Is there a more underappreciated or misunderstood white wine in the world than Chablis? Aside from Riesling, I have a hard time thinking of one. And yet both of these are typically among the favorites of wine professionals everywhere. They’re food-friendly, delicious both in their youth and after a respite in the cellar, and priced far below what they could be.
I recently tasted a selection of three 2009 Chablis from the highly respected Drouhin Vaudon. It was a fascinating and eye-opening tasting, especially since you don’t often have the chance to compare and contrast multiple bottlings from the same vintage and producer. When you do, however, the character of the year, the different vineyards sites or appellations, and the producer’s style are all brought into much sharper relief than they otherwise would have been.
And 2009 is the vintage to do this with, as volume was back up after the somewhat diminished production of 2007 and 2008. These three wines below represent not just excellent value, but also a clear-eyed look into what makes Chablis such an important, always-rewarding wine.
Drouhin Vaudon Chablis 2009
Chalky aromas reminiscent of seashells are joined by subtle hints of lemon and lime pith. These follow through to the palate and are joined by bright flavors of more citrus peel and flesh, and an unexpected note of sesame seeds. Straightforward and pleasant; nice entry-level wine. Purchase a dozen oysters and drink now.
Drouhin Vaudon Chablis “Reserve de Vaudon” 2009
More concentration on the nose, as well as a savory, nutty note, and briny hints of sea-shell as well. The palate is creamier, though still nice and lithe. Texturally, it picks up increasing density on the palate as it warms up, and flavors of bitter nut, creamed green apple fritters, and white tea emerge. This is more autumnal than the entry-level Chablis, and more complex, as well. Drink now - 2015.
Drouhin Vaudon Chablis Premier Cru 2009
The telltale minerals of the region are here, and perhaps a hint of white peppercorn, but the wine seems to be holding back a bit right now. With air, though, white tea, lemon pith and skin, ripe persimmon, walnuts, and maybe even a hint of tarragon lift through this well-structured wine. A note of white-blossomed flowers on the finish, in addition to a sense of savoriness, linger pleasantly. Hold this one for a bit--it will reward patience. Drink 2014 - 2022.