Sebastien Dauvissat
Photo Credit: Stephen Tanzer
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.Sebastien Dauvissat described 2004 as a huge crop with a lot of oidium (he didn't even bother to pick the grapes in his most affected vines in Vaillons).He harvested at the beginning of October and believes he has made very well balanced wines with sound acidity, similar in style to the 2002s.Dauvissat bottled most of his 2003s in May of this year, but still had his old-vines Vaillons and Les Preuses in tank at the beginning of June.Dauvissat told me he did a bit of additional acidification after the malos in 2003 "by taste and by good conscience.The wines have strong material and can support it.I wanted to give them more of a chance to age."Dauvissat advised waiting at least five years before drinking his 2003 crus, and noted that the estate's 1947 Vaillons is still fresh.Indeed, most of Dauvissat's 2003s struck me as particularly impressive in the way they avoid exotic, overripe notes.Interestingly, Dauvissat maintained that the estate's practice of harvesting by machine worked to advantage in 2003.He could pick quickly without getting surmaturite, he told me, and the machine did not take many of the grilled, hard grapes.(Rosenthal Wine Merchant, Shekomeko, NY)

2004 Caves Jean et Sebastien Dauvissat Chablis

Lemon and mint on the somewhat metallic nose. Leanish, pure and lemony, with good cut. The metallic character repeats on the palate. Fresh and uncompromisingly dry, but not hard.


2004 Caves Jean et Sebastien Dauvissat Chablis Vaillons

Riper aromas of lemon peel, white pepper, menthol and minerals. Juicy, pure and citric, offering more texture, sweetness and length than the village wine.


2004 Caves Jean et Sebastien Dauvissat Chablis Montmains

(a blend of 30- and 15-year-old vines) Reduced, slightly metallic nose dominated by lemon candy. Then quite dry and lemony in the mouth, but with good underlying density; turned rounder and sweeter as it opened in the glass. Finishes with good volume and grip.


2004 Caves Jean et Sebastien Dauvissat Chablis Sechet

(15-year-old vines) Very pale yellow. Discreet, minerally nose. Quite dry and tight, with a steely flavor of underripe pineapple. Not yet showing its fruit or personality. Distinctly lean but not meager. Best today on the aromatic, citric finish.


2004 Caves Jean et Sebastien Dauvissat Chablis Vaillons Vieilles Vignes

(part fermented in barrel and part in cuveSexy aromas of pineapple, lemon, coconut and spices. Intensely flavored and a bit more forthcoming than the Sechet, with more layered flavors of pineapple and lemon. A steeliness contributes vibrancy to the wine, and the long finish is still a bit youthfully tart.


2004 Caves Jean et Sebastien Dauvissat Chablis Les Preuses

(aging in oak, but Dauvissat used no new barrels for this cuvee in 2004) Exotic fruit aromas of pineapple and passion fruit sweetened by toasty oak. Rather powerful and sharply delineated, with raw pineapple and stone flavors framed by strong acidity. The slight exotic aspect is repeated in the mouth. Very crisp and long on the aftertaste. This and the Vaillons Vieilles Vignes will not be bottled until next July! Strong juice.


2003 Caves Jean et Sebastien Dauvissat Chablis

($25; bottled just a few weeks prior to my visit) Very ripe aromas of peach and apricot, with a smoky nuance. Fat with stone fruits and lemons, with the wine's sweetness balanced by sound acids. Not a minerally style, but quite fresh for the vintage, and not showing any obvious signs of surmaturiteVery good village wine.


2003 Caves Jean et Sebastien Dauvissat Chablis Montmains

($36; bottled in May) Reticent nose hints at crystallized lemon peel, grapefruit and menthol. Lemon-limey on the palate, with solid mineral spine giving it power and penetration. This, too, largely avoids the vintage signature. "Montmains can be nicely balanced in very ripe years," notes Dauvissat.


2003 Caves Jean et Sebastien Dauvissat Chablis Sechet

($36; bottled in January) Pale color. Shallower aromas of grapefruit, spearmint and menthol. Leaner than the Montmains, with less material to buffer its alcohol. A less convincing premier cru, finishing a bit tart. Dauvissat put this wine in barrel for its last five month in an attempt "to open the wine," but I find this quite tight and a bit hot. The younger vines here were the most grilled by sun in 2003, admitted Dauvissat.


2003 Caves Jean et Sebastien Dauvissat Chablis Vaillons

($36) Aromas of oily canned pineapple and licorice. Then lean, juicy and tight, with fairly intense flavors of grapefruit, lemon and powdered stone. A bit drier and less long than the Montmains, but here the minerality generally takes longer to show itself.


2003 Caves Jean et Sebastien Dauvissat Chablis Vaillons Vieilles Vignes

($50; tasted from cuve; partly vinified in barriquesExpressive aromas of pineapple, candied lemon peel and spicy oak. Broad but quite dry in the mouth, with rather austere flavors of pineapple, minerals and oak spice. Fresh, linear and light on its feet. Finishes with good cut and virtually no sign of surmaturite


2003 Caves Jean et Sebastien Dauvissat Chablis Les Preuses

($85; tasted from cuve, but this was vinified entirely in barrels) Good pale color with a green tinge. Aromas of lemon, pineapple and nutmeg. Very rich and spicy, with a slightly raw oakiness yet to be absorbed. Not particularly 2003 in style, but less classic Chablis than the old-vines Vaillons. Clearly the deepest of these 2003s, but awkward today, even slightly bitter-edged. Dauvissat pointed out that the wine hasn't been racked for nine months and will be sweetened by the racking it receives prior to bottling in July or September.

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