Tag Archives: Domaine Bernard Defaix

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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