The Domaine Daniel-Etienne Defaix


Daniel-Etienne Defaix owns one of the most ancient estate in Chablis (height centuries for the Vieux Château)

Since 4 centuries, Defaix family are winemakers from father to son.

The family estate is lodated on the most ancients terroirs from Chablis, where monks on Pontigny made a selection one thousand years ago to create the Chablis Appelation.

Daniel-Etienne DEFAIX perpetuates the secular and familial tradition on these great monastic appellations. The works at the vines remains traditionnal because a clean and healthy vineyard gives a good quality of grapes and so of wines.

The domain is 28 hectares, planted with Chardonnay on a typical soil called "kimmeridgien" (Jurassique supérieur, a marne argilo-calcaire with a lot of oysters fossilized inside).

The privileged exposition of the monks of Pontigny was still hill with high slope exposed south-East. A benefit for Chablis, scared by the freezes of the spring, that takes the first sunshines and also avoid crop losses.

Daniel-Etienne Defaix produces in the pure respect of the family tradition :

- 2 cuvées Chablis : Vieilles et Très Vieilles Vignes.
- 3 Chablis Premier Cru : Les Lys, Vaillon et Côte de Léchet.
- 2 Chablis Grand Cru : Blanchot et Grenouilles.
- 1 Bourgogne Rouge.


The Winemaking

Our unic style in Chablis consists in a lot of secrets and attentions:
- Harvest at good maturity and eliminating by sorting all green grapes or eventual dry rotten.
- Slow pressuring of 3 hours and separation the cuvées and keeping only the « Tetes de Cuvées ».
- 18 hours or static raking of the best, natural and carefully.
- 3 weeks of alcoholic fermentation in natural environment (natural yeast) at low temperature (18°C) to preserve the natural glycerol form the grape and this floral aspect.
- Malolactic fermentation is systematic in order to avoid all risks of fermentation in bottle.

The bâtonnage on fine lies inside the wine is made all month during 18 months, without Sulphite, only with the carbonic gas kept from the malolactic fermentation.

This autodestruction of the lies, named « autolyse », enriches the wine with good aromas from the original soil. Its gives to the wine bigger amplitude by ageing, tertiary aromas and fresh fruits. But also a perfect structure for keeping with the “gras” and increasing its aromatic persistence and its potential of rétro-olfaction...

The Filtration and fining are not systematic (We don’t remove the things we are waiting for…) and the bottling is made under nitrogen.

The wines are kept between 6 or 12 months in our chai of vinification before selling.
At this point, The Chablis is 2 years old and the Premiers crus are between 5 to 8 years old.