It is true that, when it comes to Burgundy’s winemakers, scale doesn’t often correlate with quality. More vineyards means that the obsessional attention to detail is needed to produce great wines is more thinly spread. Yet there are exceptions.
William Fèvre is both one of Chablis’ largest owners of vineyard land and one of its finest producers. Its Premier and Grand Cru wines consitently rank amongst the best in the region. Fèvre’s entry level wines offer some of the best combinations of quality and value available from Chablis. Fèvre owns multiple parcels of old vines, which translate into sinuous, textured, gastronomic wines, which can age effortlessly. They are always true to their terroir, with concentration, minerality and acidity that vary across vineyard to vineyard.
Fevre in 2021
“While not all of the Fèvre 2021s are excellent, a number of them are terrific and worth your interest.” Allen Meadows, Burghound
“Didier Séguier, managing director of Domaine William Fèvre… noted that in 2021 yields were down from an average of 50hl/ha to just 18hl/ha. Yet Séguier is very happy with the quality on show. Tasting the Fèvre range in 2021 gave a wonderful opportunity to see the variations between each individual Chablis climat – the differences between, for example, Vaulorent/Montée de Tonnerre and Montmains/Vaillons are vivid in 2021.” Andy Howard MW, Decanter Magazine
The 2021 vintage for William Fèvre – the largest owner of village-level vines in the Chablis region – is one characterised by terroir.
In easy vintages, grapes ripen well across both the warmest and most exposed Grand Cru, and the coolest and shadiest vineyard areas alike. In more challenging vintages such as 2021, the terroir of the vineyard and the quality of the winemaking team come to the fore. As a result, choosing which Fèvre wines to add to your cellar will be best informed by your stylistic preferences.
Those who love a lean, crisp, and mineral style should consider the Chablis Villages, described by Neal Martin as “taut and focused,” and “great value for money.” Also in this vein is the Montée de Tonnerre 1er Cru, a ‘sweet spot’ for Alan Meadows described as showing “superb length on the bitter lemon and mineral suffused finish.” Those who prefer a richer, more rounded and succulent style of Chablis might plumb for the Vaillons 1er Cru, which to Meadows suggests “the exotic on the slightly riper aromas of pear compote, ocean spray, iodine and wet stone.” He goes on to affirm that “this beauty should age.”
Perhaps the two styles are best married this vintage in Grand Cru Les Preuses, which Neal Martin describes as having “one of my favourite aromatics from Fèvre this year with superb delineation and mineralité. The palate is harmonious and poised, very focused and tensile, plenty of energy with a touch of lime and clementine towards the persistent finish. This is an outstanding Chablis that should age supremely well in bottle.”
Whatever your decision, please note that Fèvre’s yields were half their usual levels in 2021 and, as a result, all wines are in short supply. Don’t delay placing your reserve.