'Today Arnaud [Lavantureux] is in charge of wine-making, and is making a great job of it. This is a top source for Petit Chablis and Chablis...'
Jasper Morris, Inside Burgundy
I was stunned by a recent tasting of this spry set of '17s from Chablis rising star Arnaud Lavantureux. A top-notch Chablis vintage + impressive winemaking centered on extended barrel-aging (see: Dauvissat & Raveneau) impress strongly as shared features across the range. But there is equally fascinating variety to this trio, with three superb terroirs modulating these themes into their own particular keys.
'Vau de Vey,' a left-bank premier cru defined by its steep slope and exceptionally rocky terrain, is the sparest of the three. The nose leads with a lime-zest freshness and a stoniness that starts discreet and grows more vivid with a few minutes in the glass. 2017's tension guides along the palate brilliantly, though the fruit widens in the middle, a neat trick of élévage. Chablis has always seemed to me the concisest and most aphoristic of all the world's great wines; a wonderful example of this here.
'Beauroy' feels worlds away, though just a mile separates it from 'Vau de Vey.' Here we stretch into a more sweet-citrus direction, and its tangerine-y fruit feels remarkably solid and full following 'Vau de Vey.' Plenty of clarity and tension remain though, and the textural sophistication is wonderful, with the satin-y feel unique to barrel-aged Chablis.
The grand cru 'Preuses' offers a step up in complexity with a wide-ranging nose that adds ginger and chamomile touches to its (wait for it...) intensely citrus-y fruit. The spice notes give a 'wilder' feel here than you find in the rest of the range. I love the texture too, its combination of muscle and softness. More length than weight. 30-something brothers Arnaud and David Lavantureux have created quite a name for themselves among the Chablis-obsessed, though they remain relatively unkonwn outside this smallish circle. These '17s, benefitting from their top sites+ barrel-aging formula, are so convincing that they seem to express a general truth rather than merely represent a point of view, an impression not dissimilar to that produced by bottles of Raveneau and Dauvissat. They are also, for now, refreshingly affordable pleasures.