Tag Archives: Chablis

The Vincast with Josh Cooper from Cobaw Ridge

On part-one of this special episode of The Vincast, I’m joined by Josh Cooper. Josh’s family established Cobaw Ridge in the Macedon Ranges the same year he was born, at a time when growing grapes for wine was pretty risky in such a cool climate. They found great success with their wines, particularly after converting to biodynamics. Josh spent time studying viticulture and winemaking at Adelaide University, and in the past few years has not stopped, working vintages in Australia and Europe. Recently he has started a few local projects of his own, making some left-of-centre styles that are turning a few heads.

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Josh Cooper Wines

Josh Cooper Wines

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Eurocentric Tasting – 9/07/2013

Neville Yates imports wines from Europe, South Africa and New Zealand under his Eurocentric banner. I was first introduced to him when I was the wine buyer for King & Godfree, tasting a few of the wines with him. On my journey I visited some German wineries and caught up with several more at Prowein, leading me to surmise that he has one of the best collection of German producers in Australia. His range is eclectic at times with more than a few ‘natural’ producers that come up with some interesting examples. He was showing some of the new arrivals at Pei Modern in Melbourne.

Francesco Scanavino Diamant Blanc 2008
Very classic metodo classico nose. Generous fruit, fairly simple and clean on the front, hint if creamy texture.

Lancelot-Pienne Blanc de Blancs
Fairly developed open autolysis notes, very yeasty bready. Nice oxidative citrus.

Champagne Geoffroy Expression Brut
Cleaner tighter yeast notes. Rounder more earthy savoury dark berry notes, heavier on the pinot noir?

Champagne Secret Rosé
Open generous ripe red fruit nose, but tight fine and crisp savoury texture on the palate.

Champagne Chartogne-Taillet Rosé Brut
Fine pure but very complex cheesy charcuterie nose. Bold full expressive combination of red citrus and subtle savoury meats.

Benoit Ente Bourgogne Aligoté 2009
Oak dominant chardonnay style. Soft gentle vanilla creamy texture, some white peach.

Gautheron Chablis 2011
Sharp fig kiwi skin, overly leesy. Flat and dull.

Domaine Oudin Chablis 2009
Rich creamy buttery chardonnay openness. Overworked flabby lacking focus and crispness.

Domaine Arnaud Tessier Meursault Casse-Tetes 2010
Nice developed stone fruit and oak maturity integrated. Bold and generous but not heavy or hot, fairly rich and creamy from malo, but elegant and complex.

Arnaud Ente 2008 Meursault
Much more exuberant and flintier, more citrus than stone. Fuller smokier toaster, better malo integration, dense.

Dombeya Stellenbosch Chardonnay 2011
Big whack of ripe creamy juicy pineapple. Fairly soft subtle but showing that sweet vanilla pineapple crumble character.

Domaine Montvac Mélodine Vacqueyras 2011
Spicy quince apricot kernel. Open light round spice fruit friendliness.

Willi Schaefer Graacher Trocken 2011
Clean pure lime sherbet. Crisp very light pure and excellent for the price.

Schloss Lieser Dry 2011
More intense mineralic ripe deep fruit notes. More intensity and character, fuller fresher.

Emrich-Schönleber Monziger Halenberg Trocken 2011
Slightly earthy red soil minerality, subtle orange sherbet. Bold texture, generosity and density of fruit and acid.

Rebholz Kastanienbusch GG 2011
Open savoury earthy natural wild style. Subtle subdued broad. Singular.

Pierre Frick Riesling 2010
Candied oxidised pear banana caramel. Nondescript middling Alsace wine.

Grunhauser Bruderberg 2011
Intense quince floral kumquat notes. Density of viscosity and sugar, nice bite of acidic quince notes.

Emrich-Schönleber Lenz 2010
On the stripped side, de-acidified? Flat on the finish.

Forstmeister Geltz Zilliken Riesling 2009
Nice density and ripeness. Great depth and character, dry sweet well-balanced.

William Schaefer Graacher Domprobst Kabinett 2011
Spicy savoury mineral complexity, nice lively fruit profile, round and yet brisk.

Fritz Haag Brauneberger Kabinett 2011
Very quiet subtle nose, but delivering plenty on the palate, wonderful length and focus, but plenty of personality.

Rebholz Birkweiler Kastanienbusch Spätlese 2011
Wild green pepper spice fig. Generosity yet exquisitely balanced sweetness. Loving this producer.

Schäfer Frölich Halenberg Spätlese 2009
Nice talcy flinty lifted citrus floral minerality. Bold full viscous sweetness, but just a hint of complex savouriness.

Schäfer-Fröhlich Halenberg Spätlese 2005
Nice generous soft rich ripe but not heavy. Still plenty of life but looking simple currently.

Dombeya Sauvignon Blanc Stellenbosch 2012
Tight green under-ripe.

Ataraxia Sauvignon Blanc South Africa 2012
Big tropical passion fruit. Delivers exactly what people want and is very good to boot.

Sebastian Riffault Akmèniné Sancerre 2008 (naturel)
Smells like pure honey. But still dry. Interesting, not sure it’s great though. Hipster wine?

Intellego Chenin Blanc 2011 Swartland
Interesting texturally. Different in terms of fruit to Vouvray etc.

Domaine de la Tournelle Trousseau des Corvées 2011
Clean sharp precise but good personality. Most certainly a food wine.

Roland Pignard Beaujolais Villages 2010
Strawberry spice. Very lovely.

Jean-Marc Burgaud Morgon Les Charmes 2011
Lean spicy under-ripe.

Pierre Thillardon Chenas Les Boccards 2010
Mean and lean, sharp.

Emile Ballard Le Grand Chemin 2008
Nice soft berry notes. Still on the sharp acidic side, a little aldehydic.

Scanavino Barbera d’Asti 2011
Tight brisk, great balance of dark fruits and spicy mulberry.

Domaine Des Espiers Cotes Du Rhone 2011
Bright fresh sufficiently savoury spicy but light and friendly with a touch of length.

Domaine Des Espiers Gigondas 2010
Earthy savoury spice, base of dark fruits underneath. Round soft yet fresh savoury red berries.

Domaine Faury Syrah 2011
Quite spicy and peppery. On the boring side…

Domaine Faury Saint Joseph 2009
A tad too much sweet oak.

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Keep it simple (Chablis, France – Day Two)

If anyone has played competitive team sport in their life they may have heard of the KIS principle, which stand for Keep It Simple. Looking back on my trip I am finding it fascinating that many of the wineries and regions that I most connected with have this same principle in mind. Even more interesting is that this connection was regardless of red or white wine, but applied to philosophies and practices as well as style. The clarity purity and minerality of the rieslings I tasted in Germany blew me away, as did the gruner veltliners in Austria. Some of the best wines I tasted in Spain were those that were straightforward and approachable, such as the albarinos in Rias Baixas and the verdejos in Rueda. In terms of French wine, the simple white wines of the Loire Valley and Chablis have a special place in my heart, as the minimal intervention they make in the wineries means it is purely the expression of the variety in their particular terroir. In fact there are a number of similarities in terms of climate and soil composition between Sancerre, Pouilly and Chablis, but the latter chooses to express through chardonnay rather than sauvignon blanc. The minerality of these regions is legendary, but I am starting to see there are some different expressions that still follow the KIS principle.

Some of the characters of Chablis

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Jean Marc Brocard – 4/12/2012

Petit Chablis 2011
Grassy crisp green light citrus lemon lime notes, quite simple and fresh. Ripe fresh dense and broad, very pleasant and good for the style.

Chablis Vielles Vignes 2011
Smokier flinty minerality, crisp and focused but elegant. Dense and both full yet green. Pleasant enough but lacking finesse and minerality on the palate.

Julien Brocard 2010 La Boissonneuse
Rich ripe concentrated fruit, stone-fruit as opposed to citrus. Nice focus and balanced through the palate, nothing sticking out, has kind of an ungainly fruit-sweetness to it.

Cotes des Lechets 2009 Premier Cru
Focused clean and pure, quite delicate and precise but with some delicate richness. Broad and a little clumsy, good acids and balanced alcohol, just a tad fat.

Vaulorent 2010 Premier Cru
Rich broad better focus, clean and tight but approachable. Plenty going on in this one, much better expression and style. Good fruit ripeness.

Vaudesir 2010 Grand Cru
Bright crisp and lovely ripe fruit, very inviting. Very tight and mineralic with some late open richness and ripeness. Quite precise clean and lacking in depth and character. Well made example of Chablis but far from distinguished.

Les Preuses 2009 Grand Cru
Good, not great. I’ll drink it if it’s in the glass.

Domaine Jean Marc Brocard

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Domaine Louis Michel – 4/12/2012

Chablis 2011
Pure delicate bright crisp mineral and citrus notes, very classic freshness. Wonderful depth concentration and extension, plenty of character and delivery of fruit, warmth and minerality. Vibrant but still austere and elegant.

Montmains 2011 Premier Cru
Tighter more sherbet lift and vibrancy without being as open and generous. More intense, pretty dense and impenetrable, very young and quite tight for now, brooding minerality and concentration, given time will open out beautifully. Very focused, more savoury and texture coming through to balance the fruit.

Sechets 2011 Premier Cru
Smokier flintier concentration, very tight minerals and closed fruit. Dense but at the same time rich, generous and creamy texture, broader but still very focused. A little more dirty and wild in style compared to the others, really all about the texture with this wine.

Butteaux 2010 Premier Cru
Very subtle seashell notes, focused and pure with bright citrus notes. Very full intense rich and expressive in fruit, but exceptionally long with excellent finesse on the back palate. Some serious savoury notes, a masculine expression, dense and brooding.

Montee de Tonnerre 2010 Premier Cru
Classic Chablis aroma, bright citric fruit with some blossomy white flowers. Wonderfully open for such a young wine, very delicate for now though. Full expression, a little warm and out of balance, almost looking a touch fat, needs more time to soften out.

Vaudesir 2010 Grand Cru
Extremely subtle complex and delicate, very closed and intense. Certainly more in the salty mineralic region. Truly a contemplative wine. Layers of complexity move their way back on the palate, rich but not full heavy fat or creamy, detours all over the place, lingering beautifully. One of those wines.

Grenouilles 2010 Grand Cru
A little bit too closed for now, far too young. Nice density but not the same level of concentration. Very fine and elegant, lifted and complex but not expressing very much. May open up over time, but not seeing as much potential as the others. A much more delicate style for the vintage.

Les Clos 2010 Grand Cru
Classic Chablis, lovely bright rich citrus stone fruit and floral notes, exuberant and inviting. Open rich friendly opulent. Nice balance of fruit, but perhaps I am not a fan of this vineyard, the wines are a little too easy for me?

Montee des Tonnerres 2000
Classic old chardonmay/Chablis aromas. Cat piss, grapefruit. Quite rich broad and open on the palate, mature slightly oxidised fruit characters, a little creaminess but just classic bottle aged style.

Montmains 1995
Creamy and rich yet very soft, rounding out a lot, exuberant minerality and acidity in youth has faded and integrated into the texture and the fruit. Still very fresh, retaining all of its colour, but fleshing out, opening and rounding and showing a lot more toasty complexity.

Domaine Louis Michel & Fils

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Domaine Patrick Piuze – 4/12/2012

2012 Les Minots (Vaillons)
Wonderfully bright and concentrated, but great salinity and texture. Fills the mouth, wonderful depth and concentration, breadth and elegance.

2012 Les Forets
More closed on the nose, very complex, richer yet quieter. Still going through fermentation, rich creamy, nice concentration. Clean pure finish.

2012 Butteaux
Much smokier popcorn aromas, some toasty richness, rounder on the nose. Fuller yet drier expression, very bold and intense.

2012 Vaulorent
Bright intense stone fruit nose, very exuberant and inviting. Brighter cleaner more elevated fruit profile, minerality yet to express. Purity and liveliness.

2012 Montee de Tenniere
Wonderfully full, very generous, excellent richness and intensity, dense powerful, bright and almost tropical. Expressive fruit but still balanced savoury notes and minerality.

2012 Bougrots
Bright but also pretty serious, quite intense. Very subtle light and clean, quite mineralic.

2012 Les Blanchots
Completely different aromatically, richer earthier bolder concentration quite tight. Super intense and concentrated on the palate.

2012 Valmur
Rich and round, dense fruit, lifted slight flinty struck-match. Precise concentrated not as exuberant in the fruit, a little closed for now.

2012 Preuses
Soft generous full and rich, but also a little mysterious. Unctuous richness but very soft and elegant, quite assured and relaxed.

2012 Les Clos
Bold excited smoky pop-corny reduction. Les Clos turned up to 11, everything is just a little bit more. Really intense passion-fruit, not overtly tropical but biting and intense.
Domaine Patrick Piuze

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Domaine Pinson – 4/12/2012

Chablis 2011
Lovely and bright, juicy citrus and apple notes, some apple blossom and lemon rind to round things out, a little smoky and a little creamy. Quite full and expressive on the palate, rounds out on the mid-palate before focusing on the back and finishing cleanly with minerality and finesse. Good character and expression, not thin or hollow.

Cuvee Mademoiselle 2011 Chablis
Noticeable but still subtle difference with the barrel fermentation, delicate complex nutty aromas over the slightly riper more concentrated fruit aromas. Denser fuller and more textured on the front and middle palates, but still a nice clean finish with finesse. A little bit too strong on oak for the moment, will benefit with some time.

Montmain 2010 Premier Cru
Riper and more concentrated nose, brighter stronger, richer fruits, less citrus more stone fruit. Denser and more concentrated on the palate, much more complex and a lot going on, I like the spontaneous ferment influence going on, very intense and more interesting structure. Excellent balance between fruit, acid, minerality, barrel and some other complex components.

Vaillons 2010 Premier Cru
Denser and a little darker, much more savoury notes on the nose, a little hard to pinpoint but strangely reminds me of pasta sauce(!). A little creamy and vanilla. Fuller and more expressive, showing a bit more warmth, very powerful but still elegant and restrained, complex with quite a bit of savoury notes. Extreme minerality.

Mont-de Milieu 2010 Premier Cru
Extremely closed aromatically, showing almost nothing on the nose, closed or bottle open too long? Needs more time in bottle? Certainly full on the palate, very little on the front, kicks in on the mid and explodes on the back-palate. Dense and with warm creaminess, a touch aggressive for the moment, interesting to taste in a few more years to see how and if it evolves.

Les Clos 2010 Grand Cru
SO classically Chablis, pure minerality, lifted florals, bright yet complex fruit. The promise of riches if aged well. Concentrated and complex. Generous rich soft, creamy texture, opulent broad yet focused minerality and acidity, rolls across the palate, delicate long finish. Wonderful graduation backwards.
Domaine Pinson

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The name game (Chablis, France – Day One)


When I was younger I didn’t like my name. In terms of my first name I didn’t really have a problem with James, but I didn’t like it being such a common name, nor did I like derivations and colloquialisms of it, like Jim, Jimmy or Jamie. Considering how uncommon my surname is and how much of an individual I attempted to be, you would think I would like my surname but this was not the case. I wasn’t a fan of the length of it nor did I like the fact that people could neither spell it by ear nor could they pronounce it when reading it. I love my name now, being proud of its uniqueness and also as the last male Scarcebrook in the family I have a sense of obligation to continue the name. People in Europe, particularly France, are similarly fiercely proud of their names, often naming their children after themselves. Continuing the family name carries over to the family business as well, but complications arise with splitting of estates between children or establishing new estates with the same name. Within the same village it is not uncommon to find several producers of the same name, and within an entire region this could multiply significantly. Not for the first time on my trip I arrived at the wrong winery because it had essentially the same name, even though there is no relation between them. This gets complicated out in the market as a producer’s name is effectively their brand, so when someone else is using the same brand their products can reflect on your own reputation. I guess this is another complication that makes wine so special, and it is important to trust your source, be it a restaurant, store or importer.

Limestone clay and a bit of chalk

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Domaine Bernard Defaix – 3/12/2012

Petit Chablis 2011
nice clean lean and green minerality and fruit. Level of concentration much better here, the wines actually have character and depth to them. Wonderful balance but certainly more to them.

Chablis 2011
Higher level of concentration of fruit, still very restrained and clean, minerals beginning to poke through. Richer depth and length, late minerality. Great balance with weight and crispness, very harmonious on the palate, nothing really sticking out at all.

Les Lys 2011 Vaillons Premier Cru
Wonderfully lifted minerality, struck-match, very delicate and fine, elegant, a little bit closed for now. Quite an explosion in the mid-palate, really great brightness and concentration of fruit, lovely clean mineralic finish, elegant but also full and rich.

Les Vaillons 2011 Premier Cru (Vaillon & Sechers)
Less but somehow more mineralic, not struck-match but almost a green minerality(?) Like the Chablis showing some agave notes on the nose. Similar density but much more structure. Lifted above the palate, tighter and more brooding.

Cote de Lechets 2011 Premier Cru
Really intense flint struck-match minerality on the nose, almost blanketing the fruit at the moment. Wonderful volume, fills the mouth without invading it, a little wild and unchained, but still pure and balanced. This is a slightly different expression of Chablis, I like the risk-taking attitude towards them, especially as it pays off.

Chablis Vielles Vignes 2010 (Village)
Very subtle and closed, intense brooding. Powrful explosion on the palate, hugely concentrated acids and fruit without being open, looking a little warm and aggressive at the moment, will open up over a much longer period. The difference is noticeable between the vintages.

Cote de Lechets Reserve 2010 (1 plot, 50 years old)
Subtle and subdued again, I wonder what treasures await… very complex, almost hauntingly subtle, very gentle but restrained jubilation. Serious acidity. Much better balance and integrated of fruit and acidity, alcohol very well contained as well. Great cellaring potential.

Bougros 2010 Grand Cru
Seally great but somehow not the same as the others. Full dense, plenty of minerality and excellent concentration. Somehow lacking…

Domaine Bernard Defaix

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Domaine Laroche – 3/12/2012

Petit Chablis 2011
Quite green and crisp, a touch talcy, not a lot of minerality nor fruit. Fresh zingy acids, some late fruit sweetness, very clean and drinkable, good value but far from a great wine. Delivers what’s expected.

Chablis Saint Martin 2011
A little denser and more expressive on the nose, introducing some floral notes, subdued citrus notes, starting to show a little bit of mature green/brown notes. Fuller in texture and weight, denser and darker minerality, breadth and persistence, very lively but not quite ripe enough, looking a touch warm.

Les Beauroys 2008 Premier Cru
Brighter fruitier bolder and more expressive on the nose, floral and concentrated. Depth and complexity, round generous with soft caressing acids and creamy texture, seems to be ageing a little already.

Les Vaillons 2008 Premier Cru
More mineral notes, darker and more brooding, wilder fruit characters, kind of edgy. All around the edges, flat in the middle. Lacking much depth and concentration, fruit not quite ripe enough. A little disappointing on the palate to be honest.

Les Vaillons 2007 Premier Cru
Deeper riper fruit notes, more akin to stone fruit than citrus. Much fuller in comparison, good level of ripeness and structure, balanced acidity and alcohol, some nice dried fruit characters. More going on in this wine and more potential down the line for ageing.

Les Blanchots 2008 Grand Cru
Very closed on the nose, almost a touch reductive, extremely subtle showing almost no fruit character. Full , builds on the palate but the density of the wine somehow doesn’t translate in the fruit, and subsequently looks both hollow and warm. Something went wrong with this vintage.

Les Blanchots 2006 Grand Cru
Inviting citrus sherbet sorbet aromas, quite flinty and a little smoky. Bold, expressive, quite concentrated, very dense and still quite locked-up. Brooding in its structure, masculine in its power, warm in its alcohol but much better balance and integration.

Reserve de l’Obedience Les Blanchots 2007 Grand Cru
Quite dense nice concentration, evidence of low yields. Full palate, good texture, complexity and weight, extension on the palate, but also a clean balanced finish.

Domaine Laroche

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