Dinner on our first night in Chablis was spent at our favourite restaurant, Bistrot des Grands Crus, just a few metres away from our hotel. We had last been here a couple of months ago as we sought out the first wine on my Wines 101 Bucket List, a Dauvissat Grand Cru, Les Clos and we hope you find this tale interesting and maybe even stimulating as it reiterates our oft used expression “it’s not about the wine!”
We were welcomed on entering by Christian, the owner/manager, who led us towards our previous table which was already occupied, and sat us at the one next to it. We chatted for a few minutes about our previous visit and the very special wine he had obtained for us before he described the daily specials. I ordered a seafood salad as starter, Dr C ordered a squash soup, and we both followed with a dorade in a white sauce. I chose a small carafe of Petit Chablis to accompany which arrived in short order.
The table next to us was occupied by 3 men, one of whom leaned across to me and asked me about the Dauvissat Chablis Premier Cru we had bought a few weeks earlier. They had chosen a bottle of Fèvre Premier Cru, Vaulorent, and he, without hesitation, poured me half a glass to taste! They introduced themselves as one master sommelier, a colleague and a business owner from Germany who were visiting Chablis then Meursault for tasting and purchasing pallet loads of wine for import into Albert Kierdorf’s wine business. Albert was the one who poured me the Fèvre!
Albert now called Christian over and asked him for a bottle of the Dauvissat I had previously bought, only to be told that there was none left. Albert asked him if he had any other Dauvissat, and Christian replied “yes, a 2014 Premier Cru Vaillons, but it’s not ready yet so I really couldn’t sell it”! Oh dear, I thought WWIII was imminent until Albert explained they were tasting lots of wines not yet ready so he would appreciate a bottle. Christian relented and out came the Dauvissat with an extra glass for me. I now seem to have been adopted into German wine society! Dr C meanwhile continued with her squash soup!
A classic debate now began, to what extent was the Dauvissat Premier Cru not ready, when would it be ready, how did it compare with my 2012 from the previous visit, and …….. how might it compare with a Raveneau from the same year! Good grief, Albert now called Christian back and ordered a 2014 Chablis made by Dauvissat’s rival! We now have 3 bottles of rock-star status Chablis in front of us from Dauvissat , Raveneau, Fèvre, that might cost £400-500 in a UK restaurant. (Not a cracked jug in sight Andrew and quite a step up from house wine!).
My title of this post “In vino veritas et amicitia” translates from the Latin … “In wine there is truth and friendship”. The evening I have described continued for some time with Dr C eventually adding her own teetotallers views; what more could demonstrate the veracity of the Latin phrase as three Germans, a Frenchman, an Englishman and a Nepalese woman meet as relative strangers, share their evening, and depart as friends with shared contact details for the future. As I often say …. “it’s not about the wine”!
So what are your own experiences like this, do you visit winemakers and chat about their philosophy, their terroir, do you explore the history of a particular wine and the generations who made it? Maybe we’re alone in this bubble of wine as a hobby going beyond merely quaffing the stuff? We’d love to know.
Like to learn a little more about Chablis? Click the link titles below for our reviews.
There’s always a debate about whether a Chablis made by Dauvissat or by Raveneau is the best, and it’s a close run thing. But it definitely depends on style of their wine plus personal taste of course, so click the link title to see our view.
One of my favourite expressions is “it’s not about the wine”, meaning it’s as much about the winemaker, their traditions, culture, history, personal philosophy, and this is why we’ve chosen our favourite winemaker in Chablis. Click the title link to see who it is.