The enjoyment of wines of Burgundy come hand in hand with in-depth, detail-oriented understanding of the terroir of Burgundy. Today Team WWX takes you to look at the best climat (vineyard site) within Chablis Grand Cru: Les Clos.
The classic Burgundy learner’s trick question is: how many Grand Cru is there in Chablis? The legally correct answer is one, and within that one Grand Cru there are 7 officially recognized climats, and one that is relatively more “unofficial” parcel La Moutonne. Among these 7 climats, it is the climat of Les Clos that claims the throne of being the best among all in terms of balance, complexity, concentration and ageability. This largest climat (26.71 hectares) in Chablis Grand Cru produces wines that are powerful and intense, filled with ripe stone fruit and nuanced honeyed tones. It is the masculine neighbour of the more feminine, floral-laced Valmur. Rather like Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru in the Cote de Nuits region, Les Clos does not belong to any monopole ownership but sees criss-crossed ownership by some of the most revered names among Chablis producers.
Nestled at the heart of the south and southwest-facing amphitheatre Chablis Grand Cru, Les Clos is historically recognized for its superior vine-growing potential since the 1200s by medieval monks. The wall that once gave this climat the reference of “Les Clos” does not exist now. Yet it was indeed the historic existence of this wall that proved the elevated status of this particular climat against rest of the climats. Across all French winemaking regions, all superior sites are often traditionally protected by stone walls as a means to prevent theft of fruit from those superior areas.
Les Clos proudly sits on a bed of Kimmeridgian limestone, which is the source of marine fossils and chalk soil, long credited for bestowing that distinctive saline minerality typically associated with classic Chablis. That, together with its mid-slope southwest facing aspect, composes the fundamentals for the making of a majestic whilst well-defined, rich whilst racy, top quality Chardonnay with longevity. The best time to enjoy a Les Clos comes often after the wine has seen a minimum of 10 years of bottle ageing.
Get an interactive overview of which other producers hold the rest of Les Clos, you may visit this page: https://fernandobeteta.com/blog/2017/3/3/interactive-map-of-chablis-grand-cru-les-clos-by-parcel-with-all-owners
Textbook expression: William Fevre
William Fevre holds a total of 7 parcels of vineyards within Les Clos, covering 4.14 hectares total, with over half of them planted to vines of 60 years of age or older. This makes this producer a benchmark to go to when it comes to Les Clos expression. Expect some oak involvement in William Fevre Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos – it’s a stylish touch added by the producer to add further complexity to the power and intensity of this Grand Cru. If you like great white Burgundies, this is a go-to classic.
Other notable producers with holdings in Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos
Some other best producers include the legendary Dauvissat and so on. What we seek to feature below are producers that offer great quality for value for money. In the following selection, you will find more stylish expressions say from Jean-Paul & Benoit Droin. Not shy of oak application (compared to other Chablis producers), JP & Benoit Droin’s Chablis are fast earning ardent following from white Burgundy fans. Their Les Clos often see a maximum of 10% new oak and take on a more stylish, suave yet unmistakably focused expression. If you want to go for more traditional expressions, Pinson will be the one to go for. The entire winemaking process is handled by hand, and all their wines do not see any new oak at all.