Domaine de Chantemerle, Chablis 1er Cru "Fourchaume"
Domaine de Chantemerle, Chablis 1er Cru "Fourchaume"

Domaine de Chantemerle, Chablis 1er Cru "Fourchaume"

Burgundy, France 2021 (750mL)
Regular price$45.00

Domaine de Chantemerle, Chablis 1er Cru "Fourchaume"

Everything about today’s delicious discovery screams “classic.” From the beautiful, throwback label, to the timeless winemaking of Francis Boudin, to the exceptional, old-school-styled 2021 vintage, the whole package is a retro Burgundy lover’s dream come true. Oh, and the price—just $45—happens to be totally vintage, too. It’s always astounding how Chablis can continue to produce world-class Chardonnay at prices that make the rest of Burgundy look, well, inflated. But the 2021 “Fourchaume” from Chantemerle takes the value quotient to a whole new level. The year is quite young, but there’s a very good chance that this will be the best-value white Burgundy we offer in 2024. To sum it up: classic Chablis, classic vintage, classic price. You will want to have this on hand well into the summer, so don’t hesitate to stock up now before it’s gone for good!

Adhemar Boudin, who started making Chablis from his family’s vines in the 1960s, was the son of a cooper. He disliked everything about the cooperage business, and wanted nothing to do with barrels when it came to winemaking. He passed this philosophy along to his son, Francis, who now manages their estate, Domaine de Chantemerle (as often happens with European wines, you see both a domaine name and a family name on the label, and on wine lists, you’re likely to see the wines listed as “Domaine A&F Boudin,” “Famille Boudin,” or “Domaine de Chantemerle,” or a combination thereof). Regardless, the label itself is almost instantly recognizable, once you’ve encountered it a couple of times.

Francis has been at the helm for several decades now, but in practice, nothing really changed from when he took over for his father. This is an artisanal winery, seeking nothing more or less than authenticity and terroir transparency, and they have always shunned the use of oak barrels. The wines are fermented and aged in a mix of lined cement tanks and stainless steel, to allow for as pure an expression of their terroir as possible. Their vineyard holdings have an average age of almost 50 years, delivering low yields of concentrated fruit from the classic Kimmeridgian limestone soils of Chablis. Francis whole-cluster-presses his grapes into tanks for fermentation using only ambient yeasts, and the wines age on the lees in the same tanks for aging on the lees before bottling without fining or filtration.

The unique Premier Cru, “Fourchaume,” is the largest holding of the Boudins outside of village level Chablis. This Premier Cru is distinct from most others as it has a west/southwest exposure and as such gets more intense sunshine than many of its neighbors. Additionally it has a higher component of clay, which along with the extra sun lends a bit more power and texture. Given its aspect and positioning—just a stone’s throw from the Chablis Grands Crus—the Fourchaume Premier Cru often delivers wines approaching Grand Cru breadth and intensity, and this is especially true for the Boudins and their treasure trove of old vines, having refused to replant to higher yielding clones in the 1970’s like most other estates. The cool, classically styled 2021 vintage adds extra cut and the iconic dollop of saline minerals to the inherent power of “Fourchaume,” and in the end what you have is a finely etched, perfectly balanced Chablis masterclass. 

Serve the Chantemerle in a nice Burgundy stem and you’ll notice its deep straw-gold hue with light green reflections at the rim. A rich and fruit-driven nose of yellow apple, salted lemon, acacia flower, raw hazelnut, pastry dough, fresh cream, and of course the crushed rock/oyster shell savor typical of great Chablis all emerge after just a few minutes of aeration. It is a deep and well-rounded style, but the 2021 vintage brings plenty of structure and freshness to age this wine for 5-7 years or more. Like all great White Burgundy, it’s best to enjoy the Chantemerle not at “refrigerator” temperature but rather closer to “cellar” temperature—at around 50-55 degrees you will experience a broader range of aromas and a richer texture on the palate. A lemony roasted chicken would be fantastic next to this white, which, like the attached recipe, is a “no fail” choice. Enjoy!

Domaine de Chantemerle, Chablis 1er Cru "Fourchaume"

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