William Fèvre’s 2012 Champs Royaux Chablis comes dressed for the weather, sporting a classy zip-up neoprene jacket to keep it at the optimum drinking temperature. In every other sense the 2012 Champs Royaux is classic Chablis. It offers a bright sun kissed robe, replete with Chablis’ characteristic glint of green. The wine’s eye appeal gives way to plenty of green apple, mineral and lemon zest aromas to delight the nose. In the mouth, the wine is light and beautifully textured, complete with the appellation’s distinctive flavor profile: subtle complex flavors that reveal hints of white flowers, oyster shell and the mineral rich limestone terroir of Chablis. Note the absence of oak flavors! Champs Royaux, like most Chablis, is brought up in neutral oak barrels that impart texture but no preponderance of oak flavor to obliterate the wine’s delicate fruit or overt minerality. William Fèvre’s 2012 Champs Royaux is real Chablis, unadorned Chardonnay that ably reflects its distinctive place of origin. We suggest giving the 2012 Champs Royaux an initial chill (about 35º F) before pouring and then allowing it to warm a bit in the glass before tasting. Upon first sip, Chablis can come across as austere, but the wine’s delicious, textured flavors will emerge slowly as the wine reaches toward a more ambient temperature. Balanced, bright flavors come to fore, culminating in a persistently long finish to enjoy!
For those who like a refined, truly dry white wine, the 2012 William Fèvre Champs Royaux Chablis provides an excellent aperitif. Even more appealing is a glass of Champs Royaux with seafood. Among world renowned chefs and serious food aficionados, Chablis and seafood are virtually synonymous. And the 2012 Domaine William Fèvre Champs Royaux shines in the company of the fruits of the sea. Seafood and especially shellfish provide a vast array of gastronomic delights to accompany Fèvre’s highly acclaimed Chablis. White fish, either grilled or served with a light sauce, offers classic companionship. However, for our money steamed lobster and King Crab legs, served with drawn butter, constitute truly memorable pairings with this Chablis. Classic and equally gratifying are oysters, served raw, steamed or sautéed. In the company of the 2012 Champs Royaux, clams, mussels, and scallops provide additional pairings to delight the senses. Caviar offers yet another impressive marriage. However, as tasty as the fruits of the sea can be with Chablis for seafood lovers, not everyone gravitates to the denizens of the deep. Chicken and simply prepared game birds served in light creamy sauces and many cow’s milk cheeses offer splendid accompaniments to Chablis as well. Brie, Camembert, and other crusted cheeses offer tasty alternatives, too, and require very little preparation. Salut!
Domaine William Fèvre is one of the most prestigious names in all Burgundy. The name William Fèvre is practically synonymous with Chablis, the driest and most distinctive of white Burgundy wines, as Fèvre has been an ardent champion of the traditional wines of Chablis and the integrity of this prized appellation for more than a generation. Behind Domaine William Fèvre stands 250 years of winemaking in Chablis. Fèvre’s father was one of the great winemakers of the post World War II era, and William Fèvre Jr. played an integral role in the recognition and resurrection of the Chablis appellation in the 1980s.
In 1998 William Fèvre transferred ownership of his flagship estate to the capable hands of Henriot, the prestigious producer of Champagne Henriot. Henriot has retained consummate winemaker Didier Séguier who has brought Domaine William Fèvre to the top of its game. In 2010, Domaine William Fèvre was named to Wine Spectator’s list of Top 100 Wineries. The illustrious Fèvre estate produces the region’s entire gamut of white wines from St. Bris, a rare, delicious white wine from Sauvignon Blanc grapes, to Petit Chablis, Chablis, Chablis Premier Cru, and Chablis Grand Cru. Moreover, William Fèvre owns the largest number of Grand Cru vineyards in the appellation. Come and taste authentic Chablis from Domaine William Fèvre and enjoy the cool neoprene jacket that clothes this month’s feature, William Fèvre’s 2012 Champs Royaux Chablis.
Chablis is a distinct part of Burgundy as well as one of the world’s finest white wines. Since the 12th century when Cistercian monks introduced Chardonnay into the region, the name Chablis has been synonymous with outstanding white wine. No wonder so many generations of California producers tacked the name Chablis onto their inferior generic wares, hoping to elevate their wines in the eyes of consumers.
Today, all authentic Chablis is derived exclusively from Chardonnay grapes that are grown in Chablis’ chalky, limestone rich soil known as Kimmeridgian. The name Kimmeridgian is in reference to an identical landmass that scientists identified in England’s Kimmeridge Bay. Chablis possesses one of the world’s greatest terroirs for the cultivation of white grapes; the appellation (A.O.C.) sits upon what was once the floor of an ancient sea bed dating from the Second Jurassic Period (also known as Kimmeridgian) that now feeds the region’s Chardonnay vines. Because of this special terroir, Chablis yields unique, dry, mineral rich wines of considerable finesse and flavor. Consequently, most Chablis wines receive only minimal ageing in oak.
The French National Institute of Appellation d’Origine Controlée (A.O.C.) recognizes four distinct areas of Chablis: Petit Chablis, Chablis, Chablis Premier Cru, and Chablis Grand Cru. All offer the taster a special experience. However, in recent years it is the Chablis appellation itself that has come to fore, producing some of the region’s finest quality and value. In total all four districts of Chablis cover just 7,000 hectares (15,400 acres). The best parcels typically occupy the region’s hillsides, making such choice parcels in Chablis and the surrounding Premier Cru and Grand Cru vineyards the most apt to produce the region’s fullest, most complex wines.
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