Lost and Found: William Fevre Chablis Fourchaume 2006

chablisI love finding things unexpectedly; like when you put on a coat you haven’t worn for a few months and find a $20 bill in the pocket. That’s a great surprise. (Except that in my coats there’s never more than $1.)

Yesterday I dug into the hard-to-reach places in my wine fridge and found — a half bottle of white Burgundy. I’d forgotten it was there, and still can’t remember who gave it to me (probably a distributor rep trying to win points). But I didn’t care. I had a potentially great bottle of wine to taste, as we sat on our deck on a beautiful summer evening.

The wine is William Fevre Chablis Premier Cru Fourchaume 2006, so it’s a white Burgundy from the Chablis region. Many of you may know that the Chardonnay-based wines of Chablis are known for their austere, flinty, style. They typically never see an oak barrel, and the cool climate in northern Burgundy produces plenty of acid in the grapes, and adds ageability to the wines.

I was anxious to see how this 2006 was drinking. When I poured it into our glasses, the wine was beautiful to look at. The color was a crystal-clear pale lemon yellow, suggesting a delicate palate to follow.

The nose was — nothing, at first. This wine really needed to be worked over in the glass, so I swirled and swirled to get some oxygen into it. When the aromas finally released, I was surprised. Instead of the citrus and flint I’d expected, I smelled tapioca, butterscotch, and maybe even creme brulee. All these rich aromas from a Chablis??

The palate surprised me again. Instead of the butterscotch that I’d smelled, I tasted flint and seashells, with no discernible fruit flavors or richness at all.

Now that’s what I expect from Chablis. Their version of Chardonnay is all about the style (clean), the texture (crisp) and the finish (chalky). “Fruity” is never an adjective that you’d expect to apply to Chablis.

My only puzzle about this wine is the disconnect between the rich, seductive nose and the austere palate. But maybe that’s how it’s supposed to be: like a great piece of art or a really interesting person, there’s way more than meets the eye, or the nose. The fun is in exploring what’s beneath the surface.

I’m sure this wine has a few more years to go before it reaches maturity, and a few years after that when it’ll still be fun to drink. Right now, it’s elegant and mysterious, and I’d urge you to find a cool bistro or cafe, order a plate of raw oysters, and sip this William Fevre Chablis. That’s a match made in heaven. Cheers!



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