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Average critic rating : 89.0 points
The 2012 Chablis 1er Cru Montee de Tonnerre comes from 2.51 hectares of 40-year-old vines and sees 15 months in stainless steel. It has a crisp, marine-influenced bouquet that opens nicely in the glass. The palate is clean and fresh, quite weighty in the mouth with a taut citric finish that needs another 12 months to unwind. Drink 2015-2022. ||It is confusing having both a Samuel Billaud and a Billaud-Simon producing wines in Chablis, but unfortunately that is the case while the intra-family dispute goes on. One hopes it is resolved sooner rather than later. Charles Louis Noel Billaud established the estate in 1815, thereby making it one of the forefathers of the region. Bernard Billaud returned to the domaine in 1991, whereupon he seized the opportunity to ratchet up the quality by installing a pneumatic press and stainless steel tanks. I have tasted the wines regularly here in the UK and they have always been impressive. For sure, the 2012s were perhaps a little more inconsistent due to the challenges of the growing season. But the grand crus certainly deliver where it matters – in the glass – while I appreciate the premier crus remaining true to their respective terroirs.||Post-script: As this report went to print, news filtered through with regard to the sale of Domaine Billaud-Simon to Maison Faiveley, giving them a strong foothold in the region. How this will impact Samuel Billaud remains to be seen, though it clearly thwarts any hopes of him returning to farming the vines that he once tended (wouldn’t it be a twist if Faiveley subsequently appointed him winemaker!). Exact details are yet to emerge, but hopefully all parties can move forward. Wine Advocate.August, 2014
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