2010 Louis Michel & Fils Chablis Vaudésir Grand Cru
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RP 94 points
(Read the full review below)
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Domaine Louis Michel & Fils 94pts and Parker's "Purest Expression" of Mineral Chardonnay

In the summer of 1983, we made our first stop in Chablis. The dollar was strong. We booked a $20 room at the Hostellerie au Clos in the center of town, then enjoyed a prix fixe Michelin star dinner for thirty-eight bucks a head. On successive mornings, we made the rounds, visiting every top name in the appellation -- and all the significant landholders of the appellation's "Grand Crus" -- on foot. Vincent Dauvissat was just next door. The reclusive Francois Raveneau was tinkering in his cellar a couple blocks away. Up the street was William Fevre, and on the other side of the square, behind the cafe where we'd play afternoon games of pinball, were the Pinson brothers and the storied estate of Louis Michel.

Not much has changed in Chablis over the last three decades. The hotel is still there, albeit under new ownership. The village octogenarians sip glasses of Sauvignon de St. Bris at our favorite cafe, just as their fathers did. The names of the Grand Cru estates remain the same, even if the cellarmasters have skipped a generation.

In 2010, the young Turks of Chablis were delivered a harvest which many in town compare favorably with the great 1978 and 1985 -- a miracle growing season that delivered a tiny crop of small berry Grand Cru clusters to Chablis' Gang of Six. The Raveneaus and Dauvissats performed barrel-fermented magic, delivering lineups that would outperform the best of Meursault and Montrachet. Fevre shined, as did the Pinson brothers. But if one was looking for the most electrifyingly mineral interpretation of this monumental vintage -- Chardonnay absent the woodiness that often clouds Chablisien purity -- Louis Michel would turn out a single-vineyard Grand Cru Vaudésir that ranks among the estate's three or four finest since our first visit in 1983.

The growing season of 2010, one that would cause ample hair loss in town before a magical Indian summer led to a near-perfect harvest, began problematically. The weather was highly irregular during flowering, only to be followed by an unseasonably cool and wet June. The royal families of Chablis tripled their time in the vineyards over the summer, hand-clipping shattered berry clusters. The weather improved in June, before a warm, dry July. Mild temperatures returned in August and September, with plenty of sunshine tempered by refreshing showers. The harvest would begin in the end of September. On the steep slopes of Grand Cru "Vaudésir," Louis Michel's yields were down close to 30%. Sugars were excellent. Even more importantly, acids were riveting.

Robert Parker called Louis Michel's exquisite Chablis "the purest expressions of the stony Chardonnay fruit grown on the limestone slopes of this northern Burgundy appellation." With this 2010 "Vaudésir," Louis Michel has taken Parker's accolade up a notch.

Pale golden in color, with piercing aromas of apricot and orange blossom, the attack is rich and beautifully precise, absent the woody overtones that cloud so many Chablisien pictures. The Wine Advocate described it as "a gorgeous wine of immense pedigree and class," before lobbing on a 94pt score -- one of the highest of this monumental vintage.

Tasting Notes

2010 Louis Michel & Fils Chablis Vaudésir Grand Cru
"Readers will find an open, seductive and totally beautiful wine in the 2010 Chablis Vaudésir. An endless array of aromas and flavors emerges from the glass as this gorgeous wine shows off its immense pedigree and class. Nothing in particular stands out; instead it is the wine's sheer pleasure that is most captivating. In 2010, the Vaudésir is pure sensuality. Already alluring today, it also has enough depth to drink well for a number of years."
94 points -- Antonio Galloni, Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate

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