"A corked bottle of 1983 Pichon-Lalande led to my inaugural visit to this Meursault domaine. My precious Pauillac corked, I ordered a bottle of 2015 Bourgogne Les Femelottes from Chavy-Chouet at Brat restaurant in London. It was so damn delicious that I ordered another and emailed winemaker Romaric Chavy that I must visit pronto.
Arriving at the gates, I noticed that there was no doorbell or knocker. When I was noticed loitering outside, the gates finally opened and Romaric Chavy informed me that they do without a doorbell because they have so many visitors. Chavy is a young and confident guy, very media-savvy, which is uncommon in Burgundy. He worked abroad in various countries including South Africa and Greece before taking over Chavy-Chouet at the age of just 22. Before tasting through the 2017s, which had all been bottled, I asked about the background of the domaine.
“The holdings come from two sides of my grandfather’s family. Chavy comes from Puligny-Montrachet, and his wife was part of the Ropiteau family in Meursault. Back then, he sold the wines to Bouchard Père. It was my own father, Hubert, who started bottling his own wine when he married his wife from Pommard and bought this house in Meursault. I started at the domaine in 2006 when we were still selling off grapes. I already had a good network [of potential clients] and so we started to bottle everything and develop exports. My father passed away in 2014. Now we have 15 hectares, mostly old vines located in five villages, producing around 90,000 bottles, of which around 90% is exported. We have three or four people working full-time and we work in a classical way - lutte raisonée and ploughing in the vineyard. This year we approached half the vineyard organically, but when the pressure became too high, we switched back and used spray. We press the fruit for two hours, with a 24-hour debourbage, and then ferment in barrel using natural yeast, a maximum of 20% new oak for between 9 and 12 months, with no lees stirring and a light filtration before bottling. We try to keep as much natural CO2 as possible.”
It is always a pleasure to discover a producer who has skimmed under your Burgundy radar for some time. Chavy-Chouet has built a loyal following here in the UK and I can understand why. These wines are very pure, terroir-driven and focused. Yet they are not challenging or pretentious and give much sensory pleasure. As I mentioned, you can splash the cash on a Premier Cru white if you wish, but do not ignore the 2017 Bourgogne Blanc Les Femelottes. It is unequivocally Village Cru in quality – no real surprise given that its vines are adjacent to Puligny-Village. The 2017 Meursault Charmes is an absolute knockout, whilst the monopole Clos des Corvées de Citeau is superb. This is an address I will definitely return to in the future, though I have made a mental note to phone ahead, so that I can actually get in. - Neal Martin"
- Antonio Galloni's Vinous (2017 Burgundy: A Modern Classic, January 2019)
Here are the wines reviewed:
2017 Bourgogne Blanc Les Femelottes - 90 points
The 2017 Bourgogne Blanc Les Femelottes comes from five parcels from 15 to 60 years old vines adjacent to the Puligny-Montrachet village crus. It has a lovely, almond and white chocolate scented bouquet that is very well defined. The palate is well balanced with a fine thread of acidity, a touch of bitter lemon and frangipane towards the composed, quite phenolic finish. There is a lot in this regional white and it represents great value.
2017 Puligny-Montrachet Les Enseignères - 91 points
The 2017 Puligny-Montrachet Les Enseignères comes from a 60-year old parcel that Hubert Chavy purchased at the beginning of the 1980s and essentially got it for free as part of an exchange. It used to be rented to other growers and lies just across the road from Chassagne. It has a fragrant bouquet with flecks of white chocolate and almond, like a pimped up version of the Les Femelottes. The palate is medium-bodied with a fine thread of acidity, vibrant and poised with a touch of salinity on the finish. Bon vin.
2017 Saint-Aubin Les Murgers des Dents de Chien 1er Cru - 92 points
The 2017 Saint-Aubin Les Murgers des Dents de Chien 1er Cru comes from a parcel that was actually forest until 1986. Romaric Chavy told me it is always the last vineyard to ripen. It has a fragrant bouquet with apricot blossom, fresh pear and light nectarine aromas, all very seductive. The palate is very well balanced, very pure with a fine bead of acidity. This feels very harmonious and utterly seductive. You could easily drink this now although it will sure age in bottle. Superb.
2017 Meursault Les Casses-Têtes - 91 points
The 2017 Meursault Les Casses-Têtes has a very vibrant bouquet with orange blossom, honeysuckle and light white peach aromas that are beautifully married with the oak. The palate is medium-bodied and slightly more malic than the Les Murgers des Dents de Chiens, smooth in texture with fine acidity, quite linear with a hint of sour lemon and lemon curd on the finish. Lovely.
2017 Meursault Clos des Corvées de Citeau - 92 points
The 2017 Meursault Clos des Corvées de Citeau is a one-hectare monopole that is part of L’Ormeau on clay soil that is relatively flat compared to other climats. It has a generous bouquet with white peach, almond and hints of white chocolate that unfold in the glass. The palate is well balanced and fresh despite the lower acidity, hints of orange rind and quince with a taut and quite linear finish. This feels nicely coiled at the moment and the dab of ginger on the aftertaste is pleasing and urges you back for another sip.
2017 Puligny-Montrachet Les Folatières 1er Cru - 91 points
The 2017 Puligny-Montrachet Les Folatières 1er Cru has a tightly-wound bouquet with honeysuckle, orange pith and light fennel aromas that are well defined. The palate is well-balanced with good acidity, quite saline in the mouth, rather linear but with decent length. Very fine, but I would afford this a couple of years in bottle.
2017 Meursault Les Charmes 1er Cru - 94 points
The 2017 Meursault Les Charmes 1er Cru comes from the last parcel before Puligny, the vines planted in 1945. It has a fragrant floral bouquet with dried apricot, orange blossom, hints of caramelized pear and spice. The palate is well balanced with a fine bead of acidity, very pure with good salinity and a very long persistent finish that is vrai Premier Cru.
2017 Bourgogne Rouge La Taupe - 87 points
The 2017 Bourgogne Rouge La Taupe comes from a 70-year old parcel right under the Clos du Château de Pommard, completely de-stemmed with a soft winemaking approach, only extracting using pumpovers with no punching down. It has a pure red cherry and crushed strawberry bouquet that develops fine floral, rose petals aromas. The palate is medium-bodied with sappy red berry fruit, quite saline in the mouth with a touch of rusticity just popping up on the finish. Otherwise this is very fine.
2017 Volnay Sous La Chapelle - 89 points
The 2017 Volnay Sous La Chapelle has an attractive bouquet with redcurrant, bilberry and light brine-like that is well defined. The palate is medium-bodied with fleshy tannin, a little rustic in style, quite saline with a touch of sour cherry towards the Pommard like finish. Note that the 2018 will be sold as a Premier Cru. Fine.