2016 Domaine Samuel Billaud "Montée de Tonnerre" Chablis 1er Cru

SKU #1385702 92 points James Suckling

 The weight of Montée is evident here. This has impressive, rich and fleshy appeal with a core of white peaches and ripe melon. Smooth rich and even. Drink or hold.  (8/2018)

89-92 points Vinous

 (made from two plots, one high in Chapelots and the other in Montée de Tonnerre): Orange zest, pink grapefruit and a touch of mineral reduction on the distinctly rocky nose. Densely packed and fine-grained but quite closed in the early going, showing little in the way of easy sweetness in spite of its soft citrus notes. This is broader than the Mont de Milieu but does not have quite the éclat of that wine. But rich, firm-edged and long, finishing with a subtle hint of sweetness. This wine doesn't have the lift or definition of the Mont de Milieu but boasts a pliant texture and considerable elegance. The crop level here was 35 hectoliters per hectare, according to Billaud. (ST)  (8/2017)

91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 2016 Chablis 1er Cru Montée de Tonnerre is showing very well, offering up a classy bouquet of lemon oil, iodine and oystershell that's framed by light reduction. On the palate, it's full-bodied, rich and textural—it was cropped at 25 hectoliters per hectare—but remains tense and tangy through the finish. Billaud notes that it was bottled earlier than usual to capture more freshness. After parting ways with Domaine Billaud Simon after some 20 years, Samuel Billaud has established his own state-of-the-art winery in central Chablis, where he is ably vinifying the fruit of some four hectares of estate vineyards, supplemented by purchased grapes. Manual harvesting of ripe but bright fruit is the rule here, followed by fermentation at 16 to 20 degrees Celsius in tank and inconspicuous wood and maturation for 15 to 18 months on the lees for the premiers crus. These are bright, nervy expressions of Chablis with plenty of concentration and length. In a sense, Billaud's evolution as a free agent has followed a similar trajectory to that of Billaud Simon under its new management. Producing classy wines of crystalline purity, this address already belongs on any list of Chablis's best. (WK)  (8/2018)

90 points Allen Meadows - Burghound

 There is a more classic Chablis character present on the lemon zest, white fruit and sea breeze aromas. The attractively textured medium-bodied flavors are more refined but not quite as intense on the less powerful if more persistent finish. I like the delivery but this needs to develop better overall depth if it's going to rise to its normal level.  (10/2018)

Jancis Robinson

 Chalky, dusty lemon fruit. Dry, chalky-chewy texture – all about texture even though it does not lack precise fruit. More depth than the Mont de Milieu, more persistent too but speaks very quietly at the moment. (JH) 17/20  (9/2017)

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- It's hard to believe that up until about 30 years ago, this extremely popular varietal hid behind the veil of geographical names like Chablis and Puligny-Montrachet. Now grown all over the world and bottled by its varietal name, Chardonnay has achieved a level of branding unlike any other wine. Surprisingly, though, what you get when you buy Chardonnay can differ greatly from country to country and even within one country, depending on the climate where it's grown and how it is vinified and aged. From fresh, crisp and minerally with apple and lemon notes to rich and buttery with tropical fruit overtones, Chardonnay runs the gamut. In France's Burgundy, Chardonnay is the source of the prized wines of Chablis, Corton-Charlemagne, Mâcon, Meursault and Montrachet. It also the foundation of exceptional Champagne, where it is blended with Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier or vinified on its own into Blanc de Blancs. It is also extremely popular in California, and is gaining popularity in Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Spain and South Africa.


- When it comes to wine, France stands alone. No other country can beat it in terms of quality and diversity. And while many of its Region, Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne most obviously, produce wine as rare, as sought-after and nearly as expensive as gold, there are just as many obscurities and values to be had from little known appellations throughout the country. To learn everything there is to know about French wine would take a lifetime. To understand and appreciate French wine, one only has to begin tasting them.


- The region north of the Cote d'Or, famous for its steely dry white wines made from Chardonnay. There are 7 Grands Crus vineyards, and numerous Premier Crus. Unfortunately, the name has been borrowed and badly abused by producers of inferior white wines in the US as well as in Australia. True French Chablis is a delicate, stony, crisp Chardonnay, bearing no resemblance to the anonymous plonk so labeled here.