Gerard & Lilian Duplessis
“Zen-like: clinical, efficient and linear Chablis” – Neal Martin – Wine Advocate
Domaine Gérard Duplessis is a family run cellar founded in 1895, today managed by Lilian Duplessis. Located in the heart of the Chablis’s region it has 9 ha divided on 8 different appellations. Every vineyard is worked in accordance to organic farming since 2007 and achieved certification in 2013 hence all the wines now from then are labelled as such. In fact he now farms biodynamically. All vineyards used for Village, Premier Cru, and Grand Cru wines are Kimmeridgian limestone, with the Petit Chablis on Portlandian limestone, making the Village Chablis a seriously good village style. As mentioned above the Domaine is Certified organic, quite the achievement in such a marginal climate as Chablis.
Owning such superb old vineyards is one of the key’s to the quality of wines produced by the Domaine, particularly in the ever warming climate of Chablis.
INTRODUCTION FROM NEAL MARTIN ON RECENT VISITS TO DOMAINE
“I had to walk through a building site upon entering Duplessis. They are expanding their barrel cellar with a new ground-floor tasting room, which should be finished by the end of this year. Lilian Duplessis is the fifth generation of one of the oldest winemaking families in Chablis, currently farming 9.8 hectares of vines that have been certified organic since 2013. “It was hot and sunny in 2020. We picked around August 24, and it took about a week, a combination of hand-picking, mainly on the Right Bank, and machine-harvesting for the rest,” Duplessis told me on my brief visit (he was busy out in the vineyard). “For example, Montmains is picked by machine. The wines were quite heavy [at the beginning of their barrel maturation] and now they are becoming more classic, with alcohol levels of 12.5° to 12.8°. We will add a bit of SO2 at racking and just before bottling.” The 2020s from barrel are promising, particularly the Montée de Tonnerre and Montmains, which somehow echoed Thomas Picoat Pattes-Loup in style. I have to admit that at the Burgfest tasting, the Duplessis wines could be a little perplexing, not least when I compare them to my own notes out of barrel, which suggest that they might enter a dumb phase after bottling and require longer to settle.
“The 2020 vintage was easy,” Lilian Duplessis tells me as we walk down to the cellar. Upstairs, the building-work has progressed a great deal over the last 12 months, though the tasting room is not ready. “It was much easier than in 2021. I can’t tell exactly how much of the volume I lost in 2021 but certainly more than one-third. We cropped around 25hL/ha. The frost was everywhere, damaging parcels not normally affected. I started the harvest around 20 September. I vinify parcels separately and use a greater proportion of larger vessels because I like the micro-oxygenation.”