Chablis, Burgundy, France

Domaine Billaud-Simon Chablis, Burgundy, France The elder Bernard Billaud, along with his nephew Samuel, runs this family enterprise located along the Serein river, just outside of Chablis. The estate, which dates back to 1815, combines Grand Cru and 1er Cru vineyards of old vines. Domaine Billaud-Simon has become a well-respected modern winery with Samuel now combining contemporary winemaking with sincere respect of his family’s traditions. From about 20 hectares of wines, 9500 cases of Chablis are produced. In the vineyards, Samuel, conscientious of the quality of the domaine’s fruit, employs an ebourgeonnage in the spring. In this way, by pruning away buds rather than green harvesting grape clusters in summer, he is assured of riper fruit and more concentrated flavors in the Fall. In the 1980s, Bernard convinced his father to abandon the old 645-liter vats used for winemaking (Bernard thought these made the wines heavy, fat and lack elegance). A new winery was in place by 1991, so that now almost all wines are fermented in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks, permitting the minerality of the Domaine’s chardonnay to shine. The old oak barrels are still around, but are used sparingly. The house has vines among many of the regions most illustrious plots, or climats of Chablis. For example, Fourchaume is generally considered (along with Montée de Tonnerre) to be the finest of the appellation's premier crus. At the heart of the precious 1er Cru sous-climats, l'Homme Mort, Vaupulent, Côte de Fontenay and Vaulorent, is of course la Fourchaume itself, and its best wines are capable of great heights. Wines from this climat are known for their power and length and can age well for 5 to 10 years or more. The family also has vines in Les Vaillons, Mont de Milieu, and the celebrated Grand Crus Vaudésir, Les Preuses and Les Clos.

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