For some, today's newsletter may seem like deja vu as I have released "new" wines form this producer 3x thus far in 2022; seemingly a miracle as new releases tend to come out every 18 months or so. But so far last year, we have seen 2007, 2008, 2009 and for today, easily one of the best Chablis vintages in recent memory: 2010!!!!
For those who don't know the background: Today's producer, Etienne Defaix, doesn't seem to care about money. The vast, vast majority of wine producers in the world today get their wine out to the world as quickly as possible. In Chablis, for example, the 2021 vintage is just around the corner. To hold back a wine for more than that seems absurd. Well, what about 15 years? That would be loony house talk, right?
Etienne Defaix not only doesn't care about making a profit in the short term, but also takes a different philopshical approach to Chablis. Generally speaking, most Chablis is meant to be drank young, with some of the better premier crus and grand crus able to be held for 5 years+, but with preoxidation a concern, this is even becoming less popular.
Defaix's philosophy with Chablis is not to say that all Chablis needs 15 years of age to, but that Chablis, can if it wants to, age for that long or older and reach a dazzling array of heights and dimensions. Myself and others have been preaching about these for years, with only a few ears across the country listening. But those who do, can testify to the fact that there is nothing quite like these wines. The prices for the premier crus are the same if not cheaper than most recently released premier crus. And now, you will have the experience of trying a winewith some serious age, grace and style and, for the most part, pretty much guaranteed to not get preoxidation (I don't know why) as 2010 is supposed to be the breakout year for post-premox, but don't listen to me, just try some if you haven't already.
- Wine is Available for Shipment end of April
- 10% off any 6, 15% off any 12
- The Grand Crus are in short supply, choose wisely
2020 Etienne Defaix Chablis VV
Newsletter Price: $44.99
2010 Etienne Defaix Chablis 1er Cru Vaillons
This cuvée is sourced from vines the age of which is between 45 and 70 years. A wine of exceptional concentration for a village level appellation, this wine is always a true expression of the kimmeridgian soils that make Chablis so distinctive. Aged for thirty months before release, Defaix’s old vines Chablis is richly dense with a classic “pierre a fusil” bouquet and long mineral-infused finish.
Newsletter Price: $56.99Grapes are planted in a steeply sloped (28 degrees) hill in the original parcel of “Vaillon”» with a southeast exposure. The soil here is particularly influenced by iron deposits which yields a wine of fruit and spice and great density. The Vaillons is influenced by notes of “soubois” and, although lacking the elegance of its two companion 1er Crus, it is often the most generous wine of the domaine. The average age of the vines is 45 years.
2010 Etienne Defaix Chablis 1er Cru Les Lys
Newsletter Price: $56.99
Again, the vines here are from southeast facing slopes in a section of Les Lys known as “Clos du Roi” (effectively a monopole of the Defaix estate). The Defaix domaine owns 3.5 hectares of this 5 hectare 1er Cru. The resulting wine is long-lived and displays remarkable finesse and length, a classic Chablis. One often encounters the flavors and aromas of bergamot, acacia and honey in the Les Lys alongside a compelling freshness, a wine of excellent tension. The average age of the vines is 45 years. Daniel Defaix, the enthusiastic gourmand that he is, enjoys this wine particularly with scallops, lobster, line-caught bar and turbot.
2010 Etienne Defaix Chablis Grand Cru Grenouilles
Newsletter Price: $149.99
The smallest of the 7 grand crus,owned by only a handful of producers; Grenouilles is big in character with a fine balance of finesse and power. Think Preusses and Clos had a love child. The name of this Climat is quite explicit, for once. Grenouilles simply refers to certain well-known amphibians! Written evidence goes back to 1321, with the words "grenoille" or "gernoille". As the Serein runs just a stone's throw away, frogs no doubt frolicked around the nearby vineyards and came to keep the winegrowers company.
2011 Etienne Defaix Chablis Grand Cru Blanchot
Newsletter Price: $159.99
On a southeast slope of porous limestone soils, the grand cru of Blanchot produces a delicate, floral and forward Chablis. The wine is raised in the fashion of the domaine, which is to say, it spends an extended period of time on the lees (18-24 months) without the use of oak. It has a silky texture with elegant flavors of almond, honey and licorice and an attractive citrus and mineral finish.