• Alexander Smith

The pure expression of Chardonnay - Chablis - What is there not to love?

Chardonnay does not get purer than Chablis with its energy, tension, and purity of fruit, this is Chardonnay like nowhere else in the world. I always wonder if I could only drink one style of white burgundy what it would be; and Chablis is always at the top of the list.

Jean-Paul & Benoit Droin wines are benchmark in Chablis. Their wines are super focused, pure and true to the climat they originate from. Benoit Droin is now running the show. He owns 26 ha of vines, they work with organic viticulture, use mainly stainless steel tanks with a little new oak. The only change which Benoit Droin did when he took the helm was to use native yeast. Finally, a point which is very important to me; All wines are sealed using DIAM corks.

I was recently able to taste through five of their climats including; two Premier Cru climat and three of their Grand Cru climat. All showed a wonderful expression of the terroir they originate due to minimal cellar intervention. Tasting notes can be found below, however both their Droin Les Clos 2017 (96 points) and Droin Montée de Tonnerre 2017 (94 points) were highlights of the tasting. Droin Vaudesir 2017 (95 points) also had a strong showing.

See my full tasting below:

Jean-Paul & Benoit Droin Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos 2017 - 96+ points

Soil is of Kimmeridgian origin, there is quite a bit of up slope erosion where the soils are more pebbly and calcareous, while lower down they are deep and more clayey. In the middle, a band of blue clay is found. 9k bottles are produced form these 40 year old vines. This is such a fantastic representation of Les Clos and what I believe the only true GC of Chablis. Aromas of Quince, stone fruit, white pepper, eucalyptus, fennel and white florals. The palate has so much energy and excitement, this is such a multidimensional and complete Chablis with a wonderful richness of orchard and stone fruit, spices and bright streaks of minerality which rush through the palate. I liken this wine to a racing car with it's energy and persistence which is brought together and finishes layered focuses and extremely long. 96+

Jean-Paul & Benoit Droin Chablis Grand Cru Vaudésir 2017 - 95 points

Located on Kimmeridgian limestone Marl this climat has a steep slope, north/South Amphitheatre. The age of vines were at 35 years. There are around 6k bottles produced. This had subtle aromas of citrus peel, white peach, oyster shells, herbal notes and crushed stones. The palate was electric and energized with bright fruit, quince, stony characteristics which had continuous energy that raced across the palate, so much tension! This lead to a highly focused and wonderfully lingering finish.

Jean-Paul & Benoit Droin Chablis 1er Cru Montée de Tonnerre 2017 - 94+ points

West facing with 50 year old vines producing 9.5k bottles located on shallow soil made up of pebbly limestone, microscopic fossilized oysters, blue clay steaks. Aromas consisted of being quite aromatic, with white stone fruits, white florals, crushed stones and a little smoke. The palate starts with great energy with bright acidity,rich stone fruit, sweet spices, flint and crushed stones fade which leads to a focused, slightly lingering finish.

Jean-Paul & Benoit Droin Chablis Grand Cru Valmur 2017 - 93 points

Soil of Kimmeridgian Marl. South – South/West Facing. Age of vines 15 years. 7000 bottles produced. Powerful and big nose of crushed oyster shells, more stone fruits, rustic old school aromas. The palate is rich, big Iron fist in a velvet glove style of win, rich and succulent stone fruit, mandarin, crushed oyster shells, oil texture, with a rich finish. This certainly can support food better than his other wines, yet I just feel this big wine was missing a certain chiseled aspect,

Jean-Paul & Benoit Droin Chablis 1er Cru Mont de Milieu 2017 - 90 points

South facing with Kimmeridgian sub-soil, calcareous clays with limestone pebbles, Portlandian topsoil. 6k bottles, 50-year-old vines sunniest climate in Chablis. the warmer site here really shines through and even though 2017 showed more classic and crisp styles of Chablis the warmth was obvious, with riper stone fruit, apricots and nearly an exotic style to this wine. The palate was round and rich yet fell a little flat in the mid-palate, there was a little energy towards the finish, yet missing the classic chablis acidity and brightness I am looking for, I feel in a warmer year this site might come off a little flabby. Certainly my least favorite and even a step down from their Village Chablis.

A fabulous producer and one I recommend for anyone who loves this style of breathtaking Chardonnay.

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