Domaine Billaud-Simon Chablis 1er Cru “Les Vaillons” 2021

Producer Information

Domaine Billaud-Simon is renowned for producing some of the best wines in Chablis, long recognised for their steely, mineral style. Domaine Billaud Simon owns 20 hectares of vineyards in some of the best areas in Chablis. Most of the domaine’s wines see no oak at all, apart from the Premier Cru Mont de Milieu which is 40% vinified in oak and the Grand Cru Les Blanchots, which is 100% vinified in oak.


Vaillons is derived from the term ‘vallon’, meaning ‘small valley’. The term ‘valson’ was also used previously. ‘Vaillons’ originates from the Latin vallis or valles meaning an ‘elongated area between two raised zones’.

Total surface area: 15 ha / Surface area of our parcel: 2 ha 95 a
Soils: Very pebbly clay-limestone colluvial deposits on a kimmeridgian subsoil
Exposure: Right bank. South, South-West
Grape variety: Chardonnay


Hand harvested in order to preserve the quality of the fruit. The grapes are sorted manually on a vibrating sorting table in order to retain only the most healthy fruit. The grapes are drained naturally before being pressed using a pneumatic press in order to gently extract the juices and conserve as much aroma as possible. Static cold settling of the musts for 12 to 24 hours in stainless steel vats in order to obtain a bright, clear juice. Alcoholic fermentation followed by malolactic fermentation, both natural, in stainless steel vats. 14 to 16 months in stainless steel vats with, if necessary, some time spent in French oak barrels. The ageing process preserves freshness and minerality whilst bringing complexity and body to the wine. The wine is racked twice before being bottled in the end of Autumn.

Vintage Information

It was a very classic winter, with average levels of rain and temperatures. In late March that changed, with a spell of unseasonably warm temperatures, over 27C, which lead to a much earlier bud burst. Once again, Chablis was hit with severe frosts as the cold weather returned in early April. For seven nights (5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 12th, 13th and 14th April) the frost set in, and the teams were out in the vineyards trying to protect the newly formed buds. The left bank of the Serein and the upper plateau were the most impacted, notable losses in Les Vaillons and Petit Chablis. Flowering took place in mid-June and was quick and heterogeneous, and Summer was cool and humid until late August and early September when temperatures increased. Harvest began on the 18th September. Vigorous sorting took place at the winery, and this year Billaud-Simon recorded lower than average yields, around 30hL/ha, and in some Grand Cru parcels making less than 2 barrels.

The 2021 harvests in figures: 6 days of cutting, 30 pickers, 32 parcels harvested.

Tasting Note

This 1er Cru lies to the south-west of Chablis and is the most floral and delicate of the 1er Crus. With remarkable aromatic complexity, white flowers, blossoms, ripe citrus fruit and sherbet lemon. The palate is bright, pure and has a zesty finish.

Food Pairing

Pan-fried foie gras, salmon trout, baked haddock parcels.

Serving Suggestion

10°C to 12 °C


There is even classic Chablis character suffusing the white peach, pear and pretty floral nuances. The racy, intense and solidly mineral-driven medium weight flavors culminate in a saline and lemony finish that displays a mild touch of austerity. Drink 2026+

With a chalky, citrus attack, this is a firm wine with a mineral edge which brings a dramatic sourness to the flavour. Edgy and lean there is a raspy note here which makes the mouth water. The fruit is mountain-stream-fresh and there is a coolness which is extremely enticing. Drink 2022-2027

From six plots well distributed across Vaillons. For example, they pick the 75 year old vines in Séchets a week before those in Mélinots at the far end of the valley. Notably pale in colour, very reductive, suggestive of fresh mint on the stones. Almost dainty within the context of the vintage, yet with good grip at the back. 4 stars.

Chablis, France
100% Chardonnay

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