“Super” Premier Cru Chablis: Unoaked Chardonnay at its Best

Gautheron’s Chablis 1er crus are a masterclass in restraint.

The style of winemaking in Chablis is somewhat in flux these days. Recent hot summers in Chablis have meant a departure from the stony, crystalline expression of old. These richer, rounder wines can handle more oak, and some winemakers have extended their elevage, creating wines with richness and complexity to rival those of the Côte d’Or.

Not Cyril Gautheron. To him such wines may be tasty, but they’re not Chablis. Gautheron has doubled down on the classic style, dialing back his oak in some places, and relying solely on terroir and fruit for expression.

The results are magnificent. They may be a bit fleshier than a decade ago, but they’re just as fresh, well balanced, and stony.

Cyril farms a handful of plots at the premier cru level, scattered across the appellation. His vines in the premier cru “Fourneaux” are out the window of his domaine, up a side valley near his native Fleys. The plot is south facing with lots of sun, but high in elevation and steep, providing much-needed air flow and drainage.

The 2020 is terrific, with a very expressive nose – orchard fruits, lemon peel, and stones. In the mouth a mineral punch and notes of saline mix in with the lush fruit, making for a persistent palate and a long finish. Bill Nanson called it “really super,” we think the balance and tension are perfect.


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

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