2008 is, for me, the reference Chablis vintage. It seems to me that its excellence was overlooked until several years later when it came to be seen as a great Champagne vintage, by which time the Chablis wines were long out of the market. Anyway, good producers, great vintage, great vineyard. Should be great right? But the looming shadow of premature oxidation hangs over all such bottles. I popped a couple to check in.
2008 Domaine Jean-Paul & Benoît Droin Chablis Grand Cru ‘Valmur’. A producer that was not very fashionable when I started drinking their wines from the early 00s. I had a few premox problems in the early days (“early days” — ha! Benoît Droin a thirteenth-generation winemaker!!!) but have otherwise always thought highly of the good bottles and they were keenly priced. And they’ve been pleasing the critics bigstyle of late. So let’s see. It’s medium straw with a bright silvery rim, looks very promising. Clean citrus, popcorn nose. Bright on the palate, long lemony-mineral finish. Excellent. Drinking perfect. Just what you want here. Super wine.
2008 Domaine William Fèvre Chablis Grand Cru ‘Valmur’. I’ve drunk loads of wines from Fèvre over the years, always been a fan and seldom had a bad bottle even though they were known in some circles as one of the real danger zones for premox through the 00s. The 2000 W. Fèvre ‘Valmur’ is one of my all-time reference point white wines (and I still have one bottle). But a few slightly worrying younger bottles more recently have given me pause on the domaine. In the glass this one is fairly deep gold, evolved-looking and a bit worrisome colour-wise. Certainly more advanced in the nose than the Droin, treacle. Thick, rich, soft for Chablis. Apple, some evident oxidation. Still long, and it has weight but it’s really quite evolved and has lost a lot of vigor. Drinkable, but not near the Droin. I almost hesitate to declare premox on an 11-year-old white wine but this really should be better and frankly the oxidation is premature as a highly rated Grand Cru chardonnay from a great vintage should be singing at this time. Cross your fingers, and drink up. Grrr.