Samuel Billaud Sur Les Clos Petit Chablis is entirely from a vineyard directly uphill from Grand Cru Les Clos. It looks great too. Stoney/mineral with some stone fruits and citrus on top. Good now and undoubtedly better with 12-36 months in bottle. This is the wine to drink while your Chablis AC is maturing.
“Billaud’s 2018 Petit Chablis offers lovely depth and textural richness at this level, all while maintaining a good bit of freshness as well. Lemon confit and lifted floral notes add a good bit of energy. I very much like the wine’s tension and verve, both of which are unusual in 2018.” 87–89pts – Antonio Galloni – Vinous
Samuel Billaud is from the Billaud Simon family. For a time he was winemaker for the family business and his negociant business. Then when the family sold out to Faiveley Samuel took 1/6th of the vineyard holdings. This was a big set up for his brand. If you’ve ever had any Billaud Simon Chablis you’ll know the excitement and potential. I first heard of Samuel by driving past his new winery in Chablis in 2019. It got me wondering if he was one of those Billauds. Having finally had the chance to taste his wine. Yes, he is one of those Billauds and continuing the family legacy of top-flight Chablis. Chablis with the steel you want and the purity of fruit on top. It’s hard to describe just what makes them so charming, but when you taste a Billaud Chablis (Sam or Sim!) you just have to slowly nod your head and enjoy the wine in your mouth.
“Once Samuel has moved into his new winery in Chablis, sorted out his own vineyard holdings, I think we should see him right at the top of Chablis producers alongside the likes of Raveneau and Vincent Dauvissat. After all he’s suffered, you might say he deserves it, but that would be ignoring the sheer quality of his wines.” -Neal Martin – 2014
The Kimmeridgian soils that make Chablis taste like Chablis is evident in these wines. They have more definition of the region and more structure than a Petit Chablis. But without the fruit weight and intensity of the better sites. Great wines for drinking young or youngish.
On the bottom of the Chablis hierarchy, Petit Chablis is often from lesser sites and sometimes not on the Kimmeridgian soils that make Chablis taste like Chablis. I often find that a Petit Chablis is like a Non-Vintage Champagne in that it reflects the producer’s house style more than site or vintage. The best are wonderful, just like a small Chablis and they can be wonderfully cheap too
The grape that you can plant anywhere, in any climate and do anything to and it will still taste like an OK wine. When people hit the sweet spot of site, climate, cropping and winemaking, Chardonnay becomes a magical wine that will age gracefully but charm you at any age. Chardonnays can range from cool-climate lean and citrusy to warmer climate tropical and overt. Oak and lees can add flavouring as can malolactic fermentation.