Text Size:-+
11.26.2004

2003 William Fevre "Champs Royaux" Chablis (Chardonnay), Burgundy, France

It's wines like this one that make me begrudgingly admit that some of my friends have a pretty valid point. You see, I hang out with a bunch of folks who have completely sworn off of California white wines, especially Chardonnay, in favor of French whites -- in particular the Chardonnay based White Burgundies and Sauvignon Blanc based wines from the Loire. They clamor (at any given opportunity) that there are hundreds of wines that can be purchased for around twenty bucks that are infinitely better than most $20 California Chardonnays. Better tasting, better food pairing, and just all around better made. And you know what? They're right.

Now, I'm not going to go so far as to say that I dislike California Chardonnays (there are some I adore), but on the whole French white wine is a lot more pleasant, especially in the "everyday drinking" price points of $8-$25. Most Chardonnay for sale at $7.99 a bottle (or for that matter, $20 a bottle) in Safeway is slathered in oak flavor and the buttery taste of poorly managed malolactic fermentation. Comparable French wines (like this one) are entirely another story -- clean, crisp, fruity, excellently balanced -- everything you want in a good glass of white wine.

William Fevre is a name that is practically synonymous with Chablis. At one point the owner of the most Grand Cru classified vineyards in the Chablis appellation, Fevre was also a tireless advocate for Chablis for decades, struggling against relaxation of the rules and borders of the appellation, and campaigning against the wanton use of the Chablis name by other wines around the world, especially those sold in boxes in the USA.

Fevre worked for years producing a large number of wines from Chablis under his estate name Domaine de la Maladiere, but in 1998 he sold the estate to Henriot Champagne, a distributor who runs several negociant (distribution/winemaking) outfits in Burgundy as well, most notably Bouchard Pere et Fils, which is responsible for the current Fevre winemaking.

This wine is made from 100% Chardonnay, which is fermented in a combination of steel and old French oak barrels, including malolactic fermentation, and it is then aged in older French oak barrels (at most 10% new) for between 10 and 15 months before bottling.

Tasting Notes:
This wine is a pale greenish gold in the glass and has a cool rainy-day nose of wet limestone, bosc pears, and green wood aromas. On the palate it is silky and bright with flavors of pears and lemon zest buoyed up by a nice acidity. The wine has an excellent finish which incorporates elements of lemon as well as a slight kick of white pepper.

Food Pairing:
This wine will pair nicely with creamy or buttery foods, especially those incorporating seafood. I had mine with a nice creamy autumn spelt soup, and it was glorious.

How Much?: $18

There are a few Internet retailers which carry this wine. Try Wine Searcher.

Comments (4)

Christian wrote:
11.29.04 at 10:56 AM

Alder,

Just thought I would drop you line saying how much I agree with your review of this wine. It is a weekly experience now that I get someone in the shop telling me they don't like Chardonnay (esp. from California). Being a full-blown Franco-phile, I take serious exception to this and given the prices that Burgundy/Chablis can command, it can be difficult to convince people otherwise. Depending how adamant they are, I may or may not inform them that the Fevre is indeed Chard. Either way, my clients come back asking for more.

I have been running with this wine for the last 6-7 months and can't keep it in stock.

11.29.04 at 7:46 PM

Having lived in France for two years I couldn't agree more. I hate to gerneralize about wine. Although there are good examples of new world wines that could pass for french dead ringers, viewed by and large, there is a subelty and elegance to many French wines that is a pure reflection of the people and their unique place. There are many vastly underrated winemaking areas in France. I for one don't mind that the world has not discovered them or cared to learn about them. These discoveries continue to be my favorite wine drinking experiences by far. Long live Kermit Lynch!!!

Alder wrote:
11.29.04 at 8:25 PM

Hear hear. Let's all drink to Kermit.

And glad to know that these wines are doing well in your shop Christian.

Chris Huston wrote:
12.01.04 at 10:22 PM

I too am a fan of French whites. The Fevre is an excellent value. What I like about White Burgundies is their balance of fruit and acidity. They are not as viscuous as their malolactic cousins from California. Another good value is Paul Pernot Bourgogne Blanc for about $20. Enjoy and keep drinking.

Comment on this entry

(will not be published)
(optional -- Google will not follow)
Yes
 

Type the characters you see in the picture above.

Pre-Order My Book!

small_final_covershot_dropshadow.jpg A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. Learn more.

Follow Me On:

Twitter Facebook Pinterest Instagram Delectable Flipboard

Most Recent Entries

Vinography Images: Swift Work Social Media Answers the Question: Where Did Australian Wine Go Wrong Hourglass, Napa Valley: Current and Upcoming Releases Drought Problems? Just Have an Earthquake Vinography Images: Just One Vinography Unboxed: Week of September 1, 2014 Earthquake Rattles Napa Harvest NIMBY Versus Vineyard in Malibu Vinography Images: Precious Droplets MORIC: The Apogee of Blaufränkisch

Favorite Posts From the Archives

Masuizumi Junmai Daiginjo, Toyama Prefecture Wine.Com Gives Retailers (and Consumers) the Finger 1961 Hospices de Beaune Emile Chandesais, Burgundy Wine Over Time The Better Half of My Palate 1999 Királyudvar "Lapis" Tokaji Furmint, Hungary What's Allowed in Your Wine and Winemaking Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Appreciating Wine in Context The Soul vs. The Market 1989 Fiorano Botte 48 Semillion,Italy

Archives by Month

 

Required Reading for Wine Lovers

The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud Adventures on the Wine Route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson The World's Greatest Wine Estates by Robert M. Parker, Jr.