Chablis Grand Cru Bougros 4.12
Chablis Grand Cru Côte des Bougerots 2.11
Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos 4.11
Chablis Grand Cru Preuses 2.55
Chablis Grand Cru Valmur 1.15
Chablis Grand Cru Vaudésir 1.20
Chablis 1er Cru Beauroy 1.12
Chablis 1er Cru Fourchaume (Vaulorent) 3.63
Chablis 1er Cru Les Lys 0.99
Chablis 1er Cru Montée de Tonnere 2.24
Chablis 1er Cru Montmains 3.50
Chablis 1er Cru Vaillons 3.16
Chablis 1er Cru Mont de Milieu 0.55

This is one of Chablis’ greatest domaines, developed by the eponymous William Fèvre between 1957 and his retirement in 1998 when he sold to Joseph Henriot. William Fèvre began with just seven hectares and had soon increased this to 48, planting widely in the best of the premiers and grands crus where the vineyards had fallen by the wayside. However, the Fèvre penchant for new oak was not to everybody’s taste.

Since the Henriot purchase the wines have been made by the talented Didier Séguier, who had previously been with the Bouchard team in Beaune. In July 2023 it was announced that, following the merger of the Henriot properties with Artemis Domaines, William Fèvre was being sold to Domaines Baron de Rothschild Lafite. It is expected that Didier Seguier will remain in post.

These may be among the most expensive wines in Chablis (ex cellars), but demand is evidently there. The domaine’s vineyards include 12 hectares of premier cru land and no less than 16 of grands crus. The domaine wines are complemented by négociant cuvées of Petit Chablis, premiers crus Mont de Milieu and Côte de Léchet and grands crus Grenouilles and Blanchots.

In the vineyards, organic practices were introduced slowly from 2006, with subsequently some biodynamic ideas as well, but certification has not been sought until recently, expected to be completed by 2024. The whole crop of the domaine wines – straight Chablis included – is harvested by hand, the grands crus in small cagettes, with a sorting table back at the winery to ensure the quality of the raw material. The premiers crus are vinified in 40-50 per cent oak (the grands crus get 70-80 per cent), but without using new wood. Instead the domaine has a plentiful supply of one-year-old barrels from Maison Bouchard, and the average age of wood in the cellars is five years. The barrel and vat components are blended together after four to six months, for bottling before the end of the year.

It is hard to single out particular wines from this excellent range but here are three which have consistently stood out. Whilst all the Fèvre holding in Fourchaume comes from the Vaulorent sector, just the best plots, with similar soil and exposure to Les Preuses, are kept for the Vignoble de Vaulorent bottling. This is an exceptionally opulent yet still balanced and structured premier cru, halfway to grand cru in style and quality.

Amongst the grands crus, my personal favourite is frequently the Bougros, Côte des Bougerots This comes from the very steep sector of Bougros, immediately above the road, with a one-in-two gradient. They still manage to plough it, by winching the plough up the hillside from a tractor above, with a Spartacus look-alike pushing from below and guiding it. The wine is amazingly more intense than the regular Bougros bottling, with a piercing minerality from the pure Kimmeridgian soil. Definitely a wine to lay down. However, it is a tough job to challenge the Fèvre bottling of Les Clos, which comes from 8 plots which are mostly on the upper slopes and with an average age of over 50 years. Perhaps the most complete wine of them all.

Click here to view all wines from Domaine William Fèvre
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