Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Gilbert Picq Premier Cru Chablis Vaucopin, 1998

I had high hopes for the 1996 and 1997 Gilbert Picq wines I bought. Aged in stainless steel to preserve the traditional qualities of Chablis, they were excellent in their youth and showed the potential to go several decades. Alas, most of them started developing overly deep colors and oxidized smells and flavors at about age 10. They fit the pattern of "premox" or prematurely oxidized white Burgundies from the late 1990s. Based on that experience, I have been reluctant to visit the handful of Gilbert Picq Chablis from 1998 and 1999 that are still in my cellar. And that apparently was a fortunate delay because this 15-year-old Premier Cru has developed precisely what I expected from the 1996 and 1997 wines.

Medium deep gold--several shades lighter than the 1996 and 1997 wines at age 10. From the first sniff, I know we have something special. Very flinty, as good Chablis should be, but clean as a whistle. Limey smells and flavors, as in limestone soil, but also the citrus fruit. Also some green apples and flowers. The beauty of this wine, though, is not in the number of different smells and flavors but the quality of the grapes and the perfect balance and proportion of the wine. Whether you are a student of Chablis or are drinking it for the first time, this is a wine that keeps you coming back for more. It has aged beautifully over 15 years and has many more years to go.

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