The Essence of Chablis: Pure, Unoaked Premier Cru White Burgundy

Cyril Gautheron’s 2020 premier cru Chablis is a masterpiece.

More than anywhere else in Burgundy, winemakers in Chablis have felt the impact of recent warm vintages. Earlier harvests and more sun exposure have meant riper grapes and wines with fleshier, richer textures. This style of Chablis can support more oaking, and some winemakers have begun to increase the exposure to oak barrels.

Not Cyril Gautheron. His commitment to original Chablisien style is unwavering, and even today’s premier cru, bursting with an extra dose of citrus fruit and energy, is 100% stainless steel. Gautheron’s 2020 Chablis 1er Vaucoupin is pure, shimmering, and unadorned — a modern Chablis in a perfectly classic style.

Gautheron’s vines here are 50 years old, and produce intense concentrated juice. The clay-rich, south-facing soils produce a wine that Cyril somehow manages to reign into a neat, precise package. We found a terrific blend of fruit, freshness, savory herbs and minerality, with a hint of saline on the finish. Bill Nanson found “saline-edged citrus complexity. Chablis pure!”

Oaked whites and raw fish don’t get along well, but that’s no concern here. Pair this with tuna tartare, crudo, sushi, or – most perfectly – raw oysters. Or a lobster bisque and a fresh spring salad.


Gautheron Chablis 1er “Vaucoupin” 2020
bottle price: $39

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