By Sarah Marsh MW | January 18 2022
Sarah Marsh MW continues her coverage of the 2020 Burgundy vintage with detailed tasting notes on the wines of Chablis, a sub-region that enjoyed “a very good year.”
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These tasting notes represent a selection from many hundreds of wines tasted. I look for quality, typicité, and wines that I enjoy, but this is not a definitive wish list. You can be sure there are good wines from the following producers that are not included. My tasting notes are snapshots taken from late October to late November 2021, toward the end of élevage when the wines are still evolving, and this is a vintage that needs time. Most whites will benefit from a little fining to sharpen the profile, and the reds from natural refining in tank after racking. Don’t underestimate the significance of the finishing processes to the final polished presentation of the wines.
Precise and edgy wines that combine delicacy with intensity and have a remarkable capacity to age. The 1985 Séchet is still toasty, nutty, and invitingly fresh, while 2001 Clos is positively youthful, with remarkable vibrancy and fruitiness—and all this from a modest vintage.
The vines come from a parcel above Les Clos on the plateau behind the wood. Delicate and high-toned, with a light and fine thread of acidity. Swift, straight palate with salty notes. Spot-on. 2022–26. 84
The vines are on the opposite slope to Les Forêt, facing northwest. It’s a serous village wine, with tension, tight edges, and good intensity. Focuses on a savory, mineral finish. 2023–28. 86
A more upright aroma, with a hint of tarragon. This has compact energy. Umami notes. It is the most exuberant wine in the flight but still holds back more than it gives. There is tension. I like the brightness and the lean, dry, salty finish. A touch of aniseed–bitterness carries the end of the palate. 2024–30+. 93
A warmer aroma than the Vaillons, with golden fruit and a touch of spice and honeysuckle. Vivid, juicy splash on the attack, with a deeper mid-palate, where both cold and riper notes are layered. It has a darker, savory feel and a slightly smoky, fresh-earth character on the finish. 2024–35+. 93
Delicate lime-zest and grapefruit aroma. Highlights of white flowers. Tight, straight, and energetic, this truly has a keen and bright line. Light touch of lime mid-palate. Finishes nervous and high-toned, with shivering, dry, and frosted minerals. Love it. 2023–35. 92
The soil is deeper here and the slope steep. A more expressive and fruitier aroma, with white peach and a hint of mint. Smooth and silky on the front palate. Lightly rounded, with a delicate, plump generosity. More depth and it pushes on the finish, where the minerals are smoother and sweeter than Séchet’s. 2024–35. 92
Much more compact than the Preuses. Deep, densely layered, and full-bodied, it flexes with svelte muscularity. The volume and richness contrast with a cold austerity which cuts under the palate and pushes on to the finish. Powerful, straight, and persistent. It is restrained and contained. Nothing flashy here. 2026–40. 95–96
Savory almond richness, with notable concentration on the nose. Certainly, a step up in concentration for the grands crus. Golden deliciousness and plump. It’s seductive but maintains its poise and ripples onto a silken, golden line. A generous, scented quality carries the long and lingering finish. 2026–40. 94–95
Grégory Viennois, technical director, remarked: “The revelation came after the malolactic. The wines had incredible energy, which I could not have expected when we harvested.” Grégory works with the skin of Chardonnay to great effect and speaks more like a red-winemaker. Good terroir definition here.
Creamy, rich aroma. Nicely rounded and gentle with apple blossom and white peach on the mid-palate and a fresh and lightly mineral finish. 2023–25. 82–83
Apple-blossom aroma. Vibrant freshness. This lively and translucent wine has a fresher breeze than the Montmains and is underscored with cool minerals; just smoothly chalky to finish. 2024–28. 88
Light litchee aroma. Nippy and bright onto the palate. A hint of graphite. It has lively freshness and light body. Sharply crisp and pure. 2024–28. 87
Upright aroma with anise and flinty notes. Excellent focus. Straight and taut. Savory, with silex smokiness. It races home on fine and dry salinity. 2025–30. 90
It has a snappy bite on the attack. Punchy and more austere. A firm palate with fresh, earthy minerality. Grippy wine. 2024–30. 88
Fragrant and peachy, lightly creamy and softly rounded. It is harmonious and flowing, threaded with freshness to a flowery finish. Just a touch of soft salt at the very end. A delicate and charming Vaillons. 2024–28. 88
Zesty grapefruit and lemon aroma. It is high-toned and pure, with slightly minty, tarragon notes. Whips across palate. Straight, with a lively, fresh bite. 2023–26. 86
A bouquet of spring flowers. Full but gossamer-light palate. Charming and graceful, with a fine line of minerality and freshness which carries the lingering finish. A silver thread of cool minerals. Very refined. This really showcases the terroir. 2024–30+. 93
Punchy aroma, almost medicinal, with notes of licorice. Compact, rich, and layered. There is tannic bite. I like the grip and strict freshness and the powerful finish. 2025–35. 93
Bernard Raveneau’s daughter Isabelle now manages the domaine with her cousin Maxime. Isabelle commented, “The wines shows the ripeness of an early vintage and the purity of good grapes.” Fermentation and malolactic take place in stainless steel vats before moving to barrel for a year. Bottling in April. The wines have notable depth and intensity.
Younger vines planted in 2010 on the plateau above the grand cru. Lively floral aroma, with bright sherbet-citrus on the palate and a mineral top-note. Racy and fresh Petit Chablis. Available only in magnum. 2024–28. 84
High-toned aroma; white and pithy. The attack is slightly austere. It fizzles, catching the mineral tension and carrying to a piano-wire finish. Swift and breezy wine, with icy, chalky minerals. Pacy. So stylish. Love it. 2024–35+. 92–93
From as many as ten different parcels, this represents one third of the estate. A southerly exposure, but not a warm wine. It is straight and punches with smoky minerality. Notes of mint and oregano. A touch of the garrigue. A vigorous palate, with a long and sappy finish. Channeled and supremely savory. 2025–40. 93–94
White-peach aroma, with exuberant floral tones. Juicy, rounded, and just lightly luscious but not rich. It stretches out elegantly into a fresh, delicate, and focused finish. This finish is pure with a warm, soft luster to the minerality. 2024–30+. 91–92
The vines are east-facing, right at the top of the climat, and they are the oldest vines of the domaine. Exotic aromas, with litchee and rambutan. A ripe but somehow delicate glide onto the palate. It gathers tension and precision on the mid-palate, sharpening and intensifying. A vibrant and singing mineral persistence. Vivid and refined, with a tantalizing vibration. 2025–35+. 94–95
Deep but reserved aroma. The palate is dense, compact, and layered. Grippy. There is concentration but no hint of richness or largesse. Sternly hewn. A serious cut of austerity carries the muscular persistence. 2027–40. 95–96
Simonnet-Febvre has 47 acres (19ha) of its own vineyards, and many of the wines selected are domaine. Managing director Paul Espitalie is steering the sourcing of fruit to organic producers. “It was a surprise to have this dry style with nice acidity in this vintage,” he remarked.
This domaine parcel is located in La Bas de Chapelot. Lightly tropical aroma with a richly juicy and rounded palate. This has plenty of structure for a village wine, a crisp line of freshness and a dash of salt to finish. Most appealing. 2023–26. 82–83
A domaine parcel in the Fôrets subdivision. The ripeness of the vintage on the attack, quickly focused into a clipped, straight palate, vibrant with fresh earthiness. Shows good tension, savory bite, and smoky minerals at the end. 2024–28. 88
Candied citrus and fresh ginger. Rich but not exotic. Smoothly rounded and plump but retains elegance. It shows slippery, sunny minerals and a light, almond-kernel bitterness to finish. Very harmonious. 2024–28. 87
Compact, dense palate. Attractively austere, with a cold, sappy edginess. Grip and a fresh, tannic bite. Bunched energy. This has structure and pushes into the finish. 2024–30. 88–89
Peachy, tropical aroma. Juicy and rounded. The ample body showcases ripe fruit and soft, glossy minerals smoothly entwined. Quite forward upfront, but with a fresh, wet-stone finish. 2023–28. 85–86
Half was aged in three-year-old barrels from Louis Latour, which has its own cooperage. Rich and glossy up-front. Silky and generous, with a glimmering of white flowers. Displays delicacy and a supple slipstream of freshness and minerality. A lingering finish, with fine, powdery minerals on the well-sustained finish. 2026–30+. 92
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