Chablis’ Secret Star

The superb 2014 Chablis vintage gave the appellation’s best producers the chance to produce wines for the ages.
Burghound’s Allen Meadows cites 2014’s “excellent transparency to the underlying terroir,” and Neal Martin their “killer nerve and tension,” summing the year up as “one of the best Chablis vintages I have ever tasted.”
Needless to say, Chablis' top small growers took full advantage of this great year, but they weren’t the only ones. The exemplary grower’s association—La Chablisienne—also made wines that are the very definition of Chablis’ weightlessly intense and profound minerality.
Cases in point are two of La Chablisienne’s elite grand crus, the 2014 Les Clos and Valmur. Both wines are packed with all of the singular chalk-laden power, nuance, grace and potential for long life that is the birthright of their ideally south-facing, steep slope of pure Kimmeridgian rock.
Here is the chance to experience these storied terroirs in a top vintage, in wines that are of both quintessential character and great value.
The “Produttori” of France
La Chablisienne was founded in 1923—a time of crisis in Chablis—to assure a future for its small growers. It not only became the appellation’s principal producer, it created a legacy of quality for a grower’s association virtually unique in the world of wine.
Today, among the world’s wine cooperatives, only Piedmont’s Produttori del Barbaresco is more famous for the quality of its wines. Yet, La Chablisienne’s track record is even longer, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the region’s best for nearly a century.
La Chablisienne accomplishes this through complete dedication to quality; while today they work with the fruit from some 300 growers, vinifying an astonishing quarter to one-third of Chablis’ annual production, only the cream—about 10%—goes into bottle under their name.
And the crème de la crème are La Chablisienne’s Grand Crus. Just as some of Chablis’ best growers do, directeur Hervé Tucki fermented the 2014 Les Clos and Valmur in neutral barrel. This was followed by 20 months aging on the lees, in both barrel and tank, for an ideal harmony of aromatic complexity and honeyed texture, with fresh precision and chiseled minerality.
As the prices for the top growers’ Chablis continue to skyrocket, La Chablisienne’s 2014 Les Clos and Valmur are something that is increasingly rare: great expressions of two of the appellation’s most hallowed terroirs at very reasonable prices. Get them while you can.

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