I have yet to discover a Chardonnay made elsewhere that can rival Chablis in its vivid expression of place, which is why I’m thrilled to offer this 2012 Simonnet-Febvre Chablis 1er Cru Fourchaume — gorgeous Chardonnay in its purest form. This is a wine of great nuance and precision with notes of fresh-cut lime, orange zest and white flowers, all amplified by a vibrant streak of mouthwatering acidity. The focused, energetic finish resonates long after the last sip. A brilliant Premier Cru Burgundy for under $40 is more than a rare find, it’s a unicorn. I’m convinced that Premier Cru Chablis still represents incredible value when it comes to fine wine. Considering the steadily rising prices in Burgundy, $34.99 for Premier Cru anything is increasingly rare, and this wine is absolutely singing. Secure your share now.
When I first visited the vineyards of Burgundy back in 2008, the wisdom of the monastic orders that carefully segmented these vineyards was on full display. I could see first-hand the differences in soil profile and exposition delineating vineyards only a few meters apart from each other. I’d tasted plenty of Burgundy before that time, but I had never been afforded the chance to do comparative tastings of wines coming from village level, Premier Cru, and Grand Cru vineyards on such a large scale. During this visit, as I was tasting these wines side by side, the quality differences resulting from these subtle changes came into clear view.
Perhaps nowhere was this contrast as clearly delineated as in Chablis. The cold, marginal climate and divergent soil compositions combined with the transparent approach to winemaking rendered the qualitative differences in ripeness, concentration, and ageability between wines from different levels in the quality hierarchy all the clearer.
LiveEx, an industry-specific website that tracks the market value of fine wines, notes that the value of Burgundy wines has outpaced all other fine wine categories since 2010. In the last 8 years, Burgundy wines have seen a staggering 108% climb in market value, according to LiveEx. With all this in mind, I’m convinced that Premier Cru Chablis still represents incredible value when it comes to fine wine — and discovering one so brilliant in an under $40 package is a rarity.
But price and market value is secondary to sheer quality, and wines like this 2012 Simonnet-Febvre Chablis from the Fourchaume Premier Cru can provide tremendous pleasure and refreshment shortly after bottling, but also possess the necessary intensity and structure to develop a richness and complexity with cellaring. At 5 years old the Simonnet Febvre is still incredibly youthful and fresh; it can easily slumber for another 5 years or more.
The 2012 vintage in Chablis was severely limited in size, first by a major spring frost and later exacerbated by cool weather at flowering. In spite of these challenges, the overall quality of the wines produced at Simonnet-Febvre was exceptional. The deep experience of the house, which has been producing wines for almost 180 years, enabled them to optimize the quality of the small crop, achieving fruit ripeness without compromising on the freshness and salinity that are the hallmarks of great Chablis.
Just thinking about this wine makes my mouth water and my mind wander to oysters on the half shell. I’ve never had a food and wine pairing work better than that simple match. In fact, I think I may take my spare sample bottle over to the Oxbow Market in Napa and enjoy a glass or two with a dozen ultra-fresh, ice-cold Hog Island oysters tonight.
I invite you to secure your share now.
Adam Lapierre MW
Master of Wine
Vice President of Wine, Wine Access