2011 Domaine Sébastien Dampt Chablis Premier Cru Côte de Léchet

As 2013 draws to a close, we’d like to thank you all for your continued patronage. We love hearing from you, whether in person, on the phone, or via email. Whether it be regarding our write-ups, sales & specials, or our continued dedication to bring you some of the best deals on wine, your collective encouragement keeps us going, day in and day out. As you would imagine, December is a very busy month for our staff, and this year has been no exception, but that’s not going to stop us from letting you in on yet another new producer now imported by TWH. Introcucing Domaine Sébastien Dampt!

Long time customers know our M.O. here.  David visits Burgundy (and the Rhône, and the Loire …) several times annually, seeking out top quality producers in search of a California importer. At any given time, he has irons in the fire; as he prefers to taste several vintages from any given producer, before pulling the trigger and opening the gates for direct-importation.  Consistent high quality for price is the motivation that ultimately leads to “Imported by Wine House Limited” on the back label. Well, he’s done it again, and this time with a producer in Chablis! Ah, Chablis. We love it. You love it. What’s not to love? It’s Chardonnay is its purest form: fleshy yellow fruit framed by mineral undertones and that unmistakeable bright, zippy acidity. No wonder the wines from Chablis have such a strong, dedicated following.

Sébastien’s family has been making wine in Chablis for over 150 years. He started his domaine in 2007 after working for several years with his father, Daniel, and his brother, Vincent at the family’s Domaine Daniel Dampt. He’s located in the village of Milly which is just west of Chablis at the bottom of the famed Premier Cru Côte de Léchet vineyard. Half of Sébastien’s holdings are Premier Cru, including nearly a hectare of 50 year old vines in Côte de Léchet. He makes his wines in the old-school Chablis style: all tank fermentation, bringing out the natural flavors of the fruit with the region’s hallmark minerality and zippy freshness. Burghound’s Allen Meadows cites the young Dampt’s no oak philosophy in describing the “well made wines and at prices the Dampt wines sell for, they are screaming bargains.” Having had the wines sitting on a pallet in our warehouse, we haven’t (literally) had a chance to get them to our sales floor. Well, we have several customers who love Chablis, and have fished out some bottles for them. The response has been remarkable. Chablis-centric TWH customers do not just like the Dampt wines, THEY LOVE THEM!!! With the zeal that only a life-altering wine experience can provide, customers have returned and loaded up! This prompted me to sport for a bottle of the 2011 Domaine Sébastien Dampt Chablis Premier Cru Côte de Léchet to share with today’s Saturday staff. I popped a bottle, took a whiff … ripe apples and mineral and a kiss of citrus emerge un-coaxed, but on the palate, oh my! It’s fresh and lively, why of course it is, it’s Chablis … Premier Cru Chablis, that is! I came back from the tasting table and looked at Anya, “Oh, you’re going to looooove this!” She does. So does Tom. Anya did add that one can catch a hint of tangerine in aromas as well. Maybe because it’s late December, but I get that too. The last time we had Premier Cru Chablis in the house, it’s price tag was approaching the half-a-hundred level. The biggest benefit of direct-importation? This baby’s sub $30!

Here’s what the aforementioned Mr. Meadows had to say about Sébastien’s 2011 Côte de Léchet when he tasted it from barrel, “A strikingly complex and refined nose features an abundance of citrus influence but also scents of green fruit, mineral reduction and sea shore aromas. There is really lovely intensity to the precise and stony flavors that possess terrific drive on the dry, clean and impressively persistent finish. This is potentially first rate.”

So yay! We’ve got yet another new star producer among our stable of small production, super quality imports … a Chablis producer, that is. That gives us all reason to celebrate. Speaking of celebration, this begins my personal busiest time of the year. The football has been frenzied and highly entertaining. The band has a gig tomorrow night (and another one on January 11) and tonight, we’re all headed to Chapeau! for our holiday party. Mmmmmm. Oh what fun we had last night selecting the wines! Then, of course, comes New Year’s.

This being our final Sunday email of the year, I’d like to thank you all again for everything you’ve done keeping us happily busy, scouring the planet for some of the best deals in the wine world. On behalf of our entire staff, I wish you all a Happy, Healthy, and Prosperous 2014! – Peter Zavialoff

As always, please feel free to email me with any questions or comments about Chablis, direct importation, English Football, music, or Bordeaux: peter.winehouse@sbcglobal.net

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