Samuel Billaud Chablis Montee de Tonnerre Premier Cru 2020
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Barrel Sample: 92-95
The 2020 Chablis 1er Cru Montée de Tonnerre is another notable success for Samuel Billaud this year. Unwinding in the glass with aromas of white flowers, citrus oil, white currants, freshly baked bread and beeswax, it's medium to full-bodied, ample and satiny, with a layered mid-palate underpinned by racy acids, concluding with a long, saline finish. Rating: 93+
The new winery lies in the heart of Chablis and used to belong to Stéphane Moreau-Naudet. It is set up so that Billaud only needs to pump his wines once, then gravity does the rest. The rest of the facilities consist of brand new stainless steel tanks and underground storage for barrels.
The recently purchased hectarage includes land in the grand crus Les Clos, Vaudésir, Montée de Tonnerre, Mont de Milieu, Séchet, and in the village level vineyards Les Pargues and Chapelot, as well as a Petit Chablis parcel directly to the north of Les Clos. The 2015 vintage is the first for which he will have full control of the land for the entire year. He is also newly sourcing fruit from the grand crus Blanchots, Valmur, and Bougros. Due to his deep roots in Chablis, Samuel is able to purchase grapes from some of the finest, most well- established growers.
n the cellar, the premier and grand cru wines see about 15% new wood in the form of large 450 and 600 L barrels, which offsets any overt “oakiness.” The rest is fermented in small stainless steel tank.
The resulting range, from AC to Grand Cru, are layered wines rife with crunchy oyster shell and silex, and exhibit a range of flavor profiles from licorice to white peach to toasty baguette. This is top quality Chablis from a rising star producer – for white Burgundy lovers, these are not to be missed.
The source of the most racy, light and tactile, yet uniquely complex Chardonnay, Chablis, while considered part of Burgundy, actually reaches far past the most northern stretch of the Côte d’Or proper. Its vineyards cover hillsides surrounding the small village of Chablis about 100 miles north of Dijon, making it actually closer to Champagne than to Burgundy. Champagne and Chablis have a unique soil type in common called Kimmeridgian, which isn’t found anywhere else in the world except southern England. A 180 million year-old geologic formation of decomposed clay and limestone, containing tiny fossilized oyster shells, spans from the Dorset village of Kimmeridge in southern England all the way down through Champagne, and to the soils of Chablis. This soil type produces wines full of structure, austerity, minerality, salinity and finesse.
Chablis Grands Crus vineyards are all located at ideal elevations and exposition on the acclaimed Kimmeridgian soil, an ancient clay-limestone soil that lends intensity and finesse to its wines. The vineyards outside of Grands Crus are Premiers Crus, and outlying from those is Petit Chablis. Chablis Grand Cru, as well as most Premier Cru Chablis, can age for many years.
One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it is grown and how it is made. While it tends to flourish in most environments, Chardonnay from its Burgundian homeland produces some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. California produces both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines. Somm Secret—The Burgundian subregion of Chablis, while typically using older oak barrels, produces a bright style similar to the unoaked style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy Chablis.