Domaine Daniel-Etienne Defaix, Vaillon 1er Cru 2009

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Grapes are planted in a steeply sloped (28 degrees) hill in the original parcel of “Vaillon”» with a southeast exposure. The soil here is particularly influenced by iron deposits which yields a wine of fruit and spice and great density. The Vaillons is influenced by notes of “soubois” and, although lacking the elegance of its two companion 1er Crus, it is often the most generous wine of the domaine. The average age of the vines is 45 years.

92 Points William Kelley, Wine Advocate

The 2009 Chablis 1er Cru Vaillon offers up aromas of waxy citrus, beeswax, fresh peach and dried white flowers, followed by a medium to full-bodied, ample and satiny palate with lively acids and a broad, expansive finish. Defaix's 2007 and 2008 Vaillon bottlings are still quite tight, but the 2009 is already wide open. On my most recent visit to the Defaix winery, I tasted with Paul-Etienne Defaix, the 15th generation of the family to perpetuate the domaine. Demand for the wines is high. The estate's 2010 premiers crus were bottled this year, with plans to release them once the 2009s, reviewed here, are sold out. While I knew Defaix practiced very long élevage, I confess I hadn't quite realized just how long, but a tour of the winery revealed tank after tank, full of Chablis patiently awaiting its moment in the limelight. Since my last visit, 2007 and 2008 have both come and gone, but I tried examples of both and found much to admire. The 2009s, on first encounter, are richer and more developed in style, as is to be expected of that warmer, more giving vintage.

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