2017 Domaine Samuel Billaud Chablis 1er Cru "Fourneaux"

SKU #1421739 90-92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 2017 Chablis 1er Cru Fourneaux offers up notions of fresh peach, honeycomb and lemons. On the palate, it's medium to full-bodied, with a textural, gourmand attack that segues into a tense, saline mid-palate and finish. 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)

89-92 points Allen Meadows - Burghound

 There is more obvious classic Chablis character in evidence on the nose in the form of oyster shell and tidal pool nuances that render the citrus and mineral-reduction-suffused nose more interesting. The mouth feel of the medium-bodied flavors is relatively sleek compared to what is typical for Fourneaux before culminating in a powerful and complex and only moderately rustic finale. I particularly like the complexity of the chalky finish and this too should be accessible young but reward mid-term cellaring.  (10/2018)

89-91 points Vinous

 The 2017 Chablis Fourneaux 1er Cru feels rather subdued after the Montmains and Vaillons, compact and laconic at present. The palate is very well balanced with a fine bead of acidity, taut and fresh with racy acidity towards the finish that seems eager to compensate for the aromatics. One to watch once in bottle.(NM)  (8/2018)

K&L Notes

90-93pts Jasper Morris Inside Burgundy: "Organic grapes purchased from a 45-year-old vineyard in the centre of Les Fourneaux on a very chalky soil. This has a faint yellow tint, a generous weight of fruit on the nose, absolutely fills out the middle, then comes through to an easy right bank yellow fruited finish yet with a good fresh acidity to back it up. Tasted: May 2018."

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Price: $44.99
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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, M√Ęcon, 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.