From €8, $16.99, £14.95, AU$40
It may not have escaped your notice that all four of us in the domestic JR.com team – Julia, Tam, Richard and me – have devoted most of this week to either writing or uploading tasting notes on 2014 burgundies. Although our alphabetical tasting articles have slipped down apparently out of view on our home page, they are constantly being updated, and that will continue next week too. Please use the links given in our guide to 2014 burgundy coverage.
Our London tastings have confirmed what I tasted in Burgundy in November: that the whites are the stars. This also applies to the best-value white burgundy of all, Chablis. I am constantly amazed by how much less expensive top-quality Chablis is than its Côte d’Or counterparts.
One of the current star producers of Chablis is Samuel Billaud. Purple Pagers can read what he had to say about recent Chablis vintages, and tasting notes on his wines, when he came to show off his 2014s in London last June. The 2014 vintage is outstanding in Chablis and producers are confident that it will join other classic, long-lived vintages such as 2008 and 2012.
Two of the finest examples of 2014 Chablis to be shown this week were made by Adhémar and Francis Boudin (pictured above by Jon Wyand), and shown at Lea & Sandeman’s tasting on Monday at the new wine club 67 Pall Mall.
I particularly loved Dom Adhémar et Francis Boudin, Fourchaume Premier Cru 2014 Chablis , whose intense aroma, a heady quitessentially Chablis infusion of stony river bed with a hint of wet wool, came soaring out of the glass so that I smelt it almost from across the room. This was already delicious but I’m sure it will become even more so over the next decade – and the price seems almost ridiculously low.
The only other wine of theirs I have been able to taste was from their other premier cru, Dom Adhémar et Francis Boudin, Homme Mort Premier Cru 2014 Chablis that is perhaps a bit more typical of the vintage and much more tightly wound. I would keep this another two to four years before broaching it. (Incidentally, the style of the wines could not be less like that of a boudin, blood sausage when black.)
I have not tasted their regular Chablis 2014, to which the prices above refer, but their Fourchaume 2014 is only £3 more than the regular Chablis at Lea & Sandeman, making it £17.95 for a bottle of the most energetic, exciting and approachable Chablis you could imagine.
I’m delighted to see how widely distributed Boudin Chablis is in the US. (Note that this domaine, now run by Francis rather than his splendidly named father Adhémar, is also known as Domaine de Chantemerle .) The wines are also available in Australia and, of course, France.
Lea & Sandeman is the only UK retailer cited by wine-searcher.com. Here’s what they have to say about the Boudins:
Domaine Adhémar et Francis Boudin, also known as Domaine de Chantemerle, has supplied L&S since our very first list. Adhémar, now 92 [Charles Lea admits he's a bit behind the times; Adhémar is now 95], is a well-known personality, never short of a story. He was in the leading group of the pioneering growers who cleared scrub and planted some of the original Chablis vineyards. It was hard, and he only stopped keeping cows alongside ('if you didn't have a cow or two you died of hunger') in the mid 1950s. It is astonishing to think that the premiers crus were only defined in 1975.
Adhémar was the first to bottle the macabrely named 'Homme Mort' Premier Cru separately (it is usually sold as part of la Fourchaume) after a geologist confirmed his belief that it closely resembled the soil structure and exposition of the grands crus. The name is as a result of the discovery, when the vines were originally planted, of the body thought to be that of an English soldier from the Hundred Years’ War.
Francis Boudin continues to make wines that are, for Chablis, rich and yellow gold, fatly concentrated, unoaked and pure, with a mildly buttery edge rounding out that minerally, stony ethereal Chablis character. These are wines which can be consumed with enormous pleasure in their first year after the harvest, or kept (even the simple Chablis) for several years.