The Domaine of Gilbert Picq et Ses Fils is one of the lovely, small, up-and-coming producers that dot the Chablisienne landscape. Located in the village of Chichée, just to the southeast of Chablis proper, the Picq family has exploited its small parcels of vines for several generations, with father Gilbert now having fully retired and handed over the reigns to his two sons, Didier and Pascal, and his daughter Marilyn Picq. Pascal is in charge of the vineyards for the family, while Didier mans the cellars and makes the wines, with both brothers more than content to leave the office side of the business to Marilyn. The Picq style of Chablis is very classic, with the inimitable expression of minerality that the chardonnay only picks up in these rolling hillside vineyards of the Yonne Valley, coupled to racy acidity and fine depth that comes with low yields, meticulous winemaking and fine parcels of vines.
Starting in 2006, they have converted to 100% natural yeasts for all of their cuvees. All of the Picq Chablis bottlings are fermented and raised in stainless steel tanks to protect the wines’ underlying expressions of terroir. Pascal Picq is careful to keep yields as low as possible each year, pruning back severely each winter and routinely crop-thinning on two occasions each summer. The serious work in the vineyards can be felt immediately in the Picq wines, as even the Chablis villages and the old vine cuvée offer up a depth and intensity of flavor in the mid-palates that is most often associated with at least premier cru level wines. The estate does not own a large spread of vineyards, which may also account for the exceptional quality of their Chablis AC bottling, as there is always sufficient attention paid to the village wine in the cellars by Didier Picq. The Picq Chablis AC is one of the finest examples to be found in the appellation, with the structure and cut to age gracefully for up to twenty years. It is a great, great value. In addition to the superb village wine bottling, the Picqs also offer up a Vieilles Vignes bottling made from the oldest parcels of vines in their village wine holdings (more than fifty years of age). It is a deep, rock solid and racy example of Chablis, with a minerally-infused personality and great purity of fruit, and a brisk chassis of acidity that allows it to age gracefully for fifteen to twenty-five years in a top vintage. It is easily the quality equivalent of a top premier cru.
Domaine Gilbert Picq et Ses Fils also offers up a pair of fine premier crus, both located in the village of Chichée. These include a beautifully pure and complex bottling of Vaucoupin, one of the very underrated premier crus in Chablis, and a more powerful, but equally soil-driven premier cru of Vosgros, which is produced from the family’s oldest premier cru vines. Vaucoupin lies to the northeast of the village of Chichée, on a slope that overlooks the Serein River and faces primarily due south, with some undulations turning around towards the southeast on the westerly side of the vineyard. The Picq parcel is in the steepest section of the vineyard, on a forty-five degree slope and must be completely tended by hand, including at the all important harvesting time. It is a beautifully situated premier cru, which produces a wine with a lovely chalky, oyster shell base of soil, and notes of spring flowers and beeswax augmenting the lovely tart citrus core of fruit. The premier cru of Vosgros lies to the west of the village, on a slope that also includes the premier cru vineyard of Vaugiraut, and has a more varied exposure that generally orientates towards the east. The Vosgros vines are between thirty-five and forty years of age, and this more easterly-oriented vineyard tends to produce a beautifully tensile and complex Chablis that starts out life with a bit more youthful austerity, but unfolds brilliantly with bottle age to deliver a racy and very complex and minerally expression of Chablis. It is the longest-lived wine in the Picqs’ fine portfolio of wines. less