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Daniel-Etienne Defaix, Chablis 1er Cru “Côte de Lechet”Burgundy, France 2007 (750mL)

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Daniel-Etienne Defaix, Chablis 1er Cru “Côte de Lechet” Burgundy, France 2007 (750mL)

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Two months ago, we launched Defaix’s ‘07 release party with his gorgeous “Les Lys” and we’re now cranking up the dial without touching the price: Today’s “Côte de Lechet” is believed by many to be his most complex and profound Premier Cru bottling. 


If a 15-year-old Chablis sounds like an extreme example of a current-release wine, you’re right—it’s pure insanity. Only a few souls in the world have the mettle and talent to endure Defaix’s preposterously long “watchdog” regimen, and yet every Chardonnay-consuming soul wants to taste the results. Furthermore, there’s already growing consensus that the 2007s are the freshest he’s ever released, which once again proves that the man is bottling some of the most ageless and fairly priced Premier Crus in all of Chablis. Actually, is there another Burgundy producer releasing 15-year-old cuvées with this level of detail, youthful brilliance, and complexity? There aren’t many. What about for $60? Absolutely not. It’s not just uncanny—it’s unheard of!



In an era when Burgundian whites are so often (a) overpriced and (b) engineered for quick release and young drinking, Defaix remains one of the last defenders of long, slow aging in the cellar and genuine value in the bottle. I can’t quite say how the estate stays in business after deferring profits for 14+ years, and then charging such modest prices for such exceptional wines—but I’m not arguing, either. My own experience cellaring top Premier Cru Chablis has shown that most drink best between 7-15 years of bottle age. This is typically the point when oxygen has broken the wine down to the perfect balance between refreshing minerality and advanced aromatic complexity. This waiting game, however, can be dangerous, as one never knows if the wine has expired until the bottle is open. Fortunately, Daniel-Etienne Defaix has proven himself a master of anticipating each vintage’s eccentricities in this regard. Over the past few years, I’ve enjoyed a variety of Defaix whites from the late-1990s to today’s 2007, and almost always, spectacularly, they’ve possessed a beautiful synthesis of youth and maturity. 


Defaix’s family has been producing wine in and around this region since the 1500s. Defaix works almost exclusively with Chardonnay and his ample collection of Premier Cru vineyards are fertilized with natural compost and manure. The majority of his 45-year-old vines in Premier Cru “Côte de Lechet” lie in the sloping, southeast facing lieu-dit of “Clos de Moines,” but the most exciting and unique aspect of this property is what happens in the cellar.


Benefitting exclusively from the property’s native airborne yeasts, Defaix’s Premier Crus ferment for several weeks and malolactic is always completed but never artificially rushed—sometimes it takes months. It’s an unusually patient, hands-off process, but the excitement doesn’t end there: Defaix aged today’s 2007 for over 10 years in specially designed stainless steel tanks (for enhanced lees integration) before further bottle aging in the cellar. Because these wines are built for aging, Defaix finishes the process with superior-quality corks purchased years in advance to ensure durable and reliably air-tight closure. 


If you’re still sitting on a bottle of Defaix’s 2007 “Les Lys” that was offered two months ago,  today’s the perfect opportunity to compare the nuances of two high-quality Premier Cru Chablis terroirs. This is the same vintage, same producer, same quality level—just a different hillside vineyard, with different sun exposure, that’s within eyeshot of Les Lys. 


This noise about “Côte de Lechet” being Defaix’s most complex cuvée makes sense once you pour this 2007 into a Burgundy stem. Aside from looking like a wine that’s 2-3x younger, it rolls out supple, seductive aromas of roasted yellow apple, yellow pear, quince paste, salt-preserved lemon, citrus blossom, beeswax, lees, churned butter, crushed stone, honeysuckle, and chalk. The palate is broad and the textures run deep with swells of acidity bolstering the churning core of youthful-tasting orchard fruits. It’s fantastic after just 15 minutes of air, but it also kept pulsing with energy well into day three of being opened—that bodes well for its potential in the cellar! Enjoy now and uncork your other bottles over the next 7-10 years!




Daniel-Etienne Defaix, Chablis 1er Cru “Côte de Lechet” Burgundy, France 2007 - SommSelect

  • CountryFrance
  • RegionBurgundy
  • Sub-RegionChablis Premier Cru
  • SoilKimmeridgian Limestone
  • FarmingOrganic
  • BlendChardonnay
  • Alcohol13%
  • OakNeutral French Barrels

  • CountryFrance
  • RegionBurgundy
  • Sub-RegionChablis Premier Cru
  • SoilKimmeridgian Limestone
  • FarmingOrganic
  • BlendChardonnay
  • Alcohol13%
  • OakNeutral French Barrels
  • Temp.Serve at 50-55° F
  • GlasswareBurgundy Stems
  • DrinkingNow-2032
  • Decanting15 Minutes
  • PairingChicken w/ Morels & Creamy Tarragon Sauce