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Clotilde Davenne - Chablis

clotilde davenne in the vineyard

Clotilde Davenne is a qualified oenologist who has been making wines in Chablis since 1989. In common with another Burgundy renegade Patrick Piuze she does not hail from a background steeped in the tradition of viticulture and wine-making. Clotilde grew up on a farm but as a teenager she was attracted to a more sensory path than could be provided by a career in agriculture and so she decided to study oenology. Having gained her diploma she spent some time in California making sparkling wine and then, with an eye to the future, decided to pursue further studies in viticulture and marketing back in France before gaining some more work experience in the wine producing region of Beaujolais. In 1989 she began working for Jean-Marc Brocard the dynamic Chablis producer who was later to inspire Patrick Piuze too. She spent a total of seventeen years and sixteen vintages working as winemaker for Brocard from whom she learned so much about the different terroirs around the Chablis area.

Video: Clotilde Davenne Chablis Tasting

Shortly after starting work for Brocard she bought an old farmhouse in the village of Préhy just a few miles to the south-west of Chablis itself. The icing on the cake was the fact that the land that came with the house had some very old Chardonnay vines holding the designation of AOC Bourgogne simply because previous owners had not applied for the newer Chablis appellation. Having done some very necessary re-planting work she began by selling off her grapes to Brocard in order to finance the building's restoration. She became increasingly intent on establishing her own domaine and, encouraged by her employer, she subsequently purchased more vineyard plots including a domaine in St. Bris le Vineux further to the south-west of Chablis and now famous for its AOC St. Bris wines made from Sauvignon Blanc grapes. Some of the Sauvignon vines here are more than one hundred years old, the Aligoté over seventy and the Pinot Noir at least fifty years old. In 2005 Clotilde left Jean-Marc Brocard to go it alone and manage her own Domaine Les Temps Perdu (Land of Lost Time). She now has thirteen hectares of vineyards making a range of white, red and sparkling wines including a Petit Chablis and also buys in grapes from good vineyard sites to produce all four levels of Chablis from Petit Chablis right up to Grand Cru wines.

Video: Sauvignon Vines in St. Bris

The Domaine Les Temps Perdu - The Vineyards

domaine les temps perdu sign

The Domaine Les Temps Perdu is in the process of converting its vineyards to organic production methods and in 2011 Clotilde purchased a new plot of vines in Irancy in the Côtes d'Auxerre. Previously her wine from this appellation was made from 100% contracted Pinot Noir grapes but the newly bought land contains 3% of the ancient Cesar grape variety. Her own vineyards are planted on a range of soils and the vines themselves vary in age up to the century old vines in St. Bris le Vineux. The precise soil type is outlined in the next section covering the different wines produced by Clotilde and the domaine.

Wines of Clotilde Davenne

clotilde davenne with a selection of wines

All of the wines produced by Clotilde Davenne and the Domaine Les Temps Perdu are fermented and matured in stainless steel seeing no oak at all in order to preserve the purity of the fruit and allowing a perfect expression of the terroir. She is not a fan of making high alcohol wines purely for the sake of it and envisages a move to winemaking with less emphasis on this in the market as a whole in the future.

  • AOC Chablis Grand Cru - Clotilde vinifies two grand cru wines from selected Chardonnay grapes that are bought from growers, namely Les Clos and Les Preuses. The vines on the grand cru hill are planted on Kimmeridgian clay which is rich in fossilised shellfish including oyster shells. As soon as the grapes reach the winery they are pressed with a pneumatic press before being vinified in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks the better to preserve the aromas and flavours. These wines require careful ageing in bottle and possess great power and subtlety. Clotilde recommends decanting one hour before serving at a temperature of between 12-15 °C.
  • AOC Chablis Premier Cru Montmains - This 1er cru wine is made from selected Chardonnay grapes purchased from growers in Chablis and Courgis. Montmains has a southerly exposure and a soil rich in Kimmeridgian clay. The vinification is carried out in the same way as for the grand cru wines. Serve at 12°C.
  • AOC Chablis - Made with the fruit from 35 year old vines grown in the Vaudelune vineyard which has a southern exposure on a nice slope with Kimmeridgian soil. Vines are tended according to sustainable methods. The grapes are harvested by hand, pneumatically pressed and fermented in stainless steel with one filtering before being bottled. This is a fresh, fruity wine with good minerality. Serve at about 12 °C or just below.
  • AOC Petit Chablis - From thirteen year old vines grown on two plots both with pure Kimmeridgian soil. One plot at Les Temps Perdu, facing west, and the other within the Chablis commune facing south. Machine harvested, pneumatically pressed and stainless steel tank fermented. Fresh wines lighter than the Chablis but with a good mineral character. Serve between 10 and 12 °C and drink within three years of the vintage.
  • AOC St. Bris - Made from Sauvignon Blanc grapes grown at Saint-Bris-le-Vineux between Chablis and Auxerre in the valley of the River Yonne. The soil is a mixture of Kimmeridgian limestone with Portlandian clay. The grapes are harvested by machine and undergo a brief skin maceration after pressing to extract aromas and flavour compounds. The wines possess a citrus and tropical fruit character that matches very well with seafood and goat's cheese. Clotilde's wine has been favourably compared with the Sauvignons of Sancerre and Pouilly to the west. Drink within three years.
  • AOC Saint Bris Vieilles Vignes - Made from vines in excess of one hundred years old cultivated according to sustainable methods. The wine spends a few months on the lees until the malo-lactic fermentation is complete in the spring following the harvest. Great fruit and minerality are present in this wine which although delicious when drunk young can age beautifully for between five and ten years.
  • AOC Bourgogne Côtes d'Auxerre - A light red wine made from 100% Pinot Noir grapes grown on forty five year old vines in a vineyard with a southern exposure overlooking the commune of Irancy. Half the grapes for this wine are de-stemmed and undergo a maceration to extract colour, tannins and flavour compounds. Cherry and red berry flavours predominate. Drink between 15-17°C up to about five years of age depending on the vintage.

Clotilde Davenne also produces the following wines: Bourgogne Blanc Aligoté, Bourgogne Blanc Chardonnay, Irancy Rouge, Bourgogne Côtes d'Auxerre Rosé, Crémant de Bourgogne and a Crémant de Bourgogne Rosé.

Video: Clotilde Talks About Chablis (English subtitles)

  1. Clotilde Davenne, Chablis, 2012

    Clotilde Davenne, Chablis, 2012

    Classic Chablis in a clean, fruit-driven style with no oak whatsoever with a layer of minerality as befits this appellation.

    Details
    Colour White Wine
    Grape Variety Chardonnay
    Country France

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  2. Clotilde Davenne, Bourgogne Côtes d’Auxerre, 2010

    Red Burgundy from a little-known appellation in the north of Burgundy having a light colour and somewhat peppery fruit with a hint of grapefruit acidity. Made from the fruit of 50 year old vines grown in the ‘lieu-dit’ of Les Rosiers, a south facing slope lying parallel to Irancy itself.

    Details
    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Pinot Noir
    Country France

    Out of stock

  3. Clotilde Davenne, St Bris, 2013

    Clotilde Davenne, St Bris, 2013

    This wine is made from Sauvignon Blanc grapes from vineyards near St. Bris lying between Chablis in northern Burgundy and the Upper Loire.

    Details
    Colour White Wine
    Grape Variety Sauvignon Blanc
    Country France

    Out of stock

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