Wonderful French chardonnnay. Oh là là
Louis and Catherine Poitout are from old Chablisien families. Catherine’s father made wine for years before she was given a small plot of Petit Chablis to farm on her own. Louis’ father made wine in both Algeria and Chablis. They both knew each other as children, but then in 1994 they fell in love and the rest, as they say, is history.
They now own 18 hectares (44.48 acres), scattered between plots from North to South in the Chablis appellation. These unite Catherine’s lands in Chablis and Lignorelles to Louis’ holdings in Maligny and Villy, as well as the vines they purchased in the hamlet of Fleys. Petit Chablis composes 6.06 hectares and Chablis 10 hectares. They own some Fourneaux and Vaucoupin 1er Crus within their Chablis holdings. And most interestingly, they have a tiny (1.36 acres) plot of ungrafted centenary Petit Chablis vines! That’s almost unheard of anymore.
How is this possible?
The plot’s previous owner had focused on quantity over quality, and kept on complaining about the vines’ low yields and how difficult they were to work with. Finally frustrated, he sold the plot to Louis and Catherine, who quickly learned that these old vines were indeed strong-willed. Eventually they discovered a lack of graft at the base of the vines, which were planted to thick clay soils atop a plateau near the village of Villy. It turned out that the clay absorbed so much water in winter that the phylloxera pest couldn’t survive, so the vines remained alive and thriving for decades. The rest, as they say, is history.
At harvest, grapes are hand-picked and sorting takes place both in the field and at the winery. Louis and Catherine believe in showcasing what each vineyard can offer, so they focus on their parcels and don’t do any assemblage. Fermentation takes place in stainless steel to maintain the purity of the wines.