Domaine Billaud-Simon ~ Chablis Premier Cru AOC Les Vaillons 2016

Domaine Billaud-Simon ~ Chablis Premier Cru AOC Les Vaillons 2016
£35.00 / bottle£399.00 / case (12 bottles)

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Wine's country of origin: France
Wine's grape variety: Chardonnay
Wine region: Burgundy
Style of wine: Crisp Light Whites
Type of wine: White Wines
Drink: Now to 2028
ABV: 13%

Tasting Notes

The story

Since the 2013 vintage Domaine Billaud-Simon has been bought by respected Burgundy producer, Maison Faiveley; it is good to see that they have made little change to this consistently good wine.

If you like unoaked Chardonnay, this is for you. Les Vaillons is one of my "go-to" wines when I can't decide which bottle to open because it is consistently good year on year. And 2106 is no exception. Previous vintages have been much loved by Wines With Attitude ® customers and described in Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate as "...about as good as you will find...".

The wine

This is categorised as a crisp, light white wine but has more of a medium body and has a touch of the Chablis-esque butteriness that will make it richer as it develops in bottle. The aromas seem quite delicate but on the palate there is much more intensity of apples, citrus fruits, lemon oil plus minerality and floral notes of orange-blossom and honeysuckle. There is a refreshing acidity combined with a smooth texture and a long, lemony finish.

This is classic Premier Cru Chablis. Delicious on its own or with food. This is very drinkable now and will develop further richness over the next five years.

Food Pairing

Recommended for drinking with oysters, other shellfish and fish generally, foie gras, chicken, fruit-based desserts.

Producer's Notes

"Vaillons is derived from the term ‘vallon’, meaning ‘small valley’. The term ‘valson’ was also used previously. ‘Vaillons’ originates from the Latin vallis or valles meaning an ‘elongated area between two raised zones’. 2016 was characterised by challenging weather conditions. This vintage produced concentrated, powerful and very smooth wines. They are intensely aromatic and well-suited to gastronomy thanks to their aromas of citrus fruits and floral, mineral notes. The 2016 vintage displays remarkable tension and cellaring potential.

Tasting: Bright, clear hue with attractive golden tinges. This 1er Cru offers remarkable aromatic complexity with aromas of ripe citrus and white flowers. The palate is round and seductive with a lively attack. Excellent length and a refined aromatic persistency combining fruity notes and a delicate acidity. Pleasant sensation of freshness."


16.5 points    Jan 2018
"Light and lively on the nose with some green fruit. Good and racy and really quite delicate. Should satisfy over a long period." and "Tank sample. Dusty delicate citrus and just a slight hint of creamy lees. Rounded citrus fruit making this a gentle and creamy whole but still with Chablis freshness. Intense fruit at the core. Very good."

88 points     Aug 2018
"More elegant and open-knit than the Tête d'Or bottling, the 2016 Chablis 1er Cru Les Vaillons offers up notes of Meyer lemon, fresh peach and spring flowers. On the palate, it's delicate, medium-bodied and stony, in an easygoing, charming style.

Since Faively's purchase of Domaine Billaud-Simon in 2014, régisseur Olivier Bailly has been refining a subtly brighter, more tensile style, with somewhat earlier harvests and a decreased percentage of new oak for certain cuvées. Domaine Billaud-Simon was always a good producer, but today the wines are more consistent and more aesthetically coherent. I was impressed by what I tasted in both the challenging 2016 vintage and the easier, more classic 2017 vintage. Note, however, that long sur lie élevage makes this one of several addresses where the rhythm of the wines' evolution is out of sync with The Wine Advocate editorial calendar: many of the 2017s I tasted from barrel in tank were still backward and as yet unformed, as my notes make clear. If I succeed in making a flying visit to Chablis later this year, this will be one of the addresses on my short list of domaines to revisit."

This is a classic Premier Cru Chablis, lovely unoaked Chardonnay displaying apple and citrus fruits, minerality and floral notes; some creamy butteriness and a medium body yet crisp.  Drinks well now and will evolve in the bottle for several years yet

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