Parcels are vinified separately in order to allow the personality of each terroir to be fully expressed.
Our new winery, at the entrance to Chablis on the Route d’Auxerre, is equipped with the very best winemaking equipment, despite our firm belief in minimum intervention! Our Premier Cru and Chablis grapes are harvested by hand and are then sorted on a vibrating table in order to ensure that only the best quality fruit goes into our pneumatic presses, which we set at less than 2kg/cm2 of pressure.
A week before harvest we created a “pied de cuve” by hand-picking enough grapes to make 1000 litres of juice, which is left to ferment naturally. This provides us with a stock of active, natural yeasts ready to use as soon as the new vintage arrives. All of our wines are made this way, from Petit Chablis to our Fourchaume “Héritage”.
We firmly believe that minerality is the signature of Chablis and our winemaking is managed accordingly. Depending on the vintage, we will use between 15 - 35% of barrels, replacing a proportion each year, so that the imprint of the new oak is barely perceptible. We blend the oak-aged wines with those that have been aged in stainless steel tanks to achieve the perfect balance. We appreciate the body and complexity that is achieved from oak ageing, however, it can also lead to a more oxidative character than wines aged in stainless steel tanks. Oak should never dominate and the wines aged in stainless steel bring a freshness and vivacity to the blend.
Cold stabilisation is an option to remove the risk of tartaric precipitation, especialy for the wines bottled just before the harvest. The Premier Crus, stay in the cellar for a second winter to allow natural stabilisation and avoid fining and filtration . As a result, you may occasionally find small crystals in the bottom of our bottles if they have spent a long time in the fridge. This is 100% natural and doesn’t in any way affect the quality of the wine. Similarly, whenever possible, we prefer not to filter our wines to enhance quality. If we are required to filter, we do so very gently, just before bottling, to preserve the natural nuances of each terroir.
Purity, delicacy, precision, structure, balance, typicity and terroir expression are the characteritics we are looking for to signed the wines Le Domaine d'Henri; built to age well for years. The oldest vineyards with the best sun orientation bring us the minerality which is the true signature of Chablis.
When Henri opened a bottle of his cherished Fourchaume, he used to say “Chablis, that’s the purest expression of chardonnay !”