Domaine Gilbert Picq
When I first visited Didier Picq 20 years ago it was after days of tasting other producers' wines that were "cleaned up" and ready to be bottled, most of which were boring. Didier handed me a glass and apologised, "my wines are cloudy because I have just lees-stirred the tanks; the first ones won't be bottled for 3 months yet". I fist-pumped, tasted and thanked the heavens!
“A little like the great 2014 in quality” says Didier Picq of the 2021. There has been no better vintage than 2014 in the last 9 years, so at least the bad news of the paltry crop levels (50% down) is tempered by exceptional quality. Didier Picq, who has been making his family’s Chablis (with the guidance of his father in the early days) since 1981, is exceedingly happy with the quality of 2021, his 40th vintage. The pH’s are nice and low (3ish), the flavours bright, deeply concentrated and bold; and the texture and glorious length are most impressive.
Many plots only gave between 5 – 20 hl/ha which is an extraordinary result. The 1er Cru Vaucopin was 70% down, bottled only in 630 precious magnums – a “super” cuvée of immense greatness. The wines of Picq continue to impress, and whilst Raveneau and Dauvissat remain the top two of Chablis, Picq and precious few others are not far behind for around ¼ of the price!
"As I've written before, this small domaine located in the sleepy village of Chichée is one of Chablis's finest, a source of concentrated and incisive Chablis that are well worth seeking out. Attentive farming, conservative yields and fermentation and élevage on the lees in stainless steel are the rudiments of the approach. A range of Chablis AOC bottlings that includes several cuvées that would embarrass many loftier appellations is complemented by two premiers crus, Vaucoupin and Vosgros. Perhaps Picq's wines remain the preserve of the cognoscenti because he doesn't own any of Chablis's grand cru slopes? Whatever the reason, it emphatically has nothing to do with the quality of his wines, which number among the region's best in their alliance of depth and detail, power and purity. This is an address that comes warmly recommended." - William Kelley, The Wine Advocate
"My visit to Domaine Picq at the entrance of Chichée often serves as a barometer for how the region performed generally in a given vintage. Didier Picq’s wines are the epitome of nervy, almost Zen-like Chablis that would run a mile if someone even mentioned “oak” in their presence. Yet, Picq manages to imbue his half-dozen or so cuvées with immense concentration and flavor year after year." - Neal Martin, Vinous
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Gilbert Picq 2021 Chablis
RRP: $68 | Offer: $56!
"The 2021 Chablis Village was picked as low as 20hl/ha in some parcels that were severely affected by frost. Nevertheless, it has a fresh and vibrant bouquet with fine mineralité and vivacity. "Classic Chablis" as Didier Picq tells me with what I am sure is a grin. The palate is fresh and taut, a fine saline undercurrent with a sharp and quite harmonious finish. You don't find Chablis-Village much better than this in 2021." 89-91pts - Neal Martin, Vinous
"An overtly citrus-inflected nose reflects additional notes of green apple, tidal pool, quinine and shrimp shell. The fleshy, delicious and attractively textured flavors that retain fine delineation on the punch, youthfully austere and complex finale. This is an excellent villages and worth your interest." 89-92pts, Outstanding! - Allen Meadows, Burghound
Gilbert Picq 2021 Chablis 'Dessus la Carriere'
RRP: $79 | Offer: $69!
Dessus la Carriere (above the quarry) is made from two small plots with over 50yo vines; the west-facing Semon, and Paradis which faces due south. The two sites share a very unusual sub-soil of solid limestone rock; they sit above an abandoned lime-stone quarry. The age of the vines and the terroir of non-eroded rock make for a bracing, textbook expression of Chablis minerality.
"Vibrant again on the nose, this offers enticing scents of yellow plum, flint and subtle petrichor scents that unfurl in the glass. The palate is well balanced with fine depth, perhaps a little more linear than the Vieilles Vignes with a very focused finish. Excellent. Chablis like a Swiss watch!" 92-94pts - Neal Martin, Vinous
"It is immediately clear where this is from with its array of mineral reduction, seashore, oyster shell and just sliced citrus and green apple scents. The racy, intense and strikingly delineated medium-bodied flavors seem to be built on a base of minerality as the bone-dry finish is akin to rolling tiny rocks around your mouth. This chiseled effort should easily repay mid to even extended cellaring. I would add that it's really unusual to find a villages-level wine delivering this level of quality. Highly recommended." 90-93pts, Outstanding! - Allen Meadows, Burghound
Gilbert Picq 2021 Chablis 1er Cru 'Vosgros'
RRP: $109 | Offer: $98!
The Picq Vosgros is sourced from 2 plots of southwest facing vines that range in age from 35-60 years old – the family’s oldest 1er cru. Fermented and aged in stainless steel for 24 months.
"The 2021 Chablis Vosgros 1er Cru is the only cuvée with a normal yield (50hl/ha) as Didier warmed the vineyard with wax candles during the frost. It has a perfumed nose with hints of pressed white flowers and a light oyster shell tincture that emerges with time. The palate is well balanced with a fine bead of acidity, perhaps the most saline of Picq's cuvées with a long tail on the satisfying finish. Proper Chablis!" 93-95pts! - Neal Martin, Vinous
"Once again there is a plethora of Chablis elements suffusing the aromas of crushed fennel, iodine, mineral reduction, quinine and citrus confit. There is outstanding density and evident power to the larger-scaled flavors that possess plenty of sappy dry extract that also buffers the firm acid spine shaping the impressively long and complex finale. As is usually the case ... the overall quality level is excellent." 91-94pts, Outstanding! - Allen Meadows, Burghound
Gilbert Picq 2021 Chablis 1er Cru 'Vaucopin' MAGNUM
Vaucopin was decimated by the frosts of 2021, with a measly yield of 15hl/ha - as such, it will only be bottled in magnums. The premier cru of Vosgros lies to the west of Chichee, on south west facing plot. Two-thirds of the Picq plantings were made in the 1960s, the remainder in the 1980s. This is the "Grand Cru" of the Picq lineup, the most tensile and ageworthy of his wines.
"This is presently aromatically similar to the Vosgros but with more floral influence. The finer but not denser middleweight flavors possess a gorgeous mouthfeel thanks to the equally abundant dry extract before culminating in a bone-dry, youthfully austere and sneaky long finale. This is a wine of finesse and punch that should age effortlessly, particularly in large format." 91-94pts, Outstanding! - Allen Meadows, Burghound