Taste: Bright yellow lemon, lemon confit, oyster shell highlighted with white flowers; on the palate, great concentration and lengthy finish with a focus on salinity and texture. Gorgeous. This wine has come into itself over the last two years, and it’s in a place that shows off a taut, nervy spine with intense purity and poise.
Pairing: Despite being produced far from the sea, Petit Chablis nonetheless offers lovely whiffs of the seashore that go perfectly with oysters, mussels, raw fish dishes and shrimps, either raw, barbecued or in sauce. It is also delightful with fried small river fish, grilled sardines and many other fish. We also love pairing Chablis with gougères (savory cheese puffs), picnic fare like jambon et buerre baguettes, almond trout especially (check out this versatile recipe below), and Escargots de Bourgogne.
Roasted White Fish With Lemony Almondine
By Melissa Clark
From the importer, KLWM. With a sharp eye, natural instinct, and solid Burgundian pragmatism, Roland Lavantureux made a name for himself crafting 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 in the town of Lignorelles, about four miles northwest of Chablis. Today, his two sons have taken over the Domaine: Arnaud is in charge of 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 mouth-watering Petit Chablis, which, depending on the vintage, can easily rival their more highly pedigreed bottling—only proving the unwavering consistency of the Lavantureux family that has kept our relationship with them so strong for over thirty-five years.
The region is best known for its Kimmeridgian soils, a highly prized terroir of limestone and clay infused with tiny, fossilized oysters. The intensely chalky sea-shell minerality lends deep complexity to whites, making this region an ideal home for the Chardonnay grape. The Portlandian soils in the extension of the Chablis appellation, known as Petit Chablis, may not enjoy the same reputation as the Kimmeridgian, yet they imbue the wines with a crisp, lively freshness and zesty, citrusy aromas that speak to the deep mineral component of northern Burgundy. There is no accounting for these imaginary appellation boundaries, because the pedigree of the wines is palpable. As Roland once told Kermit, “I don’t know why the INAO named some vines ‘Chablis’ and others ‘Petit.’ When I stand in the middle of my vineyard, the row to my left is Chablis, to the right it is Petit Chablis, but you can’t see any difference.”
Since joining the family operation, the young Arnaud and David have shown remarkable ambition and precision in their work ethic: they have increased the family holdings to twenty-one hectares, adding single-vineyard cuvées while constantly striving for more complexity and layered texture in the mineral-driven beauties they produce. The Lavantureux wines display show-stopping nerve, to be enjoyed as easily before dinner as they are with a piece of grilled fish or oysters-on-the-half-shell. These wines drink as honestly as the people who make them; they are staff favorites year after year.
• Fermented and aged in stainless steel
• The wine is aged on the lees for 5-10 months, depending on the vintage
“There is a game we like to play among the KLWM staff: which producers in the portfolio, who now fly under the radar, will reach superstar status within a few years’ time?
Looking back, there was once an era when Jean-François Coche’s Meursault-Perrières sold for $14.95 a bottle, or when cases of Clape’s Cornas lined our retail store floor. Even just a few years ago, one could walk into the shop and choose from a wide selection of cuvées from Arnaud Ente, a vigneron whose rise to stardom has been stratospheric. So, who will be the next Coche-Dury, Clape, or Ente?
Without hesitation, we all agree: David and Arnaud Lavantureux are top of that list. These young Chablisien prodigies have taken an already stellar family domaine and lifted it to the next level. They have added new wines, including premier and grand cru sites, to their lineup, and introduced fresh ideas to vineyard and cellar work—all with passion, drive, and crucially, pinpoint precision in their execution.
Their most humble cuvée, Petit Chablis, remains the domaine’s benchmark for value and typicity. With a delectable combination of fresh fruit and oyster-shell aromatics, a texture on the palate that is both suave and linear, and a finish as mouthwatering as one demands from cool-climate Chardonnay from limestone soils, this Petit remains one of the grandest bargains we import.
Rendez-vous in a few years to check in on the Lavantureux brothers’ wines—if they are finally perceived for their true value, stocking up will be nowhere near as easy as it is today.”
PS. The difference between Petit Chablis and Chablis? We’re attaching an article from Peter Dean, thebuyer.net for your reading pleasure.
Differences between Petit Chablis, Chablis, Premier & Grand Cru
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