We’re not presuming to make an airtight case here. People’s expectations as to what truly defines great Chablis varies greatly with some leaning to the steely, taste-of-the-sea dominance to the flavors to those preferring that character be an aspect to a vigorous fruit component. There’s no right or wrong answer, simply a question of experiences. In our experience, there is a lot to like about the Roland Lavantureux Chablis 2016 as it hits on all of the major themes and does so at a very tasty price.
Lavantureux isn’t the most famous guy in Chablis, nor even in importer Kermit Lynch’s Chablis portfolio. But we have come to appreciate his consistent, rock solid performance in making wines that are precise and true to type, yet show a little flair to the fruit. We have been following this house, which was founded in 1978, for only a few vintages but are convinced this is one of the as yet undiscovered gems. The basics are all here… Kimmeridgian soils, 30-year-old vines, and the domaine is in the hands of Roland’s sons, Arnaud and David, who have demonstrated the desire to hone their skills to produce even more compelling wines.
This one, however, really hits the target in every way. You like ‘classic’ Chablis, there’s plenty of that salinity and insistent minerality to give an excellent accounting of the region. Yet at the same time, there’s an energetic fruit component of sour apple, citrus and pear to give the impression of a coiled-yet-round mid-palate that slides cleanly into a mineral laced finish that still showcases the fruit. It checks all the boxes flavor-wise and was ‘love-at-first-sip’ for us, particularly given the modest fare.
We dare say this is the most compelling ‘regular’ bottling we have tasted from Lavantureux, possibly as the natural progression of increasing quality every vintage, or perhaps kicked up by the lovely (if sadly limited) 2016 vintage. Too early to make the call on that, but we can assure you that we will be partaking of this one on a few occasions moving forward. The style, the typicite, the fruit, and the price make this a must for Chablis lovers of any persuasion.