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January 18, 2022updated 02 Nov 2022 12:14pm

2020 Burgundy: Chablis tasting notes

By Sarah Marsh MW

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.”

More in this series

2020 Burgundy: Classic wines from an extreme season

2020 Burgundy: A guide to the sub-regions and villages

2020 Burgundy: Côte de Nuits tasting notes

2020 Burgundy: Côte de Beaune tasting notes

2020 Burgundy: Côte Chalonnaise, Mâconnais, and Beaujolais tasting notes

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.

Domaine Vincent Dauvissat

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.

Petit Chablis

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

Chablis

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

Chablis Premier Cru Forêts

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

Chablis Premier Cru Montée de Tonnerre

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

Chablis Premier Cru Séchet

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

Chablis Premier Cru Vaillons

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

Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos

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

Chablis Grand Cru Les Preuses

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

Domaine Laroche

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.

Chablis Saint Martin

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

Chablis Premier Cru Butteaux

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

Chablis Premier Cru Léchet

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

Chablis Premier Cru Montée de Tonnerre

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

Chablis Premier Cru Montmains

It has a snappy bite on the attack. Punchy and more austere. A firm palate with fresh, earthy minerality. Grippy wine. 2024–30. 88

Chablis, Premier Cru Vaillons Vieilles Vignes

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

Chablis Premier Cru Vaudevey

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

Chablis Grand Cru Les Blanchots

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

Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos

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

Domaine François Raveneau

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.

Petit Chablis

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

Chablis Premier Cru Butteaux

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

Chablis Premier Cru Montée de Tonnerre

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

Chablis Premier Cru Vaillons

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

Chablis Grand Cru Blanchots

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

Chablis Grand Cru Valmur

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

Domaine Simonnet-Febvre

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.

Chablis D1840

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

Chablis Premier Cru Montmains

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

Chablis Premier Cru Mont de Milieu

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

Chablis Premier Cru Montée de Tonnerre

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

Chablis Premier Cru Vaillons

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

Chablis Grand Cru Les Preuses

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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