Friday, April 24, 2009

Wine of the Week - Domaine Oudin Chablis

2006 Domaine Oudin Chablis Les Serres, $22, Jenny & François Selections. Christiane Oudin and her husband Jean-Claude took over her father's small 2 hectare estate in Chichée, very close to the town of Chablis, in 1988. Christiane's father did not bottle his own wine, instead selling his grapes to the négoce, and his farming methods were quite far from organic - perhaps guaranteeing a full harvest and supporting his family were more important to him than organics and biodynamics. The nerve on him! Christiane and Jean-Claude preferred a more natural farming philosophy, and now their daughter Nathalie continues in that direction.

The family has acquired more land since 1988 - there are now 8 hectares, including small parcels in two 1er Cru vineyards, Vaugiraut (.75 hectare) and Vaucopins (.40 hectare), the latter of which is not imported to the US. There is also a basic Chablis which is not imported to New York, although it does go to other states.

I emailed Jenny Lefcourt to ask about Les Serres and she said that it means greenhouse, so perhaps that plot of vines is in a warmer spot than the other village-level Chablis holdings, only the best of which also make it into Les Serres. The wine is fermented in tank without added yeasts, and aged in tank also, spending 2 years on its lees. This extended lees-aging gives the wine a rich and creamy nuance that acts as a counterpoint to the vivid acidity and the sharp minerality of the wine.

The 2006 is a beautiful wine, an attention grabber. Not because it is super concentrated or brimming with fruit or anything like that, but because it is so perfectly balanced. 2006 was a warm year in Chablis and I've had several wines that are flabbier than usual. This wine is razor sharp though, with a lithe muscular frame that right now in youth is coiled with potential energy. The fruit is perfectly ripe - not at all overdone, and there is great acidity. The wine feels supple in the mouth, and there are typical Chardonnay characteristics of citrus and orchard fruit, but this wine is absolutely and unmistakably Chablis, with prominent seashell and iodine notes, and almost punishing minerality. White flowers drift in and out, waves of fruit pass through, but the Chablis core is steady, and the wine is completely and exuberantly delicious. It's utterly drinkable now, but it seems well structured enough to cellar well for up to 5 years, although that will be genuinely difficult to accomplish unless I put what I have left under lock and key, and lose the key.


Joe said...

Seems like we are seeing more Chablis here as of late - anything prompting this? Loved your post on pickled herring, and I would love to try some of those homemade delicacies some day.

Brooklynguy said...

Hi Joe - I guess it's a matter of my view of QPR. I find that $20-25 buys me world class Chablis, as opposed to pretty good white Burgundy. Lately I have to be as productive as I can with every $20-25 purchase. Pickled herring coming your way, provided you're in town in November or next spring.

RougeAndBlanc said...

Have you have the chance to compare the Les Serres and Oudin's other cuvee, the Fourchaume?
Also, where did you find the Les Serres at $22?

Brooklynguy said...

hey andrew - i didn't know they even make Fourchaume. I thought they make only what I wrote in this post. that's what the importer told me, anyway...i found it for $22 at Astor Wines, although the price is a little bit higher now.