Vincent Dauvissat
Photo Credit: Stephen Tanzer
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"Two thousand six was a year of exceptional maturity, but without big acidity," observed Vincent Dauvissat. "The wines have more finesse and precision than the 2005s due to the clean harvest." Last year Dauvissat told me that he had a good bit of noble rot in 2005. When I mentioned that virtually none of his neighbors admitted to being affected by botrytis in '05, he replied that they might indeed be telling the truth. "I have more precocious rootstocks, and the grapes had more sugar when the rains came in mid-August, so they were more vulnerable to rot. Fortunately, the rot never got established in August of 2006." Dauvissat is unusually articulate when it comes to explaining the way each of his sites expresses itself in his wines, both in the early going and with bottle aging. Many growers have surprisingly little to say on this subject. Often I will ask a grower "what do you find?" when we're tasting a wine together. You might be shocked to learn how many have little more to say than "it's very fresh" or "that's for you to say," or simply admit "I'm not very good at describing my wines." (Vineyard Brands, Birmingham, AL; the Dauvissat-Camus label is imported by Classic Wine Imports, West Roxbury, MA)

2006 Domaine Vincent Dauvissat Petit Chablis

($30) Bright color. Very ripe aromas of stone fruits and flowers. Ripe and pliant, with integrated acidity framing the juicy flavor of crystallized lemon. Unusually intense and long for a wine with this appellation.


2006 Domaine Vincent Dauvissat Chablis

($35) Ripe lemon drop on the nose along with mineral suggestions. In a fatter style than the Petit Chablis but with more accompanying energy too. This shows distinct iodine and oyster shell notes and a rocky character. Finishes long and strong, with citrus peel flavors.


2006 Domaine Vincent Dauvissat Chablis Sechet

($49) Pale, bright yellow. Candied citrus peel, minerals and spices on the nose. Rather round on entry, then brisk and citric in the middle, with a strong calcaire quality giving it energy and cut. Compared to the village wine, this is dry to the point of austere, with the nervosite of classic Chablis. Finishes pure and long, with lemon and crushed stone notes. Would make a perfect accompaniment to raw oysters.


2006 Domaine Vincent Dauvissat Chablis Vaillons

($49) Pure, vibrant aromas of ginger, quinine, lemon and flowers. Dense, ripe and supple, with lovely intensity and cut to the flavors of citrus fruit, minerals and flowers. This has an exhilarating sugar/acid balance. The bracing, persistent finish features citrus zest and tangerine.


2006 Domaine Vincent Dauvissat Chablis La Forest

($49) Pale lemon-yellow color. Raw pineapple, chlorophyll, flowers and a subtle smoky nuance on the nose. Rich, silky and fine-grained, with strong mineral character contributing to the impression of precision and inner-mouth tension. A superb expression of stone. Very long, taut, insinuating finish.


2006 Domaine Vincent Dauvissat Chablis Les Preuses

($85) Pale, green-tinged color. Cool, aristocratic, high-pitched aromas of white peach, violet, licorice and minerals. Dense and silky but not at all thick; in fact, there's an uncanny juiciness to the flavors of apricot nectar and citrus fruits. Builds impressively on the back half, finishing chewy and tactile, with considerable power and a strong impression of youthful austerity. This really excites the taste buds, but I'd hold off on drinking it for at least five years.


2006 Domaine Vincent Dauvissat Chablis Les Clos

($85) Good pale color. Tight, very reticent aromas of wet stone and iodine; reminded me of Montrachet. Incredibly suave but wound tight today; the flavors of lemon, crushed rock and white flowers convey a powerful impression of mineral energy. Boasts the classic volume of Les Clos without any impression of weight. The mounting finish is classically dry, with a dominant flavor of grapefruit pith. This is outstanding from day one, but the least pliant today of these 2006s. Both this and the Preuses are outstanding examples of their respective vineyards, but great Preuses like Dauvissat's is harder to find.


2005 Domaine Vincent Dauvissat Petit Chablis

($28; at 14.5% alcohol, this is the highest of Dauvissat's 2005s) Pale, green-tinged color. Complex aromas of wet stone, minerals and lemon drop, plus hints of resin and toast. Distinctly minerally and dry, with a strong calcaire quality. There's richness here, but also a slight bitterness to the appley finish. Less pure than the 2006.


2005 Domaine Vincent Dauvissat Chablis

($31) Pale yellow. Lemon drop and a hint of toast on the nose. Soft, rich and broad, with solid acidity framing the candied lemon, soft citrus and spice flavors; showing less mineral precision and sweetness than the young 2006. This comes across as rather closed now, finishing with a metallic suggestion of bitter lemon.


2005 Domaine Vincent Dauvissat Chablis Sechet

($44) Pale color. Discreet nose hints at wet stone and brown spices. Silky on entry, then more brisk and pure than the village wine, with good lift to its citrus peel and crushed stone flavors. Dense and thick in texture but quite bracing. Finishes with a lingering flavor of grapefruit and a calcaire quality that titillates the salivary glands.


2005 Domaine Vincent Dauvissat Chablis Vaillons

($44) Medium-pale yellow. Complex, expressive aromas of orange zest, butter, almond and hazelnut; this could hardly be more different from the Sechet. Silky, fat and dry, with very rich flavors of soft citrus fruits, butter and almond. Finishes fat and quite long. I find some noble rot character here-no surprise, as there's more clay in the soil.


2005 Domaine Vincent Dauvissat Chablis La Forest

($44) Pale yellow. Vibrant, fruit-driven aromas of orange and lemon. Fat and silky on entry, then more austere in the middle, with terrific energy to the flavors of orange, pineapple, ripe grapefruit and wet stone. This boasts a lovely sweetness of flavor but will need a good six or seven years to really express itself. Still, the young 2006 is more pristine.


2005 Domaine Vincent Dauvissat Chablis Les Preuses

($75) Good pale yellow. Knockout nose combines peche de vigne and gingery spices, plus the same violety high note I found in the 2006. Rich, broad and tactile, with terrific energy and intensity to the slightly exotic flavors of orange, lemon peel, flowers and licorice. As silky as this is, it conveys an outstanding lightness of touch. Best today on the explosive, rocky, palate-staining finish, which offers a real whiplash of iodine, warm stone and citrus peel flavors. This vineyard was the least affected by botrytis in 2005, according to Dauvissat; the wine is the lowest in alcohol, but still a full 13.5%.


2005 Domaine Vincent Dauvissat Chablis Les Clos

($75) Bright, pale yellow. Classic, soil-inflected aromas of citrus fruits, clove, wet stone and iodine. Suave on entry, then quite high-pitched in the middle, with superb purity to the flavors of grapefruit, lemon and minerals. At once fine-grained and taut, with captivating floral lift. Like the Preuses, this is most impressive today on the highly complex, uncommonly long finish, which throws off notes of sexy brown spices, juniper and white pepper, along with an intriguing saline quality.

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