A well made Chablis will have the kind of acid that’ll rip the tartar right off your teeth. With this dish I like a Chablis with some age on it. The 2006 vintage will still have impeccable structure with plenty of complimentary fruit notes.
Defaix’s family has been producing wine in and around this region since the 1500s. Defaix works almost exclusively with Chardonnay and his ample collection of Premier Cru vineyards are farmed entirely by hand and fertilized with natural compost and manure. It’s an ancient and devoutly traditional operation in the vines.
It’s also worth mentioning that his ~50-year-old “Vaillon” holdings lie in the heart of the original Premier Cru parcel, before the vineyard was expanded to include other microclimates. Still, I’d say that the most exciting and unique aspect of this property is what happens in the cellar. Over the last handful of centuries, the Defaix family has amassed a sprawling collection of Premier Cru acreage in Chablis—yet very little of the fruit it produces ends up in wine with a Defaix label! With 70+ acres of vines in the region, Daniel-Etienne oversees a ruthless triage (sorting) every harvest that banishes all but the finest, most pristine grapes to the négociant (merchant) market. Only a minuscule amount of peak-quality product remains for fermentation in the Defaix cellar.
Unlike so many other older white Burgundies in the market, there is no premature oxidation, no watery finish, and zero cracks in its foundation. As usual, it’s a bonafide masterpiece that will continue evolving for many years to come. In the glass, it reveals star-bright aromatics in the form of crushed yellow apple, pineapple core, salt-preserved Meyer lemon, lime blossoms, quince, crushed almonds, lees, honeysuckle, gardenia, pulverized chalk, seaspray, and bergamot orange zest. It’s beautifully layered palate is medium-bodied and intensely mouthwatering, thanks to surging waves of crushed-stone minerality.
– Ian Cauble, Master Sommelier & Founder of SommSelect