Domaine Christophe et fils

The Story

Sebastien Christophe is our budding superstar from Chablis. We love his wines, but we also love him, the ultimate underdog. While known for its stolid rigidity, France’s wine culture still allows for a lot of mobility. That’s how a young kid gifted just a couple of acres of average vineyard land in Chablis could rise up seemingly out of nowhere to make brilliant wine from the three most heralded Premier Crus in the region. That happened because he was also gifted with a good bit of moxie and a cranking work ethic, which will you get far anywhere. What makes Sebastien’s wines so great? Well, as is the case in Chablis, it’s not the winemaking, which is pretty standard for the region, as the goal here is never to showcase cellar prowess, but rather the nature of the vineyard. Sebastien vinifies and ages wine overwhelmingly in stainless steel, as is the general practice of the region. Less than 10% of the wines see cellar aging in neutral oak barrels, providing a little textural and structural contrast to the bristly energy of stainless steel.

He started with a small half hectare parcel of Petit Chablis from his family and made a run for it. After winemaking school he started to vinify this tiny parcel and has slowly acquired small parcels of village vineyards and a lot of Petit Chablis land. He also rents parcels that he farms entirely himself. Today, he has three premier crus on the right bank of the Serein river, Fourchaume, Mont de Milieu and Montée de Tonnerre. To our surprise, it’s difficult (almost impossible) to find his wines in town on any list. He exports almost everything, save the wines sold to some of the top spots in Paris. Luckily for us, we are the first to work with Christophe in the United States. -TV

Lay of the Land

Despite nearly unequivocally mentioned in the first breath by sommeliers as one of their favorite wine regions, Chablis often appears in books as the “I guess I should make a little room for Chablis in my Côte d’Or Burgundy bible” category. Indeed it’s not as sexy and elite as the Côte d’Or, but there is a lot to say that doesn’t get said enough. So, while we don’t intend to write an entire book out of this section on our website, perhaps we can bring some ideas not often discussed about Chablis, but relevant to better understand the subject—one that is not so expensive a lesson in understanding terroir compared to that Golden Slope, further south. (Maybe Chablis should consider changing its name to the Côte d’Argent, or maybe the Côte de Platine—a little silver or platinum could be a competitive contrast to the gold.

Chablis winters can be bitterly cold and dry. The lack of snowfall can be deceiving when you’re feeling the bite of the wind, and there are precious few easily found and inviting establishments to duck into and shake off the chill with a warming drink. Its semi-continental climate is similar to Champagne’s to the north, with the winds that whistle in from the North Sea. The frigid air that goes straight to the bone is caused by a relative lack of trees, which fully exposes to the elements, making one of the best refuges to warm up a 50-55°F cellar.

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Domaine Christophe et fils

Domaine Christophe et fils - 2018 Chablis, Vieilles Vignes

Price: $44.00
Size: 750ml

Out of stock

Type of Wine: White
Grape(s): Chardonnay
Style: High acid, Mineral


Terroir: Sebastien’s Chablis Vieille Vignes is alive with textural grit and dimension. It’s a powerhouse Chablis that comes from two parcels located in Fonetnay-près-Chablis, one parcel above the 1er Cru Fontenay and the other southeast of the village. These old vine parcels planted in 1959 by Sebastien’s grandfather render a wine that often starts rich and somewhat subtle in the nose (similar to a Saumur or Côte d’Or white when first opened) but narrows into a wine with a dense core of rich mineral impressions and begins to blossom and freshen up in the glass, unfolding one layer after another rewarding the patient drinker. The palate is dense at first but becomes lively and taut with more air. In many cases it can be equally or more compelling than Christophe’s premier cru wines.

Vinification: The grapes are picked by hand, pressed, settled in tank overnight, then racked off the heavy sediments after one day before beginning its low temperature fermentation. The spontaneous wild yeast fermentation lasts between 1-2 months and takes place in stainless steel (85-90%) and 228-liter oak barrels (10-15% in 5-6 year-old wood). Battonage (stirring) is sometimes made, but only in the steel tanks and the frequency depends on the vintage—warm years nothing and in colder ones no more than two times. The first SO2 addition is made after the press before fermentation and the second (and sometimes the last) after both fermentations have finished.

Aging: Aged for 12 months in 10-15% old oak 228-liter barrels (5-6 years old on average) with the remainder in stainless steel. It is fined and filtered.

(Subjective and based on young wines)

General Impressions:

Mineral, Metal, Stony, Dense, Ocean Spray, Dried Citrus Peel, White Fruit Flesh,

Mineral Impressions:

Lightly SaltySaltyMetalMineralWet StoneFlintGraphiteReductivePetrol


Drink YoungShort-Term BenefitsLong-Term BenefitsUnknown

Technical Precision:














Wood Presence:


The Vineyard


Kimmeridgian limestone marl and marne (limestone rich clay)


SustainableOrganic CertifiedBiodynamic CertifiedUncertified Naturalist



Vine Age:

Planted in 1959

Altitude (meters):



West and North


(typical numbers; not vintage specific)

Enological Additions:

Sulfur Dioxide. It’s fined with bentonite (a natural clay) and filtered with diatomaceous earth (fossilized sedimentary algae with a silaceous skeleton)—both are natural products.

Total SO2:

None AddedVery LowLowMediumHigh


12.5 - 13.25



Titratable Acidity:


Residual Sugar:


Notes compiled in 2019 by Ted Vance (The Source) and Sebastien Christophe