2019 Bernard Defaix Chablis 1er Cru Côte de Léchet Réserve
| Special 4-pack price (use code LECHET)
Two simple points worth considering:
1) Chablis is perhaps the single greatest value in wine.
2) This wine is perhaps the single greatest value in Chablis.
Didier Defaix, the man responsible for the wines at Domaine Bernard Defaix, produces wines that chart out at the very top of our pound-for-pound Chablis rankings. The wines are classic in every sense: understated, notably pure, insistently mineral, and terrifically transparent.
The domaine is the largest owner of the Côte de Léchet, and makes the most of the opportunity with a terrific 'regular' bottling of the vineyard. There is also, in far smaller quantity, an old-vine reserve bottling that sees longer aging, half of in in barrel. This wine, a true tête de cuvée as well as incomparable value, is spotlighted here. It is a wine I admire with the gusto typically reserved for the kinds of wines you can afford little glimpses of rather than a case or two.
In our world of 'try everything once' (I do this too!), I think it's equally valuable to have those wines that anchor us, wines that merit endless revisiting, each time reinforcing our most fundamental vinous priorities. This wine possesses the richness and variety to sustain fascination across as many bottles as we are willing to bring to the experiment.
Two scenarios. First, crack open a bottle with a dozen Wellfleets for the shortest possible path to pure gastronomic bliss. Along with Vaillons, Léchet produces the most oyster-friendly wine in Chablis, with its maritime aspects obvious and more discreet, inferential citrus fruit only behind these. Second, decant a bottle for a few hours and throw your best mustard-y salmon recipe at it. You'll find the wine adds a remarkable culinary range to its many other attractive qualities.
This is a masterclass in Chablis contained within a single wine. We are lucky that such wines are still available, particularly those of us who go on insisting on completeness and genuine personality at sensible prices. The curious should snag a couple, but savvier drinkers will be grateful to have a case to follow over the coming months.