Domaine des Malandes, Chablis 1er Cru "Vau de Vey"
Domaine des Malandes, Chablis 1er Cru "Vau de Vey"

Domaine des Malandes, Chablis 1er Cru "Vau de Vey"

Burgundy, France 2021 (750mL)
Regular price$49.00

Domaine des Malandes, Chablis 1er Cru "Vau de Vey"

Domaine des Malandes is a first-ballot SommSelect Hall of Fame producer, thanks mostly to their ability to provide exceptionally pure, classically styled Chablis at all levels—while still maintaining unbelievably fair prices. But today’s discovery takes this seashell-strewn dominance to a new level. That’s because the 2021 vintage has an old-school vibrancy, an abundance of pure energy and verve, and a mineral core that is reminiscent of the most lauded vintages in this region over the past several generations. The 2021 vintage also has the trappings of a classic literary (wine) drama: a supremely challenging vintage, with heartbreakingly low yields, that nonetheless produces outstanding wines. And the near-perfect balance of Malandes’ Premier Cru “Vau de Vey” has it firmly in control of our pick for the lead in this story of triumph over tragedy. Terroir-true Chablis is always in the running for best value white wine on the planet, but today’s discovery has already taken home the trophy at sub $50.

Lyne Marchive is a deeply passionate vigneron who was at the helm of her family’s Domaine des Malandes for nearly 50 years before handing the reins to her daughter and son in 2018. For the past 15 years, winemaker Guénolé Breteaudeau has also been a guiding light, crafting impeccably balanced wines with as little intervention as possible, and today’s is our favorite Premier Cru. Just south of the celebrated “Beauroy” vineyard, and across the river from Chablis’ band of Grand Crus, lies “Vau de Vey”—an ancient site with archives as far back as 1537. The name has been traced to the Latin word vadum, meaning a shallow crossing or ford, but the most distinguishing characteristic of Vau de Vey is its steepness. Along with its extreme slope, the site also benefits from a southeastern exposure that provides ample ripening in this cooler valley. The soils here are classic Kimmeridgian—an exposed limestone mixed with ancient maritime fossils that took form over 150 million years ago—which results in wines with impossible-to-mimic minerality.

The Marchives own a contiguous, three-hectare parcel of 40 plus-year-old vines in this flag-bearing 1er Cru, and the crop is twice-sorted before entering the cellar. All grapes are gently pressed and the juice ferments, including malolactic, in an equal blend of stainless steel and oak (both Burgundy barrels and larger demi-muids). Today’s 2021 was bottled in mid-2022 and was allowed further rest in their cellar. 

After a 30-minute decant and served at 50 degrees in Burgundy stems, Domaine Malandes’ 2021 “Vau de Vey” unravels in the glass with energetic aromas of green apple skin, yellow pear, lemon blossom, and oyster shell minerals that dance around an elegant but very lively core of sea salt minerality and laser beam acidity. This is a stunningly graceful, medium bodied Chablis with gorgeous balance and delineated textures that will appeal to connoisseurs of Côte de Beaune and unoaked California Chardonnay alike. Every layer is filled with precise notes of citrus blossoms, ripe orchard fruit, and finely crushed minerality. It’s actually shocking how generous and “complete” this Premier Cru is at a young age, but that doesn’t mean it’ll be short-lived! I see this evolving beautifully over the next 3-5 years. Enjoy!

Domaine des Malandes, Chablis 1er Cru "Vau de Vey"

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