About this wine
The vineyard name derives from the hill on the border between Burgundy and Champagne. This 1er Cru vineyard is known for producing some of the fleshiest and most opulent Chablis.
100% purchased Chardonnay grown in Kimmeridgien soil on a south/southeast facing slope near Fleys. The higher average temperatures and abundant morning sun contribute to the 1er Cru pedigree. Typical annual production is 2,300 bottles.
About the grape
Chardonnay is the most popular wine variety in the world - and in the US. Winemakers love the green-skinned grape as well because it’s so easy to grow and adaptive to many different production techniques. Grown everywhere, Chardonnay’s greatest expressions are widely believed to come from Burgundy. Indeed, this is believed to be where the grape originated. Chablis, in Northern Burgundy and Champagne also offer superlative examples of Chardonnay.
About the vintage
Stéphanie Courtault-Michelet referred to 2016 as “a nightmare for vignerons.” All of their plots were impacted and often by a variety of problems (hail frost, rain & intense heat). More and earlier treatments were needed and still they wound up with one-third the usual yield. The vintage for Petit Chablis, specifically, was even more widely exposed to the frost so volume was even less. However, lower yields often result in greater concentration.
Our Tasting Impressions
Very fresh and lively with noticeably more body and depth than the Village wine but still strong minerality. Dare we say, it’s even kinda sexy for a Chablis? Give it plenty of air if you want to have some fun with its youthful fruit. Otherwise, lay it down for at least 3-12 years.
On Your Table
This 1er Cru allows you to up the fullness and richness of accompanying dishes. Consider monkfish in a meunière sauce with some herbed noodles. Serve at about 50 degrees.
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We were introduced to Stéphanie Courtault-Michelet by Christine Dubreuil. Both are members of the prestigious Femmes et Vins de Bourgogne. Stéphanie’s father, Jean-Claude Courtault established Domaine JC Courtault with just 1.5 hectares of very young vines. His first wine production was in 1987. Stéphanie and her husband Vincent Michelet joined him in 2007 after working at a domaine in Alsace. Through a land grant, they started their own estate but decided to merge with JC. The result is one family jointly operating two estates from one property.
Today, they have a combined 11 hectares in Chablis and 16 in Petit Chablis - all Chardonnay. All of their 1er and Grand Cru wines are from carefully selected, purchased grapes. Vincent manages the vineyards and he and Stephanie make the wines. Their vineyards are in 6 different communes, but mostly Lingorelles and Beines. Vines are up to 35 years old though they recently acquired a plot with 60 year old vines.
Since 2012, they have used the DEPHY program - a more natural approach that reduces treatments. Picking is by machine and all bunches are de-stemmed and immediately pressed for optimal freshness. Typical yield is 50 hl/ha.
Fermentation is in steel tanks for 8-10 days. Two months after harvest, the juice undergoes malolactic fermentation to balance the acidity and add complexity. The wine is aged on fine sediment until spring, enhancing the structure. Then in the spring or summer, the wine is racked to separate out the sediment, fined if necessary and filtered.
About 120,000 bottles are produced and sold, mostly in Asia, from their new and modern production and tasting facility in Lingorelles. To our memory, this is the only tasting room with a working aquarium.
This is a joyful family and that comes across in their wine. Stéphanie is a consummate professional but she always seems to have a big, beautiful smile on her face. One family...two estates and everything we love about Chablis!