2022 Domaine de l'Enclos, Chablis "A l'Ouest"
2022 Domaine de l'Enclos, Chablis "A l'Ouest"

2022 Domaine de l'Enclos, Chablis "A l'Ouest"

Burgundy, France 2022 (750mL)
Regular price$45.00

2022 Domaine de l'Enclos, Chablis "A l'Ouest"

A combination of planning and luck found the tasting table filled with over a dozen different Chablis recently. And the surprising winner was a new, no sulfur added cuvée, “l’Ouest,” from Domaine de l’Enclos. This estate was founded just a couple years after SommSelect, so it feels like we have grown up together, and as far as virtual wine “siblings” go, I don’t think there’s a closer match. The Bouchard brothers are devoted–ok obsessed–with pure, transparent expressions of Chablis terroir, and the “l’Ouest” has taken this obsession to its logical conclusion. The purity, tension, and texture of this wine, at this price, is simply mind-blowing. If you are a white Burgundy fiend like me, you owe it to yourself to grab as much as budget and space will permit!

Romain and Damien Bouchard grew up in Chablis working alongside their father, Pascal, and the heart of their operation is a significant stand of prime Chablis vineyards that has been in their family for generations. They may have only launched their Domaine de l'Enclos label in 2016, but this is no rookie operation—it’s a pair of seasoned vintners working with mature, organically farmed vines. Their first few years of operation have, in fact, been focused largely on sustainable viticulture, and in 2018 they achieved official organic certification. Everything they do strives to be in perfect harmony with nature, but a few years ago they began bottling a special village level cuvée that was sourced exclusively from their westernmost (and generally coolest) parcel of vines. Appropriately named “l’Ouest,” this bottle sees zero additions or subtractions, including no added sulfur, in order to showcase the raw, unadulterated, mineral magic of this ancient terroir.

Pascal Bouchard sold his extremely successful business in 2015, but he held onto his family vineyard holdings to pass along to Romain and Damien. The brothers had previously been making their own wines in a small corner of the Pascal Bouchard winery, but, once equipped with 30+ hectares of well-placed vineyards, with an average age of 30 years, the time was ripe to set up their own shop. In addition to spending their first years refining their viticultural practices and pushing for organic certification, they constructed a new cellar underneath their family home in the town of Chablis proper. It’s a modern cellar, but one which employs many traditional practices, including moving all juice/wine by gravity only.

That pristine, expertly designed cellar is a key to producing a wine that is 100%, bona fide “natural,” aka grown without chemical fertilizers, sprays, pesticides or insecticides, and made with zero additions of any kind. This is tough to do in Chablis, where disease pressures like mildew are a constant threat, and where one wrong step in the cellar can result in flaws that would mask the tell-tale purity of fruit and oyster shell minerality that made this region famous in the first place. But to say the Bouchard brothers were successful with this ambitious project would be an understatement: they nailed it!

Serve l’Enclos’ “l’Ouest” in an all-purpose glass for maximum energy, or in a traditional Burgundy stem for enhanced aromatic complexity, at around 50 degrees–either way you’ll be wowed by a burst of lemon-lime zest, crunchy orchard fruit, white flowers, raw almonds, baked sourdough, and loads of sea salt and sea shells. Like most no sulfur wines it comes right out of the bottle ready to rock, no decanting necessary, but unlike most “sans soufre” wines it was just as fresh several hours later. That suggests it will also be a fun wine to have around for the next 2-3 years–so if racy, laser beam Chablis is your jam (and it should be) this is one to go deep on!

2022 Domaine de l'Enclos, Chablis "A l'Ouest"

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