After sharply upgrading the Chablis offerings of this large estate in three short vintages ('04, '05 and '06), winemaker Jean Didier-Basch left the wine business earlier this year after coming into an inheritance. It remains to be seen how Long-Depaquit, owned by the Bichot family, will cope, but for the moment they have replaced Didier-Basch with the team of vineyard manager Olivier Deboudt, chief winemaker Alain Serveau and new regisseur Matthieu Mangenot, who was scheduled to come on board in July. Bichot cellarmaster Philippe Seguin, who consults here, described the 2006s as "fine and delicate wines with less structure than '05, a bit higher in acidity but also higher in pH." The crop level in 2006 was actually lower than that of 2005-about 40 hectoliters per hectare in the grand crus-due in part to some coulure during flowering. As a rule, 15% to 25% of the grand crus are done in barrel, but just 2% to 4% new oak is used. Incidentally, Long-Depaquit pulled out its virused vines in Montee de Tonnerre after the 2004 vintage and replanted them earlier this year. (Numerous importers, including Atherton Wine Imports, Atherton, CA)
Previously recommended: 2005 Chablis (88).
(done entirely in stainless steel) White peach, flowers and a whiff of oyster shell on the nose. Then fat and supple if a bit lacking in cut; quite rich for village wine but with a slight youthful bitterness and just enough acidity to maintain its shape.
Pale, bright color. Fruit salad and a whiff of tropical fruits on the nose. Fat and sweet, with pineappley fruit salad flavors dominating. A fatter style of Vaillons, mostly from the lieu-dit Les Epinottes, at the bottom of the hill.
(like the Vaillons, these vines average about 25 years of age) Pale, bright yellow. Musky lime and gunflint on the nose; much more mineral-driven than the Vaillons ("but then this is rive droite while Vaillons is rive gauche," notes Seguin). Rich, ripe and fuller than the nose would suggest, with sexy stone fruit and pineapple flavors firmed by dusty stone on the finish. This should offer considerable early appeal.
Pale color. Musky aromas of white peach, lime, quinine and flint. Rich, spicy and fat with fruit. A very rich wine with a firm, dry finish of powdered stone. This reminded me of the Vaucoupins in its enticing sugar/acid balance. But this is more minerally on the end, and shows a lighter touch.
Medium yellow. Musky, minerally aromas of stone fruits, brown spices, toast and iodine. Rich, round and spicy; tactile and powerful in the middle palate. Here I find some obvious oakiness, or is it simply the warmer, more Cote d'Or-like style of this wine? Finishes supple, spicy and strong, with a slight youthful bitterness that will call for a few years of bottle aging. Vaudesir is always highest in alcohol among our grand crus, says Seguin, while Blanchots has the strongest acidity.
(this "eighth grand cru" of Chablis is a sizable 2.34-hectare monopole, 95% within Vaudesir and the other 5% in Les Preuses) Good medium-pale yellow. Peach pit and peach flesh on the nose. Fat, ripe and spicy, lifted by a perfumed peachy quality. Dusty and tactile wine that's almost exotic in its silky thickness. The supple, palate-dusting finish features strong notes of brown spices. A bit more delicate than the Vaudesirs, and holding a lot in reserve.
($30; bottled in January of '07) Pale yellow. Aromas of peach and apricot, complicated by menthol, crushed stone and a cyanic peach pit note. Rich and ripe but not at all heavy, with a lovely floral quality to the stone fruit flavors. More shapely and gripping than the young '06, but still a fruity and supple style.
($32) Bright, pale yellow. Subdued but pure aromas of white flowers, menthol and mint; slightly medicinal in a positive way. Dense, concentrated and chewy but at the same time dry and uncompromising. Firm acidity gives it a light touch. Comes across as less minerally but more floral than the Vaillons, and more tactile on the back end. Very interesting Chablis premier cru.
($33) Pale yellow. Peach and apricot pit along with smoke and butter on the ripe nose, plus a honeyed note I did not find in the '06. Fresh, intense stone fruit and brown spice flavors show lovely inner-mouth aromatic character and lift. The rising, peachy finish is complex and perfumed.
($61) Good pale yellow. Initially closed nose opened with air to show ripe peach, hazelnut, smoke and spices. Then quite young and backward in the mouth, with good life to its stone fruit flavors, and with harmonious acidity leavening the wine's sweetness. Finishes dusty and classically dry, with a firm spine. In a very closed stage and not currently displaying its inherent complexity.
($64) Very ripe, expressive aromas of peach, hazelnut, marzipan and menthol. Broad, lush and sweet, with good citrus and mineral lift giving the middle palate a very suave light touch. Distinctly drier on the back end, with some spicy oak showing today. This, too, needs at least a few years in the bottle.
($59) Palish yellow. Delicate, classic aromas of peach, nuts, flowers and spices. Rich and penetrating, with an exhilarating sugar/acid balance giving the peachy fruit a crystalline quality. Very suave wine, with a firm, rising finish exhibiting excellent length.
($98) Reticent nose opened with aeration to reveal stone fruits, crushed rock, silex, marzipan and a faintly carnal aspect. Sweet, penetrating and intense, with youthfully backward flavors of peach, spices and dusty stone. Very rich, ripe and powerful Chablis with a resounding and very sexy finish that combines minerality with sweet, spicy fruit.