Domaine Denis Race was the smallest and perhaps the least known producer I popped into while visiting Chablis early July. It is a family-owned producer with 18 ha/45 acres of vineyards. They are located in the southern outskirts of the Chablis village, on the same street as William Fèvre (although it has changed name to Rue de Chicée before we get to Denis Race), but about twice the distance from the “shopping street” and the main road crossing in the middle of the village. It was one of the suggestions from a friend who had visited Chablis previously. I had not tasted the wines of Denis Race before this visit. Denis Race has one star in Clive Coates’ Burgundy book, so he considers the wines to rise above the average level, since many producers (including three out of the five I visited) are not given any stars at all. Since they are domaine wines, the grapes are sourced from their own vineyards.
All wines go through malolactic fermentation, but no oak seems to be used at all. On their webpage they mention that they harvest by machine. It is fairly uncommon to see anyone mentioning this in their own profiles although some 95% of the Chablis harvest is done in this way. Exceptions mostly apply to the grand cru vineyards, at some addresses perhaps also the premier cru level, and then there are a few higher-priced domaines that do manual harvesting of everything or almost everything.
All wines I visited was of the 2011 vintage, and they were sealed with a regular cork rather than a screw cap.
Petit Chablis 2011, € 6,85 on location
Nose with green and yellow apple, some spice, slightly flowery. Palate with apple, good concentration, spicy, a hint of bitterness, good acidity, foody, slightly rustic. Drinkable now, 86 p
Chablis 2011, € 7,90
Nose with slightly flowery and perfumed notes, apple and citrus. Palate with mineral, apple, citrus, good acidity. Classical in style. Rather young, but approachable, 87 p.
Chablis Premier Cru Montmains 2011, € 10
Nose with slightly flowery and perfumed notes, apple, some mineral. The nose is slightly similar to Chablis 2011, but is somewhat more elegant. Palate is dominated by minerality with stony and mineral water character, some apple and citrus, high acidity. Firm, rather young, 89 p.
Chablis Premier Cru Mont de Milieu 2011, € 10
Nose with a lot of mineral, some apple, just a hint of flowery notes. Palate with mineral, a hint of bitterness, high acidity. Almost only mineral on the palate. Rather young, 88 p
Chablis Premier Cru Vaillon 2011, € 10
Nose with mineral, yellow apple, just a hint of flowery notes. Palate is dominated by minerality with stony and mineral water character, some apple, spice, just a hint of bitterness, high acidity. Rather young, 89 p
Chablis Premier Cru Montmains Vieilles Vignes 2011, € 11,20
Nose with mineral of a stony and chalky kind, some green and yellow apple, and a hint of spice. Palate with mineral with stony and chalky notes and mineral water character, yellow apple, good concentration, some spice. Long, mineral aftertaste. Rather young, 90 p
Montmains VV was slightly more concentrated and spicy than the other premier cru wines.
Chablis Grand Cru Blanchot 2011, € 22,20
Nose with yellow apple, a hint of honey and flowers, mineral. Unlike most premier crus there were more non-mineral notes present in the nose. Palate with mineral and mineral water character, high acidity, some spice, a hint of bitterness, long aftertaste. 91 p
Blanchot probably doesn’t have a better palate than the Montmains VV, but it does have a more complex nose.
The wines were of a high level, were consistent in quality and style and showed a very fine minerality for being 2011s. It had definitely been possible to convince me that I was tasting 2010s. Adjusting for the quality of the vintages, Denis Race was without doubt the second best of the five producers I visited, beaten only by William Fèvre. At the prices on location, the premier crus from Denis Race were definitely the best bargains I came across!
The Swedish version of this post can be found here.