Facts and wines
Small domain of 9 ha. Over generations, Duplessis has built up a unique collection of vineyards consisting exclusively of the very best terroirs in Chablis, planted with quality old vines. Classic pure wines at the highest level with strong terroir character and a concentrated taste of northern Chardonnay.
- Chablis 2018 100% Chardonnay
- Chablis Premier Cru "Montmains" 2018
- Chablis Premier Cru “Montée de Tonnerre” 2018
- Chablis Premier Cru “Vaillons” 2018
- Chablis Les Clos "Grand Cru" 2018
SMALL DOMAIN WITH EXCEPTIONAL TERROIRS
Domaine Duplessis is run by Lilian Duplessis (born 1979), who is the fifth generation of winegrowers in the family. He runs this domaine, which consists of some of the absolute best vineyards in Chablis. Here we can mention the Grand Cru "Les Clos", the Premier Crus "Montée de Tonnerre", "Montmains", "Vaillons", "Mont de Milieu", "Vaugiraut" and "Fourchaume" as well as ideally located fields under the appellations "Chablis" and "Petit Chablis". The domain is small in size (only 9 ha.), but the variety is great and the terroirs exceptional, which provides the basis for wines of exceptionally high quality.
FARM FOUNDED 1885
The domain was founded in 1885. Back then it was not a definite wine domain, but a small farm consisting of grain and vegetable fields as well as animal husbandry – everything a family needed to live. At that time, wine was an important part of people's diet and something that the doctor recommended in case of illness. Therefore, of course, the family also had a bit of vineyards. When there was enough of one or the other, you could sell a little to bring in some money.
This is a classic story for many French wineries. The vast majority of them were based on polyculture until it was profitable for them to specialize in wine. This happened for most (including Domaine Duplessis) only after the Second World War, when the prices of wine reached a level that allowed the farmers to live alone - and better - from wine production.
Up until then, wine production remained a sideline for the Duplessis family, who nevertheless invested quite quickly in making a business out of the wines, probably because the demand was there, which testifies to the quality of the production even then. In any case, the family today sits with domain bottled bottles dating back to the early 1900s.
This is quite unusual. During this period, most farmers sold their wine to négociants [: Wine merchants who buy wines (must or grapes) from winegrowers to make their own wine and sell it under their own name :] who typically had distribution channels and outlets.
However, it is Lilian Duplessis' grandfather and father – Gérard – who primarily expanded the domain to its current size. They are also the ones who planted most of the vines that stand in the fields today. This means that Lilian today works with qualitative vines that have an optimal age – around 50 years on average.
THE WORK IN THE FIELDS – ECOLOGY TO PROMOTE THE TERROIR CHARACTER
Lilian's ambition is to produce great wines that can be worthy of their great origins in line with the family's proud tradition. The quality of the wine is determined primarily in the fields, which is why he strives to grow grapes in perfect condition, which contain the essence of their respective terroirs. This is achieved through organic farming, where the soil and plants are cared for with the utmost care, exclusively using plowing and natural means.
WORKED IN THE CELLAR – TRADITIONAL AND PRECISE
After harvest, the ripe and healthy grapes are carefully transported to the cellar in the heart of Chablis, so that they are not damaged during transport from the fields. In the cellar, Lilians Duplessis' attitude is to let things happen by themselves without the use of modern aids, such as industrial yeast, heat treatment and other things that modify the taste of the wine and hide the fine mineral nuances.
"Man has a tendency to want to control everything", he says. "In our profession, it is not positive. This results in too many wines that look alike. Often people talk about the winemaker's touch. My touch is to let things happen by themselves and give the wine the time it needs without rushing.
However, it is no coincidence that Domaine Duplessis' wines are as good and precise as they are. Many things can go wrong during the process: The wine can become oxidised, bacteria and impurities or too long storage on the sediment can give a bad taste or smell, etc. Wine is a food and it ends up spoiling if it is left to itself at critical times. And in that case, the first thing to disappear (behind the smell of fallen apples, vinegar or horse stables) is often the delicate terroir character. Therefore, Lilian's wines are largely allowed to make themselves, but they are under close supervision.
AGEING IN OAK BARRELS, TRADITIONAL FOR THE BEST CHABLIS
For Lilian Duplessis, storage is a crucial aspect. He ages his wines (apart from his “regular” Chablis) as he learned from his father; in oak barrels for 6 months after 12 months of fermentation and aging in steel tanks. There is a long local tradition for this in Chablis, which is also exponents of a number of the most prestigious domains (for example Domaine Dauvissat and Domaine Raveneau).
THE STYLE OF THE WINES
Domaine Duplessis' wines come from the most classic fields of Chablis and they are produced according to classic methods, (ecology is the original form of cultivation from before the arrival of chemicals), so they have – not surprisingly – a classic profile: clean wines with a firm and rigorous structure and a concentrated taste of northern Chardonnay. This is what you can experience in Lilian's Chablis-Villages (ordinary chablis).
In addition, the distinctive identities of the terroirs, which this very classic approach is fabulous to support: "Montée de Tonnerre" is intense and elegant, "Vaillons" is soft and charming, "Montmains" is robust and deep, "Les Clos" is powerful and complex, etc.
In addition, it must be mentioned that the distinguished terroirs, the attentive organic cultivation with small harvest yields and Lilian's willingness to wait and take risks to get the best grapes, all result in perfectly ripe grapes. This gives wines that have quite a bit more thickness than the "green" Chablis that you often encounter.