“I’ve noted this before, it bears repeating. The quality of the Defaix wines now puts the domaine among the top 10 in Chablis.” Allen Meadows, Burghound
“Brilliant winemaking, brilliant wines.” 3 Star Rating (the highest rating to only 9 Chablis producers) Austen Biss (UK)
Ask any sommelier what they can't get enough of at the moment, and the answer is always Chablis. It's popularity has soared and it is flying off top wine lists around the country. Overlay this with a series of devastating yields in the region, and you'll see scarcity has grown and prices have increased for this unique expression of Chardonnay. If new to Chablis, buyer beware, as the gap between the regions best and worst is huge. At its best, producers like Raveneau, Dauvissat, Tribut, Puize, Moreau, Picq, Billaud-Simon and Defaix honestly farm small parcels of vineyard with an organic focus and producing pure, powerful, tightly wound wines from small yields. From larger producers or from lesser prized patches of dirt (ie. Petit Chablis), wines can have a dliute, hollow and/ or flabby feel. Quality Chablis should be medium to full, mineral, acid driven and long.
Berand Defaix is an excellent producer widely considered in the top handful in the small region. We visited him way back in 2012 and were impressed with the wines then, they've only grown in quality and reputation. The family domain is run by fourth generation brothers Didier and Sylvain. They have 27 hectares of vineyard that have been farmed organically (certified) since 2012.
This wine is their village level Chablis produced from four parcels of 30 year old vines from the 2019 vintage. Despite low yields, the 2019 vintage in Chablis was an outstanding year. Small yields of ripe fruit with excellent acidities, the wines are generous in flavour, with bracing acids and a trademark, chalky, mineral core.
Aromas are white florals, mayer lemon, lime zest, peach yoghurt and oyster shell. Flavours on the palate are similar, with light stone fruits, lemon zest, lemon sherbert, a juicy core and a fresh, salivating acid line. UK's Decanter Magazine awarded it an impressive 92 points, calling it a "refined, classy and complex" wine that's a "very fine, expressive, distinctive Chablis which is ready to drink now but will age very well for many years." It will be our Chablis in the fridge for spring and summer and we're stocking up now as it won't be here long. Serve chilled with any shellfish starters or white fish mains.
Tom and Dan