Domaine Guy Robin et Fils

Chablis | Burgundy

 

marie_ange_profileIn the early 2000s, Marie-Ange Robin had a choice. Stay in Paris and pursue a successful career as a fine art dealer, or return home to Chablis and take the reins of the family winery. Her decision would not only change her family’s fortunes but also preserve a critical piece of Chablis history.

Domaine Guy Robin today is a winery reborn. Marie-Ange represents the fourth generation of vine growers in the family. It was her father Guy who slowly, parcel by parcel, purchased vineyards in the 1960s; yet it is Marie-Ange who has brought the winery to a level of greatness for which it was always destined.

Simply put, there are few other Chablis estates with such a rich collection of original rootstock, and as a result, few other estates that deliver Chablis wines of such character and complexity.

Because Guy refused to tear up vines for high-yielding clones as was the practice decades ago in Chablis, some 80% of the family’s vines across five grand cru vineyards and four premier cru vineyards are older vines – these low-yielding, pre-phylloxera vines deliver Chardonnay that is richly aromatic, reflecting Chablis’ historic terroir like a mirror.

North Berkeley in the 1990s brought Robin Chablis to the United States, but as time passed, it was clear that Guy was losing his passion for his craft. After a brief pause in our partnership, however, we are thrilled to be back – and have been inspired by the sea change that Marie-Ange has affected in both the fields and the cellar.

FARMING & WINEMAKING

Marie-Ange Robin cares for the family’s vines according to “lutte raisonee” principles, avoiding chemical treatments and following organic practices as much as the vintage and conditions allow. Some 80% of the estate is older vines; in fact, the estate’s vines in grand cru Blanchot are some of Chablis’ oldest, at 80 years old. Importantly, almost all estate vines are pre-phylloxera rootstock.

Grapes are harvested by hand, then pressed and fermented on indigenous yeasts in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks. Wines are aged in mostly older French oak barrels for one year, with approximately 10% new barrels per vintage.

WHITE WINES

Chablis Vieilles Vignes

The family’s old vines sit at the top of the slope between premier cru vineyards ‘Montmains’ and ‘Vaillons.’ This is the heart of Chablis! So much “basic” Chablis is grown from miles away from the appellation’s top vineyards, but this wine hails from the same soils as premier crus; it considers grand cru vineyards as its neighbors.

 

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Chablis 'Cuvée Marie-Ange Robin' Vieilles Vignes

Named after winemaker Marie-Ange, the daughter of Guy Robin who assumed the reins of the estate in 2004. Under Marie-Ange, this “sleeper” Chablis powerhouse has come into its full potential! A special selection of older vines that sit at the top of a broad slope facing premier cru vineyard ‘Vaillons’ in the heart of Chablis.

 

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Chablis 1er Cru 'Montée de Tonnerre' Vieilles Vignes

The family owns some seven acres in this excellent premier cru vineyard that borders Chablis’ grand cru row. Soils are known as “millefeuille,” or many-layered, with white clay and fossilized oyster shells – very mineral.

 

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Chablis 1er Cru 'Vaillons' Vieilles Vignes

The family’s older vines in the southwestern end of premier cru ‘Vaillons’ deliver a broader, more fruity but no less refined Chablis wine.

 

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Chablis 1er Cru 'Montmains' Vieilles Vignes

This vineyard across the river from Chablis’ grand cru row is perhaps the most faithful example of premier cru Chablis – mineral and fresh, with penetrating aromas and a full mouthful of sunny citrus fruit.

 

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Chablis Grand Cru 'Les Clos' Vieilles Vignes

If there is a starting point of Chablis, ‘Les Clos’ is it – this is the hallowed spot where savvy growers first planted grape vines in Chablis. Full-bodied, sultry, expressive: ‘Les Clos’ is the reigning queen of Chablis. The family’s older vines sit right in the middle of this legendary grand cru.

 

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Chablis Grand Cru 'Blanchot' Vieilles Vignes

This peerless vineyard sits at the southern end of Chablis’ famous grand cru row, at the mouth of a valley; facing east, ‘Blanchot’ allows grapes to ripen slowly and fully, this extra time delivering a Chablis of incredible depth and complexity. The Robin family’s few vines here are some of the oldest in Chablis, many more than 100 years. Less than 1,000 bottles produced each vintage.

 

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Chablis Grand Cru 'Valmur' Vieilles Vignes

A little more altitude, a little less soil, a whole lot more chalky energy and nervous energy. The family cleared land near the forest line to plant their vines here in the 1950s and 1960s. A gorgeous wine to watch evolve over the years.

 

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Established: 1845
Winemaker: Marie-Ange Robin
Region: France • Burgundy • Chablis
Vineyard size: 50 acres