The Domaine Jean Collet in Chablis had a tough 2016. Mother Nature awoke on the wrong side of the bed that year, and the vintage had just about every malady you can think of — hail, frost, mildew, grape maladies, sunburnt fruit, and more. The domaine lost about 60% of the crop, but the fruit that survived was superb.
Collet’s 2016s are magnificent. Young winemaker Romain Collet managed to turn in an exceptional lineup of wines amidst an abundance of challenges. Everything from his Grand Crus to Premier Crus to today’s classic old-vine Chablis are just excellent.
We enthusiastically recommend (what’s left of) his whole 2016 collection, but we’re focused on his simplest today.
There are no regulations concerning what qualifies as an “old vine” in France, but Collet’s would meet just about anyone’s standard. Planted in 1932, these vines have survived everything Nature (and man) have thrown at them over nine decades. With each passing year their grapes lose volume but gain intensity and depth.
So intense and complex is their juice that Romain uses zero new oak for this cuvée, choosing instead to let the pure fruit shine through. And shine it does — the nose is clean, pure, and precise, showing pear and stones. The mouth is brisk and lively but also intense and smooth, with an enticing roundness punctuated by vibrant minerality.
This is Chablis as it was meant to be: no oak, clean, pure, lively, and smooth. We only hope we’re still turning out work this good when we’re 87 years old…
Collet Chablis VV 2016
bottle price: $29
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