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THE DOMAINE

Vincent Dampt is the scion of two great winemaking names, Dampt and Defaix, so it is hardly surprising that he would choose wine as his métier - or perhaps it chose him!

Domaine Vincent Dampt En Primeur 2020

Vincent enrolled himself in wine school in Beaune aged just 14, then worked in Puligny-Montrachet (with Olivier Leflaive) before heading further afield to Marlborough, New Zealand – an experience he calls ‘mind-expanding’. Vincent then returned to Chablis, to the family estate in the village of Milly, to work under the expert tutelage of his father Daniel. In 2003, Vincent inherited a few small vineyard parcels, also in Milly, and was able to create his own domaine, adding a few further plots over the years. Vincent and his wife Emilie now manage eight hectares of vines, including those in the premiers crus of Côte de Léchet and Vaillons: prized sites on pure Kimmeridgian soils – calcareous clays with limestone and marine fossils - held to give Chablis their hallmark minerality.


Fiercely passionate about his native terroir, yet receptive to new ideas and methods in pursuit of quality, Vincent continues to forge his own path. Respectful of the land, careful with his vineyards, he is acutely aware of his role as custodian of both. He has always taken a ‘lutte raisonnée’ (‘reasoned’) approach to viticulture, choosing natural treatments, and following time-honoured methods to work the soil and manage the canopy. He is working towards HVE certification (Haute Valeur Environnementale – France’s agricultural sustainability programme), to further strengthen his move towards greener estate management.

Vintage Report

domaine vincent dampt wine

2020 was kind to the chablisiens, for once, with a growing season that proved to be relatively uneventful (something of an event in itself, in a wine region as climatically challenged as Chablis!) As all wine producers remind us, the genesis of every vintage begins the year before. The ripe, super-concentrated 2019s were forged in extremely warm, dry conditions which also charged the vines with energy, auguring well for the year to come.

Abundant winter rains boosted the water table, while mild temperatures in the New Year encouraged early budburst. This caused obvious consternation among the growers, acutely attuned to the risk of frost and dreading a repeat of 2016’s notorious black frost. Plunging temperatures at the end of March/early April were worrisome, giving growers a week’s worth of nuits blanches in the vines, burning ‘bougies’ (frost-protection candles) through the night to protect fledgling buds. 

Fortunately, most escaped relatively unscathed, and from then on, vineyards basked in textbook conditions, spared climatic issues or disease. April was warm and in May the mercury soared, giving exceptional weather for an early flowering. The main challenge was water, or rather: the lack of it! While water reserves were initially adequate, scant rainfall meant that by July, vines in many sectors were complaining hard.

August saved the day with just the right kind of light, refreshing showers, reviving the parched vines and kickstarting the ripening process. Vincent Dampt began picking on 27th August, matching 2003 as the earliest harvest in his experience. The grapes came into the chai in pristine condition. Small and concentrated due to the drought (with yields reduced by 20-25%), the berries were nonetheless beautifully balanced, with fine acidities and sugars in check.  

THE WINES

Domaine Vincent Dampt En Primeur 2020

THE 2020 VINTAGE AT DOMAINE VINCENT DAMPT

These are wines with presence, elegance and élan.

As usual, Vincent vinified his premiers crus in stainless steel tanks to conserve all-important fraicheur, followed by careful élevage on the fine lees, just enough to refine the wines and add dimension. The resulting wines are emphatically chablisien: dynamic and lithe, expressing their distinctive terroirs through fruit at once diaphanous and concentrated.

Vincent takes a different winemaking approach for his grands crus, fermenting in barrel, in line with tradition and befitting the stature of the site. Bougros 2020 is rich but toned, gourmand without excess – every inch the grand cru.

CHABLIS 1ER CRU VAILLONS

Vincent’s Vaillons parcel totals 0.6 hectares and yielded just 4000 bottles in 2020. The site has fairly deep, cool clay soils above the distinctive fossil-rich Kimmeridgian subsoils, giving limpid, mineral-driven wines. Vaillons 2020 is immediately beguiling with its subtle perfume at once fresh and slightly exotic - jasmine or wisteria - with citrus peel and ripe pear notes. The palate is textured and chalky, its gentle, sensuous orchard fruit supported by a steely core of incisive acids. The finish is long-line and mineral, supremely refreshing. 

Corney & Barrow Score 18+
Recommended drinking from 2022-2028+


£255/CASE OF 12 BOTTLES, IN BOND UK

CHABLIS 1ER CRU LES LYS

Les Lys sits within the premier cru of Vaillons and can be classified as such, but is a premier cru in its own right, with a character all its own. Its wines can be highly distinctive, with delicate, complex flavours and keen acids, thanks to its cooler, north-easterly aspect and drawn-out growing season. Vincent’s single hectare makes approximately 6,000 bottles from venerable 60-year-old vines.  Les Lys 2020 offers enticing aromas of linden blossom, comice pear, and white pepper. The palate is perfumed and precise, its fine fruit offset by thrilling acids, minerals glittering on the finish.

Corney & Barrow Score 18+
Recommended drinking from 2022-2028+


£255/CASE OF 12 BOTTLES, IN BOND UK

CHABLIS 1ER CRU CÔTE DE LÉCHET

Vincent’s parcel totals just 0.9 hectares, of which just half is in production currently (some older vines needed replacing), yielding 5,000 bottles. This is a fantastic site, on a steep slope (38% gradient), south-east facing and benefiting from direct sunshine. The poor, stony soils here yield ‘classic’ Chablis premier cru, particularly from older vines (Vincent’s are on average 50 years old). The 2020 has the signature chablisien nose of petrichor - dry earth after warm rain, tangy and mineral - with a hint of the exotic. Captivating with its simultaneous power and lightness, the wine casts its richness and minerals over the palate, wrapping concentrated fruit around a firm core.

Corney & Barrow Score 18.5
Recommended drinking from 2024-2028+


£255/CASE OF 12 BOTTLES, IN BOND UK

CHABLIS GRAND CRU BOUGROS

For many years now, Vincent and his brother Sébastien have been working with a small vigneron in Bougros, helping manage the vines during the growing season, then buying the fruit, enough to make approximately 200 cases, which they sell under their Maison Dampt label. The grapes are fermented in old oak barrels (third and fourth use), and the wine is then held on the lees until the spring, when it is racked into stainless steel to preserve freshness and vivacity.  The 2020 is an exercise in refined luxury, richness without ostentation. Immediately compelling with its exotic frangipani scent, the wine is ripe and silky on the palate, its pear and nectarine fruit held in check by fine acids, dovetailing seamlessly. The finish goes on and on. An exemplary grand cru from these two winemaking talents.

Corney & Barrow Score 18.5
Recommended drinking from 2024-2030


£525/CASE OF 12 BOTTLES, IN BOND UK

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