The chardonnay wines of Chablis are pure, precise wines, unburdened by the use of new oak. Among the best winemakers in Chablis is William Fevre, whose wines are virtually transparent in their expression of terroir. William Fevre makes the full range of Chablis wines, from Petit Chablis to Grand Cru, with over half of its 118 acres in Premiers and Grands Crus. At the helm is Didier Seguier, who was brought in by the owners of William Fevre, the Henriot family of Champagne and Burgundy. Didier’s basic philosophy is: clean fruit and clear juice results in wines that reveal the essence of the terroir. William Fevre is one of the few producers that still practice careful hand selection of fruit at harvest and then again at the sorting table in the winery. The clusters are pressed quickly and the clear juice brought up to about 18 celsius in temperature control stainless steel vats to hasten start of fermentation. None of the wines really see any new oak which would mask the distinctive minerality of the Kimmeridgean chalky soils. While 10% of basic Chablis, 40-60% of premiers crus and 80% of grands crus see barrel ferment, it is in older barrels of one to seven years of age which are used for adding rich structure rather than for imparting any flavor to the wines.
We tasted through eight of the current releases across the range, which were remarkable in their consistent showing of purity of fruit, seamless balance and long finish. And distinctive terroir. Cote Bouguerots is on a 50 degree slope on chalk and Kimmeridgean soil. The 2007 Bougros Grand Cru “Cote Bougerots” is an excellent wine with great concentration of fruit and long finish, and a crystalline minerality compared to the smokey minerality of the 2007 Preuses Grand Cru which vines grow in rich, clayish soils. The Fourchaume premier cru site which is a continuation of the grands crus hillside to the northwest and facing SE to SW, has more clay-limestone soils which gives the 2007 Premier Cru Fourchaume “Vignoble de Vaulorent” richness as well as floral and fruit character.
For excellent examples of Chablis across the board, William Fevre is among the best.