Chablis 2016 by Allen Meadows
2016 Domaine Billaud-Simon Petit Chablis
A whiff of exotic fruit marks the nose that consists mostly of white orchard, floral and soft citrus scents. There is both good punch and volume to the lemony flavors that flash a subtle touch of minerality on the ever-so-slightly warm finish. To drink young.
2016 Domaine Billaud-Simon Chablis
(from 11 parcels scattered around Chablis, the most notable of which are from Les Pargues). This is aromatically similar to the Petit Chablis though there is both a bit more volume and complexity to the succulent and notably round middle weight flavors that are delicious if not exactly classic. This too should drink well young.
2016 Domaine Billaud-Simon Chablis Tête d’Or
(from 2 parcels situated in the villages portion of Chapelot). A discreet application of oak sets off the slightly more layered aromas of white peach, algae and lemon peel. The marginally bigger and richer flavors possess a succulent mouth feel while delivering a bit more overall depth and length on the somewhat firmer finish.
2016 Domaine Billaud-Simon Chablis 1er Cru Les Vaillons
(from Séchet, Roncières, Châtains, Mélinots and Vaillons proper). A cooler and less obviously exotic nose blends notes of pear, iodine, grapefruit and admirably subtle wood influence. The finer if slightly less concentrated middle weight flavors possess better cut and minerality on the nicely focused finale. This isn’t quite as powerful as the Fourchaume but the overall sense of balance and proportion is superior.
2016 Domaine Billaud-Simon Chablis 1er Cru Mont de Milieu
(from 4 different parcels of 35+ year old vines). Like the Fourchaume the aromatic profile is fairly exotic with its array of honey, orange peel, white peach and soft wood notes. There is notably more volume and midpalate density to the seductive, even opulently textured flavors that coat the palate with sap on the caressing finish where the balance is saved by a moderately acidic spine.
2016 Domaine Billaud-Simon Chablis 1er Cru Montée de Tonnerre
(from a 2.5 ha parcel of 35+ year old vines – two thirds of the blend is from Chapelot and the remainder is from Pied d’Aloup and Montée de Tonnerre proper; the Pied d’Aloup vines were planted in 1935). This is also aromatically ripe and cool with its more elegant nose of apple, white flowers, tidal pool and a hint of baked bread. The textured, refined and classy medium weight flavors ooze a discreet bead of minerality on the delicious and more vibrant finish that is agreeably dry.
2016 Domaine Billaud-Simon Chablis 1er Cru Fourchaume
(from a .25 ha parcel in Vaupoulent). Here the nose is overtly exotic with notes of melon, white peach and honey along with barely enough Chablis character to be convincing. The textured, concentrated and powerful medium-bodied flavors possess good punch on the noticeably warm and slightly rustic finish. This could easily pass for a chardonnay from the Côte d’Or as it’s very heady.
2016 Domaine Billaud-Simon 1er Cru Vaulorent
An appealing touch of mineral reduction adds a bit of breadth to the cool aromas of pear, citrus rind, seaweed and iodine. Like the Mont de Milieu there is impressive richness and volume to the sappy and equally succulent flavors that are borderline creamy on the sneaky long finish. This is certainly pretty but it’s almost too rich and as such I suspect that it will be better drunk in its youth than aged for more than a year or two.
2016 Domaine Billaud-Simon Grand Cru Les Preuses
(from a .41 ha parcel of vines planted in 1952). I very much like the admirable purity of the more elegant and airier aromas of essence of pear, apple and citrus that are also liberally laced with enough classic Chablis nuances to be persuasive. The palate impression is definitely bigger and richer than usual as there is excellent power and density to the punchy flavors that deliver very good if not truly exceptional persistence. Solid quality here.
2016 Domaine Billaud-Simon Grand Cru Les Clos
(from a .44 ha parcel of vines planted in 1966). This arguably possesses the most Chablis typicity of any of these 2016s with its notably cool array of iodine, oyster shell, mineral reduction and lemon rind. The rich, concentrated and muscular flavors are big and bold yet somewhat finer than those of the Valmur, all wrapped in a saline, mineral-driven and sneaky long finish where the citrus element suggested by the nose reappears.
2016 Domaine Billaud-Simon Grand Cru Les Blanchots
(from a small .18 ha parcel of vines planted in 1971 that directly abut Les Clos; note that one of the few changes that Faiveley has made to the winemaking style involves radically reducing the oak program for this wine which prior to the sale was notably generous; from yields of only 15 hl/ha in 2016). Reducing the wood doesn’t mean eliminating it as there is noticeable oak influence on the ripe, pretty and relatively elegant white orchard fruit, mineral reduction and seashore scents. There is fine volume to the caressing full-bodied flavors thanks to the ample amount of dry extract coating the palate on the more intensely mineral-driven finish. At present this needs to develop more depth to merit the top end of my predicted range but it may well accomplish that in time.
2016 Domaine Billaud-Simon Grand Cru Bougros
Somewhat surprisingly, this possesses better Chablis typicity than the Montée de Tonnerre with its iodine, oyster shell, lemon rind and ripe pear aromas. There is excellent richness and concentration to the broad-shouldered flavors that exhibit plenty of power and muscle on the lemon and saline-inflected finale. This is a solid if not truly special effort in the context of the appellation and vintage. Note that at least some patience will be required.
2016 Domaine Billaud-Simon Grand Cru Valmur
A smoky green fruit nose is more obviously endowed with classic Chablis elements that include sea breeze, oyster shell and iodine. The rich and overtly powerful big-bodied flavors possess evident muscularity before culminating in a surprisingly rustic finish where noticeable warmth emerges. Solid but not exceptional.
2016 Domaine Billaud-Simon Chablis Grand Cru Vaudésir
(from a .71 ha parcel). Here the expressive nose is at once ripe and exotic yet quite fresh with its layered array of citrusy white and yellow orchard fruit compote laced with hints of mineral reduction and saline hints. There is exceptional richness to the notably rich and almost unctuous big-bodied flavors that possess a finer mouth feel as well as
more evident minerality on the sappy, balanced and lingering finale.