Since 2007 the wines of Domaine Costal / Henri Costal have found their way into my life (and into my cellar); whether in restaurants I love or sharing bottles with friends at home. The focused fruit from these incredible bottles of Chablis are something I have no plans to stop drinking anytime soon, as they are some of the best examples possible without completely blowing my wine budget.
Remember the Gallo jug wine that was called “California Chablis”? It was white, slightly sweet, disgusting, and not at all Chablis. Chablis, like Champagne must come from these specific delineated regions within France. Chablis, above all, should be focused and vibrant.
Chablis is a very special place.
A small wine region based at the north of Burgundy that grows only one grape, chardonnay. Unlike the Côte de Beaune of Burgundy where chardonnay is often times made with various amounts of new French oak, the wines of Chablis show the grape without any makeup on. Chardonnay is handled a bit differently up here; another falsity that I’d like to call out is that a lot of people are under the assumption that wines of Chablis see no oak. That is NOT TRUE. While some producers primarily opt for wines fermented in steel, a lot of producers use at least some French oak; sometimes new, more often a bit older. Many great producers find ways to use barrels at different stages of the winemaking. However, a light hand of used oak can really create an incredible balance of textured and brightness of a clean acidity. I prefer the wines of this region, where the minerality and citrus shine through in the wines. They’re truly unlike anything else and can only be made in this part of the world, mostly due to the land.
The terroir of this area is another reason this place is so special. Kimmeridgian soil, a chalk & limestone combination gives the wines a dry, zingy minerality. The mouthfeel of these wines can range from spritzy meyer lemon to a more creamy lemon curd profile.
Domaine Costal, based in Chablis, has some pretty stellar credentials. There are two winemakers in Chablis that are considered iconic: Dauvissat & Raveneau. Raveneau has definitely helped shape the recipe of Costal’s stunning wines. Bernard Raveneau turned Kermit Lynch onto the wines of Collett and thus a new label (Domaine Costal) was born.
Kermit, The Colletts, and Bernard Raveneau all have a voice in the guiding direction of these wines and the quality shines with this many masterminds behind the bottles. There are two wines made under this label, specifically made for the Kermit Lynch portfolio. “Truffieres” is a terroir driven Chablis and loosely translates to “Land of the Truffles”. The second label is a Premier Cru bottling from the “Vaillons” vineyard. At Costal, the vines are worked organically and the wines see a combination of stainless steel and foudre (BIG old barrels).
The wines of Chablis are incredibly versatile and can certainly be drunk on their own as an aperitif, are a classic pairing with chilled shellfish (specifically oysters), but can also stand up to richer cream sauces with poultry.
Like I said, these are wines I hope to never stop drinking; I suggest every wine lover grab some bottles. With such limited production these bottles are not available year round (sadly), so stock up now.
THE WINES OF DOMAINE COSTAL
CHABLIS LES TRUFFIÈRES : Vine age around 20 years with only 3.15 acres of vines for this label. 100% of wine is vinified in stainless steel and aged for another 10 months in stainless steel. After being raised in stainless steel for 10 months, wine spends 3 months in demi-muid barrels (600-L). The wine is neither fined nor filtered. The Truffières vineyard is located in the commune of Villy, north of the town of Chablis
CHABLIS 1ER CRU VAILLONS : Vine age around 30 years with only 24 acres of vines for this label. Fermented with indigenous yeasts in stainless tank. After racking, wine goes through malolactic fermentation in 1/3 stainless tank, 1/3 neutral barrel (228 L), and 1/3 used demi-muid barrel (600 L)
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