Up in Chablis, the 2017 vintage was bittersweet. Frost plagued the region, leading to drastic reductions of volume. Ironically, the fruit that survived is of the highest quality. Nighttime temperatures in the region stayed cool throughout the growing season, preserving the acidity levels of the grapes, and conditions remained perfect through harvest.
The 1er Cru Les Vaillons vineyard lies on a southeast facing slope just southwest of the village. The youthful Sébastien Dampt comes from a family of Chablis winemakers dating back 150 years. Having worked first for his father, Daniel, Sébastien launched his own label in 2007. The family is known for making outstanding wines that are, according to Allen Meadows of Burghound, “first-rate bargains.”
Dampt’s 2017 Les Vaillons is rich and focused with a dry, mineral backbone. In his note for the 2017 Les Vaillons, Meadows calls it, “one to buy in quantity.” We recommend decanting if drinking soon, otherwise enjoy it from 2021-2035.
Fourth generation winemaker Stéphane Magnien may only farm 4.5 hectares, but as they say in real estate, it’s all about location, location, location, as he has vines in some primo vineyards. Situated just west of the famous Grand Cru Clos de la Roche, the Morey-Saint-Denis’ 1er Cru Les Monts-Luisants vineyard lies along the northern border with Gevery-Chambertain, with a portion of it being of Grand Cru status!
No general, blanket statement can be made about the 2016 vintage for red Burgundy, as conditions differed from place to place, though many vignerons had to deal with hail, frost, and mildew which lowered production throughout the region.
For his Premier Cru wines, Stéphane only uses around 10% new oak barrel, preferring subtlety and finesse over flashy, modern techniques. The 2016 Les Monts-Luisants is an aromatic masterpiece. Notes of perfumy red and black berry fruit lie at the core, with floral, earthy, and herbal notes. The palate is elegant and complex, and the finish long and satisfying. Drink from 2023-2036.