Wines by Region / Burgundy / Northwest Burgundy / Chablis / Domaine Gautheron
Domaine Alain Gautheron - Chablis
In 1977 Alain Gautheron, the 6th generation in a line of Chablis vignerons, joined his father Jean in the family domaine located about 4 kilometers from the town of Chablis. At that time, the domaine was comprised of a mere 8 hectares and was selling around 10,000 bottles a year. Alain decided to get serious and, with the help of his father, grew the domaine’s holdings. In 1991 when Jean decided to retire, Alain took over the entire 14.5-hectare estate. He was joined in 2000 by his son Cyril, who helped create a new cuverie and generally bring the domaine into the modern era.
Today, the domaine consists of 25 hectares of vineyards spread across the Petit Chablis, Chablis, and Chablis Premier Cru appellations. Alain has basically retired and Cyril has taken over the day-to-day operations. Their annual production is around 150,000 bottles.
The Chardonnay vineyards are planted on the region’s famed Kimmeridgien and Portlandian soils, and the domaine’s town (Fleys) is known for its soil’s particularly high content of fossilized snails (of which Alain keeps several examples in their tasting room).
Believing in respecting the land passed down to them by their forebears, and preserving it for future generations, the family farms all their vineyards using the principles of lutte raisonée: yields are kept lower by green harvest and pruning, they have avoided weed killers in favor of allowing grass between the rows wherever possible, and they use natural solutions to stimulate the vines to be more self-protecting from pests and disease. In 2009 they began working 100% organically on one 3-hectare parcel of vines.
In the older vine parcels, harvest is solely by hand, while in the younger vines, it’s by machine. Grapes are immediately pressed so as to preserve their freshness, then ferment in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks. After undergoing malolactic fermentation, the wine sits on its lees for an amount of time depending on the cru and the vintage. There is a light filtration and the wine is bottled, though depending on the wine it is allowed to age for a time in bottle first.
Domaine Alain Gautheron Chablis
From 15- to 55-year old vines planted on Kimmeridgien soil, the wine is vinified and aged in stainless steel tanks. Aromas of fresh flowers, followed by peach and apricot as well as citrus fruits. On the palate it is well balanced and elegant with a long mineraled finish. A great partner for oysters on the half shell, scallops or salmon tartare.
Domaine Gautheron Chablis Vieilles Vignes
Made from some of the oldest vines on the property (60-70 years old), on Kimmeridgien soil, this wine is fermented in tank and then spends several months in oak. It has plenty of saline and mineraled notes, as well as fresh, floral aromas and appley fruit, while a touch of vanilla adds complexity on the palate. Delightful wine.
Domaine Alain Gautheron Chablis Premier Cru “Montmains”
Cyril actually rents a parcel of 80-year-old vines in this sought after Chablis cru to make small lots of this wine. The old vines (as they often do) produce a remarkably rich and intense wine. This cuvée unlike most of the others spends a bit of time in oak barrels, but that doesn't get in the way of the wine's racy tropical fruit and minerals. An impressive effort from this young winemaker and this classy Chablis cru.
Domaine Alain Gautheron Chablis Premier Cru “Les Vaillons”
From vines with an average age of 25-40 years planted on Kimmeridgien soils, the wine is vinified and aged in stainless steel tanks, with the aging time ranging from 5 to 10 years or more depending on the vintage. Its enchanting aromas of mango, peach and lemongrass lead into a fruity and pleasurable, yet highly mineraled and balanced palate. Would be excellent with scallops with saffron butter, scalloped veal and various French cheeses such as Chaource, Langres or Epoisses.
Domaine Alain Gautheron Chablis Premier Cru “Mont de Milieu”
From vines with an average age of 35 years planted on Kimmeridgien soils, the wine is vinified and aged in stainless steel tanks, with the aging time ranging from 5 to 10 years or more depending on the vintage. It shows a rich nose of peaches, apricots and white flowers and a rich, balanced mouthfeel. An ideal match for foie gras, monkfish or even fresh lemon tart.
Domaine Alain Gautheron Chablis Grand Cru “Les Preuses”
From vines with an average age of 40 years planted on Kimmeridgien soils with a limestone bedrock, the wine is vinified and aged in stainless steel tanks, with the aging time ranging from 5 to 10 years or more depending on the vintage. Ripe and round, it has a nice peachy fruit profile. Yet it has racy minerality as well, without being as steely as some of the other crus. A simply delicious Chablis, perfect with a Dover sole or a roast chicken.