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C. Lavallée Saint Bris
C. Lavallée Saint Bris

2020  Les Copains d'Abord

Les Copains d'Abord ---- The 2020 Saint-Bris Les Copains d'Abord is lovely, exhibiting aromas of gooseberry, pear, orange oil, mint and white flowers. Medium to full-bodied, satiny and precise, with chalky grip and a penetrating finish, it transcends its cépage." - 90-92pts William Kelley, Wine Advocate ---- One of my most exciting discoveries in Chablis and the Auxerrois was fledgling Domaine Clément Lavallée. Clement's father is the proprietor of a substantial, modern and mechanized domaine in Saint-Bris, but Clément's aspirations were more artisanal. He started his own label in 2019, with just 3.5 hectares supplemented by purchased fruit - a surface that's grown to 5.5 hectares today. Eschewing herbicides, he cultivates the soils with lightweight tractors and keeps chemical treatments to the minimum. Working with a variety of sites and cépages, harvest lasts a full month. In the cellar, whites see a long pressing, with Clément selling in bulk any juice that doesn't please him, and reds see long macerations with a percentage of whole bunches. Élevage takes place in used wood on the lees, and the wines are never pumped. What I tasted on this first visit indicates that Lavallée hit the ground running with his very first vintage. Textural but incisive, pure and penetrating, I was immensely impressed by these young wines - from pungently mineral Chablis, to perfumed and intense reds, to Saint-Bris that's more Auxerrois than it is Sauvignon, everything here comes warmly recommended, and I encourage importers to beat a path to this new domaine's door.




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