The Droins have been producing wines in Chablis for nearly 400 years (their history as vignerons goes back at least to 1620). Benoît represents the14th generation of Droins and is one of the most dynamic winemakers in the region. His father Jean-Paul put the domaine on the map but perhaps went too far down the road of new oak barrels. The domaine owns 13 hectares of vineyards and produces 14 different wines, including Petit Chablis, Chablis, 7 Premiers Crus and 5 Grands Crus. Benoît runs a more sophisticated operation from a large modern winery almost in the shadow of the grands crus. He has revised his pruning system and significantly reduced yields. In the cellar the principal change has been away from new oak. Each wine now gets the treatment which Benoît thinks is suited to its terroir. Thus Petit Chablis, Chablis, premiers crus Vaucoupin and Côte de Lechet, and grand cru Blanchots are all fermented and matured in tank. Vaillons, Mont de Milieu and Montée de Tonnerre receive 25 per cent of barrel fermentation and maturation, 35 per cent for Vosgros and Vaudésir, 40 per cent for Montmains and Valmur, peaking at 50 per cent for Fourchaume, Grenouilles and Les Clos. However the age of the oak and the choice of tonnelier may vary according to the cuvée. The maximum new oak is ten per cent in the grands crus.
From just over a hectare of vines in a steeply sloping amphitheatre which gives the vines a variety of expositions. 40% oak here, manifesting itself on the nose with a spicy, toast note that combines seamlessly with the waves of iodine. The attack is pure ripe citrus fruit, elegant and powerful at the same time. Benoît has one parcel on each side of the valley, which gives a pleasing layer of complexity and contrasting styles within the same wine. There is breadth and generosity while at the same time plenty of elegance and freshness. The finish is grippy, saline and classically chablisien.
91-93pts. The 2021 Chablis Vaudésir Grand Cru has a taut and fresh bouquet, wonderful mineralité with a hint of smoke and flint coming through. The palate is well balanced with a saline note, fine depth, lemon and a little more lime. Builds nicely in the mouth, a lovely Vaudésir. Drink 2024-2040, Neal Martin, Vinous