualified as oenologists. Gilles’ great grandfather began growing grapes and making wine in and around the village of Fontenay-Près-Chablis over a hundred years ago.
Today, they own 40 hectares of vines – all planted on Kimmeridgian limestone – throughout the region. The vines are mainly aged between 25 and 35 years although some date back to when Gilles’s greatgrandfather ran the domaine.
Gilles is in charge of viticulture. The finest possible grapes are grown with a fastidious, environmentally conscious approach to quality, lower yields and scrupulous selection. Nathalie oversees winemaking, where small, temperature controlled stainless steel tanks are used to vinify each parcel separately.
The wine is aged on its lees for 12 months – 85% in steel and 15% in old oak.
The resulting wines are beautiful expressions of classic, fine, concentrated, pure, steely, minerally Chablis.
Alain Gras has long been acknowledged as the pre-eminent vigneron in Saint-Romain – a village of wonderfully sited vineyards and a greater proportion of limestone than any other commune in Burgundy. It has also benefited greatly from recent climate change – meaning that previously overly cool sites, due to their high altitude, are now routinely achieving full ripeness and physiological maturity.
His stunningly situated domaine comprises 12 hectares of Saint-Romain (8ha planted to Chardonnay and 4ha to Pinot Noir). He has 42 separate parcels in all, but prefers blending the grapes from the individual sites to ensure complexity and consistency. The Saint-Romain Blanc, from vines which average 40 years old, displays an impressive ripe core of white stone fruits, expressive minerally, elegance, finesse and tingling acidity. After a gentle pressing, it is vinified in a combination of 80% stainless steel and 20% new oak and bottled after 11 months.
There are presently 26 restaurants in France with 3 Michelin stars and Alain’s wines are listed in 21 of them.
Jean-Marc is the fourth generation of this branch of the Pillot family to be in charge of this excellent, 10 hectare domaine. He took over the reins from his father Jean in 1991 and is assisted by his wife Nadine and sister Beatrice.
The white wines of the domaine mature quickly and are at their peak 3-4 years after the vintage.
Ripe fruit is set off by a wonderfully elegant mineral core. The use of wood is restrained.
Jean-Pierre Latour has 10 hectares under vine in Meursault. Wonderfully sited vineyards, low yields, brilliant winemaking and no fining or filtration, make this one of the most exciting domaines in the village at present.
The Meursault Cuvée Charles Maxime (a blend of Les Vireuils, Les Corbins and Les Pelles) is plump, rich and generous, fermented and matured in barrel (around 1/3 new) for 15-16 months.
Domain Ballot-Millot is a 12 ha., family estate located in the heart of Meursault and now run by the young and talented Charles Ballot.
All the wines are barrel fermented, with around 25% new oak.
His Meursaults are chiselled, fine, pure and minerally – top class wines from a talented young vigneron.
Their village Meursault is from a total of just under 2ha of Chardonnay vines with an average age of 33 years. Dry and creamy, the nose has aromas of almond, hazelnut and butter. The palte is rich and generous with ripe fruit, taut minerality and butter and vanilla flavours from the oak.
Sylvain Bzikot’s grandfather arrived in the village of Puligny from Poland just before the start of WWII with pretty much nothing to his name. Over the years, however, the family has acquired four hectares of vineyards within the Puligny-Montrachet appellation and a further nine hectares of Bourgogne.
Pale straw yellow in appearance, the nose is rich and buttery with plenty of ripe melon notes and a touch of oak. The palate is full and rounded with layered fruit supported by integrated oak, fresh acidity and a good mineral backbone.
Moreau’s “Vaudésir” is from vines aged between 40 and 65 years old.
Fermentation is is stainless steel and 65% of the wine stays in steel whilst the remaining 35% is aged in oak – 90% is 1-3 year old wood and only 10% is new. This gives a very restrained expression of oak – it seasons rather than flavours.