Samuel Billaud, Chablis Premier Cru Vaillons Vieilles Vignes 2016 is no longer available

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Samuel Billaud, Chablis Premier Cru Vaillons Vieilles Vignes 2016

White Wine from France - Burgundy
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The 70-year-old vines from which the fruit here is grown produce balanced grapes and the resulting Chablis is ripe yet taut and fresh, with white-peach aromas. This wine is a Museum Release: thanks to our member-owned co-operative model, our buyers are able to buy wines to mature in the perfect conditions of our temperature-controlled cellars and release them when they are ready to enjoy.
is no longer available
Code: BU67221

Wine characteristics

  • White Wine
  • 2 - Dry
  • Chardonnay
  • 75cl
  • Drinking now
  • 13% Alcohol
  • no oak influence
  • Cork, diam

Chablis

Though it is nominally a region of Burgundy there are several factors that make Chablis a quite distinct wine style from its southerly neighbours. The first is distance, the vineyards here being more than sixty miles north of Beaune and separated from the rest of Burgundy by the Morvan Hills. The second is the soil which defines the amphitheatre of hills upon which the best sites lie. The Kimmeridgian clay, which the French call argilo-calcaire, is packed with marine fossils, which in this area sits atop limestone. Finally, and crucially, the climate is considered semi-continental, with no real maritime influence, and where winters are hard and very cold and summers generally hot. One of the biggest risks facing Chablis growers is frost which is a regular and damaging visitor. It is one of the key factors in determining how much wine will be made in any given vintage and most growers go to extraordinary lengths to protect their vines every spring, including heaters among the vines and ...
Though it is nominally a region of Burgundy there are several factors that make Chablis a quite distinct wine style from its southerly neighbours. The first is distance, the vineyards here being more than sixty miles north of Beaune and separated from the rest of Burgundy by the Morvan Hills. The second is the soil which defines the amphitheatre of hills upon which the best sites lie. The Kimmeridgian clay, which the French call argilo-calcaire, is packed with marine fossils, which in this area sits atop limestone. Finally, and crucially, the climate is considered semi-continental, with no real maritime influence, and where winters are hard and very cold and summers generally hot. One of the biggest risks facing Chablis growers is frost which is a regular and damaging visitor. It is one of the key factors in determining how much wine will be made in any given vintage and most growers go to extraordinary lengths to protect their vines every spring, including heaters among the vines and a spray system that coats the buds with water. The measures taken have meant that life for a Chablis vigneron is not quite the lottery it used to be, though there is much vintage variation still.

Chardonnay is the only permitted variety, though there are two schools of thought on how to treat it in the winemaking. Some seek the purest expression of the terroir and the fruit, emphasising the steely, mineral qualities, while others believe that a dash of oak after fermentation can add layers of flavour and complexity to the wine. Most producers eschew oak, and those that do use new barrels rarely use it without restraint.

As with the rest of Burgundy, a hierarchy exists to demarcate the best vineyards. Seven Grand Cru vineyards have been registered, all on the south-west facing slopes of the valley of the Serein river. Below this level are 40 Premiers Cru sites. The area that is permitted to produce Chablis AC and some Premiers Crus has expanded in recent decades, as frost damage has been contained, and this has caused some controversy despite arguments that the land newly planted was once Premiers Cru before phylloxera constricted the land under vine.

The local cooperative makes about a third of all Chablis, though more and more growers who were once committed to the co-op are now making wine for themselves, which has also led to a concomitant reduction in the number négociants.
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Samuel Billaud

After five years of legal wrangling 2/3 of Domaine Billaud-Simon was sold in August 2014 to Faiveley. From Samuel's 1/6 share of the property he has received 4.2ha of vineyards of the domaine from which he made wine in 2014. His sister obtained a similar amount of vineyard from her 1/6 share. 2/3 of the 20ha property was sold to Domaine Faiveley, including the buildings.

Samuel will continue the existing négociant business making a range of Chablis, premiers and grands crus. It remains to be seen whether he will bottle the domaine wines with the negociant ones or keep them separate.

Samuel makes precise, elegant Chablis aiming to transparently demonstrate the character of each vineyard. A small amount of oak, about 20%, usually in the form of a 500-litre demi-muid barrel, is used in the premiers and grands crus to open up the wine without marking it with oak.

Burgundy Vintage 2016

It is difficult to compare this special vintage with previous ones: the wines have the aromas of a cool year and the palates of a ripe one. Normally, wines with ripe palates will have less intense aromas, while aromatic wines can have excessive acidity or scratchy tannins. In 2016, we have all the benefits and none of the disadvantages. The only big problem is quantity: 2016 produced roughly half a normal crop due to a severe frost. What has been made, however, is exceptional.

Reds are pure, intense and exquisite, especially in the Côte d’Or, which had the best weather. Combine this with deep colour, ripe fruit, sweet tannins and a fresh finish, and one has something very rare. The ripe character and the quality of the tannins are remarkable.

There is some inconsistency in style – the frost damage is very variable, so that leads to great differences in yield and therefore ripeness – but quality is uniformly high, with medium to long-term ageing potential. An exceptional year.

The whites ...
It is difficult to compare this special vintage with previous ones: the wines have the aromas of a cool year and the palates of a ripe one. Normally, wines with ripe palates will have less intense aromas, while aromatic wines can have excessive acidity or scratchy tannins. In 2016, we have all the benefits and none of the disadvantages. The only big problem is quantity: 2016 produced roughly half a normal crop due to a severe frost. What has been made, however, is exceptional.

Reds are pure, intense and exquisite, especially in the Côte d’Or, which had the best weather. Combine this with deep colour, ripe fruit, sweet tannins and a fresh finish, and one has something very rare. The ripe character and the quality of the tannins are remarkable.

There is some inconsistency in style – the frost damage is very variable, so that leads to great differences in yield and therefore ripeness – but quality is uniformly high, with medium to long-term ageing potential. An exceptional year.

The whites have a similar blend of freshness and ripeness – traits that are usually diametrically opposed. To find them in the same wines is very unusual.

There is a little more variation in style and quality than for the reds. The Côte d’Or was the warmest region, while Chablis was distinctly cooler, with a rainy September, making bright, tense and classic wines. The Mâconnais, spared the frost, was successful too, but 1,500ha were damaged by hail in the south of the region.
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