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Details for Domaine Jean Goulley & Fils, Chablis

Domaine Jean Goulley et Fils
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The appeal of Chablis goes way beyond it being a timeless classic. Chablis is a wine style and a wine region that has something to suit everyone.

France’s northernmost winemaking region is equidistant from Paris and Beaune, the winemaking heart of Burgundy. While Chablis is officially part of Burgundy, it also has an identity all of its own.

With four appellations under the Chablis name: Petit Chablis (generally grown at the top of the hills), Chablis (the largest appellation), Chablis Premier Cru (seventeen crus exposed to the south and south west) and Chablis Grand Cru (one of seven vineyard sites), the vineyards are mapped out according to one of these four stages in the hierarchy.

The vineyard area has grown significantly in the last 50 years as the region ensures it keeps up with worldwide demand and it now has as much as 5,000 hectares planted. But no matter where the vineyards are placed, you can bet your life it will be planted with Chardonnay.

Although everything in Chablis is crafted from this one grape variety, Chablis wines manage to cover an incredible array of flavours from cool and crisp citrus to heady, smoky characters. There’s always a debate over how and when (and indeed whether) oak is used in the region. As a very general rule, the higher you move up the quality hierarchy, the greater the chance that oak has been used.  

Domaine Jean Goulley et Fils

This family producer is actually three domaines in one.  You can buy exactly the same wine labelled Domaine Jean Goulley et Fils or Domaine Simone Tremblay, and almost the same labelled Domaine Philippe Goulley.
Philippe is Jean’s son, the Fils in the domaine name.  He’s also the winemaker, and these days he runs the whole estate.  Domaine Jean Goulley et Fils was founded in 1986 when Philippe joined his father in the family business.  Jean was already a vigneron, originally with vineyards his wife Simone had inherited from her father, Armand Tremblay.
The Tremblay name was and is an important one in Chablis, so in some markets (though not the UK) the wines are labelled Domaine Simone Tremblay.  Philippe owns outright about five of the family’s twenty hectares of vines, allowing him to use his own name on a proportion of the production.
Philippe’s vineyards were the first to convert to organic farming, starting in 1991, making him the first producer in Chablis to be certified organic.  The rest of the estate followed suit soon after.
The original Tremblay vineyards lie at the centre of the important Premier Cru hillside of Fourchaume.  In the Sixties Jean acquired a large plot in Premier Cru Montmains, and later added some land in Premier Cru Mont de Milieu, along with some parcels of straight AC Chablis around the family’s home village of La Chapelle Vaupelteigne.
Production was able to increase after Philippe joined, and further plots of Chablis and Petit Chablis were acquired in the Nineties to meet demand.  Today the production is about eleven thousand cases a year, divided equally between the Chablis, Petit Chablis and Premier Cru appellations.  Most is exported; only around 15% is sold in France.
All the wines are fermented with wild yeasts, with minimal use of sulphur.  All the Jean Goulley wines are fermented and aged entirely in stainless steel.  Philippe does use older oak barrels for some of the wines he releases under his own domaine name, particularly the Premier Crus.

about this wine About this wine

About a third of the Goulley vineyards are Premier Cru, and another third fall into the lesser Petit Chablis appellation.  This wine comes from the remainder, the straight AOC Chablis vineyards.  There are four of them, in three different villages, but all lie on the left bank of the Serein facing east or south-east at altitudes between 130 and 190 metres.  Their soil is the Kimmeridgian limestone and clay that Chablis is famed for, filled with fossil shells.
All have been certified organic since at least 2007.  Winemaker Philippe Goulley (hes’s the Fils in the Domaine name: Jean is semi-retired now) was the first Chablis producer to embrace organic cultivation, starting in 1991.  That seems remarkably recent, but it’s easy to go organic in hot, dry climates where there’s little disease pressure or risk of rot.  In cool, damp Chablis, one of France’s most northerly wine regions and one in which vines (and consequently their diseases) have been intensively cultivated for centuries, it was more of a challenge.  But the results spoke for themselves, and a growing band of producers have followed Philippe’s lead.
2015 was an excellent vintage in Chablis, as in most of France, and the healthy grapes were harvested in September at optimum ripeness.  In the gravity-fed winery they were gently pressed in pneumatic presses, and the juice run into temperature-controlled stainless steel vats to be fermented using only the naturally-occurring wild yeasts from the grape skins.  Sulphur dioxide use was kept to a minimum: wild yeasts don’t like it!
The wine was aged on its fine lees, again in steel tanks, for six months before being lightly filtered through clay and bottled.  Philippe’s aim is for this wine to express the pure character of the Chardonnay grape, the vineyards and the vintage, with minimal intervention and no use of oak.

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