Friday, July 4, 2014

Chablis From Domaine Charly Nicolle

This post first appeared on the daily wine blog Terroirist.

Proprietor Charly Nicolle kicked off his domaine in 2004. He’s been expanding his vineyard holdings piece by piece since 1997, when he acquired one tenth of a hectare from his great-grandfather. Today Domaine Charly Nicolle tends 15 hectares of vines spread across several appellations, including Premier Crus and the Grand Cru Bougros.

Like many Chablis winemakers, Charly learned the ropes from his father, Robert, who runs Domaine de la Mandeliere. Charly still works with his father and the two domaines share a team of vineyard workers, but they each control different vines and make different wines.

Charly Nicolle’s wines are all fermented in stainless steel with natural yeasts. They have a clean feel with lots of verve, minerality and oceanic elements. The wines I tasted hailed from the 2012 vintage, except the 2011 Bougros. “The 2012 vintage is a very good one, rather round and aromatic,” Lucie Thieblemont, the domaine’s commercial director, explained in an email. “It has less acidity than the 2011, which makes it very pleasant to drink now, but might be not so good to keep long.”

The wines are indeed round and aromatic right now, but I’m thinking some of them could age well. All of the wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted.

2012 Charly Nicolle Chablis Ancestrum - France, Burgundy, Chablis
Nose: salted lime, green apple some white floral tones and crushed sea shells. Medium bodied with medium+ acid. I get shaved lime and green apple, mixing with pure minerality, some saline and sweet white flowers. Bright and crisp and edgy but downright fun and pleasant as well. This wine is made from a blend of vineyards in four different villages with an average age of 35 years. (87 points)

2012 Charly Nicolle Petit Chablis - France, Burgundy, Chablis, Petit Chablis
A richer, more apple and apricot-driven nose than the Chablis Ancestrum, but there’s still some nice saline and mineral notes on the nose. Fleshy on the palate, but crisp acid, a nice mix of citrus and apple fruit, some honey and hazelnut accents, some sea shells. Still, this is a lot of fun, despite its more humble appellation, this is a solid Chablis with a lot of elements firing at once. From 15-20-year-old vines in a clay and limestone vineyard in Fleys. (87 points)

2012 Charly Nicolle Chablis 1er Cru Mont de Milieu - France, Burgundy, Chablis, Chablis 1er Cru
Salted margarita on the nose with more yellow apple than the Ancestrum, this also has a rich honeyed note that mixes with the sea breeze and sea shell note. Medium+ body with medium+ acid, the lime and apricot fruit is tangy but backed up by some whipped honey notes. The minerals streak across the palate, like limestone and quinine and mountain stream all thrown together, the subtle honeyed white tea and floral notes add complexity. Clean, vibrant, with a long finish. From vines averaging 50-60 years. (90 points)

2012 Charly Nicolle Chablis 1er Cru Les Fourneaux - France, Burgundy, Chablis, Chablis 1er Cru
Love the lime zest, sea salt and white flowers, but there’s a lot of creamy fruit as well (apricot, white peach, some honeyed notes). Long and deep on the nose.  Nervy acid but generous with the creamy aspects. The lime, green and yellow apple and apricot fruits are dusted with sea salt, crushed oyster shells and limestone. Love the intensity and verve, but I also enjoy the creamy, slightly honeyed aspects. Long and age-worthy, just a bit more depth and minerality than the Mont de Milieu. From vines averaging 50-60 years. (91 points)

2011 Charly Nicolle Chablis Grand Cru Bougros - France, Burgundy, Chablis, Chablis Grand Cru
Aromas of sea salt, white flowers, some moderate mineral and rocky elements, a bit of honeyed tea. On the palate this is a racy wine with crisp acid and a medium body. Creamy with some nice apricot, mixed apples, white peach and white tea flavors. A sense of lime peel and slate pervades the wine, complementing the honeyed tones. Very good stuff, but I wonder about cellaring this for more than a few years. From vines averaging 50-60 years. (89 points)

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