With each passing vintage, brothers Arnaud and David Lavantureux further cement their family domaine among the most exciting and reliable names in Chablis. In addition to bottling new cuvées from premier and grand cru sites, the youngsters have enacted changes to vineyard and cellar management resulting in the most pure, precise, expressive wines the domaine has ever released. While collectors and sommeliers chase after highly allocated Chablis from the appellation’s most illustrious names, the Lavantureux brothers quietly toil away in their stony vineyards, producing wines that rival the best at a fraction of the price. Their 2017 releases epitomize everything we look for in this appellation: lively, citrusy aromatics, deep layers of texture and flavor, loads of Kimmeridgian minerality, and scintillating refreshment with every sip. A new wine in the Lavantureux stable, the premier cru Beauroy is a round, ample expression of Chablis from a south-facing parcel. Silky and suave on the palate, it finishes with a whisper of salinity. Drink it over the next eight years.
With a sharp eye, natural instinct, and solid, Burgundian pragmatism, Roland Lavantureux is making no-nonsense Chablis that has come to be one of the most reliable of the old reliables here at Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant. Upon his completion of wine school in Beaune, Roland founded the domaine in 1978. Today, he is joined by his two sons, Arnaud works in the vineyards and cellar, while David takes the lead in marketing and sales. In addition to making a stunning Chablis, the Lavantureux family also bottles a Petit Chablis, two premier crus>, and three .
In eastern central France, Burgundy is nestled between the wine regions of Champagne to the north, the Jura to the east, the Loire to the west, and the Rhône to the south. This is the terroir par excellence for producing world-class Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
The southeast-facing hillside between Dijon in the north and Maranges in the south is known as the Côte d’Or or “golden slope.” The Côte d’Or comprises two main sections, both composed of limestone and clay soils: the Côte de Nuits in the northern sector, and the Côte de Beaune in the south. Both areas produce magnificent whites and reds, although the Côte de Beaune produces more white wine and the Côte de Nuits more red.
Chablis is Burgundy’s northern outpost, known for its flinty and age-worthy Chardonnays planted in Kimmeridgian limestone on an ancient seabed. Vézelay is a smaller area south of Chablis with similar qualities, although the limestone there is not Kimmeridgian.
To the south of the Côte de Beaune, the Côte Chalonnaise extends from Chagny on its northern end, down past Chalon-sur-Saône and encompasses the appellations of Bouzeron in the north, followed by Rully, Mercurey, Givry, and Montagny.
Directly south of the Chalonnaise begins the Côte Mâconnais, which extends south past Mâcon to the hamlets of Fuissé, Vinzelles, Chaintré, and Saint-Véran. The Mâconnais is prime Chardonnay country and contains an incredible diversity of soils.
Every three or four months I would send my clients a cheaply made list of my inventory, but it began to dawn on me that business did not pick up afterwards. It occurred to me that my clientele might not know what Château Grillet is, either. One month in 1974 I had an especially esoteric collection of wines arriving, so I decided to put a short explanation about each wine into my price list, to try and let my clients know what to expect when they uncorked a bottle. The day after I mailed that brochure, people showed up at the shop, and that is how these little propaganda pieces for fine wine were born.—Kermit Lynch
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