“Chablis is not Meursault”

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 01-24-2013

When blind tasting wine, you don’t get to pick what you’ll be drinking after the initial 2 ounces and (practice) exam portion, so forgive me if I’m not writing seasonally. I found myself halfway through a 2010 Louis Michel Chablis and thought, “this is awesome wine.” To me, deciding whether or not I enjoy a wine is as important as finding the prescribed fruits, non-fruits, and structural assets of an unknown wine.

A vintage that saw only July with temperatures above average, 2010′s crops were influenced by both wet and dry weather throughout the growing season. This meant that quality-minded producers were fervently searching and tossing aside grapes with unwanted molds or less than voluptuous ripeness. As a result, growers saw a 16% drop in production levels when compared to 2008 and 2009. And the finished wines are concentrated and suggest they should age and develop for at least a bit of time.

The mid-level offering from Louis Michel does not disappoint. Ripe golden delicious and yellow apples mingle alongside lemon oil, lime pulp and and a hint of starfruit.  The texture wide with piercing acidity and a strong yogurt tang. Louis Michel “enriches” its Chablis & Petit Chablis AOP wines for 8 month on the lees, and up to 12 for Premier & Grand Cru bottlings.

Louis Michel is a staunch proponent of stainless steel, hence the (obvious) quote from the domaine’s website in the title. For 40 years, not a drop of their Chablis has seen any oak. I like both styles, this style to accompany a raw bar, certain chicken preparations, or last night’s grilled cheese with tomato and turkey; and the oaked style with aromatic asian dishes and firmer cheeses.

This is certainly a wine to come back to in a few years, likely to outperform its “generic” appellation. So hopefully, the 16% dip in production for this great vintage won’t impede the availability here in the States.

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