Anyone who's hung around the shop for long enough is well aware of our love for Lilian Duplessis and his immortal expressions of Chablis. It’s nothing new to talk about how the wines of Chablis are “alive” and “seductive,” but the different cuvees of Duplessis are a masterclass in those concepts, at perhaps the best quality-to-price ratio in the region. They’re wines you can sit with for hours, watching them shape-shift and bloom. Time seems to stop with these wines, or at least slow way down.
Domaine Gérard Duplessis spans five generations and dates back to 1895. Lilian took over for his father in 1999; ever the tried and true Burgundy guy, he bleeds Chablis. Lilian had plenty of opportunities to travel the world and study different winemaking techniques, but as he puts it, “there was no point in making Sauvignon Blanc in New Zealand, I needed to know how to work Chardonnay in Burgundy.” After partnering with his father for several years, Lilian began to oversee the domaine in 2007, and converted to organics in 2010. The eight-hectare property is divided into 20 different plots, and all are tended to by Lilian.
Lilian operates in the vineyard with a light but determined touch. He’s singularly focused on showcasing the best raw material that his plots can offer. It makes sense; soils in Chablis are some of the most unique in the world, teeming with life and character. Here you’ll find Kimmeridgian Clay, a rare type of marl with elements of limestone, packed with fossilized Exogyra Virgula, a small comma-like oyster shell that litters the ground like jewels. It’s one of the primary sources for that famed Chablis knife-edge minerality.
The winemaking process at Domaine Gérard Duplessis is relatively hands off. Lilian uses barely any sulfur and in knockout vintages, none is used at all. Each plot is vinified separately in stainless steel and the Premiers Crus and Grand Cru spend six months in used barrels. Several of the Premier Crus vineyards bear fruit that punches well above their weight in terms of quality, and will have you asking why these wines don’t cost twice as much.