The history of wine-making in Chablis goes back to 865 AD with the development of vineyards by the monks of Saint-Martin-de-Tours on slopes facing the Serein River that cuts through that village. At that time and for the centuries that followed, the Chablis wine trade grew substantially thanks to the waterways that made it possible to supply Paris from Auxerre. With the French Revolution, estates changed hands but remained successful, and the total vineyard surface area reached 38,000 hectares.
The end of the 19th century saw the coming of phylloxera in 1887, which wreaked havoc and reduced the vineyards to almost nothing. It was only at the beginning of the 1960s, when the Chablis vineyard surface area was less than 1,000 hectares, that Chablis wine production took off again with the growth of mechanization and setting up of anti-frost systems (another plague for the vines of the region).
The success that Chablis has enjoyed over the centuries relies onthe particularity of these vineyards that are located in a semi-continental climaticzone marked by strong temperature fluctuations. But above all else, the key tothis success is the marriage between Chardonnay, one of the most noble of all grape varieties, and the Kimmeridgian subsoil, making the terroir of Chablis one-of-a-kind, all of which amplifies the characteristics of Chardonnay.
The harmony of richness and minerality, the wines express themselves in four appellations : Petit Chablis (650ha), Chablis (3,055ha), Chablis Premier Cru (775ha),and Chablis Grand Cru (100ha).
Coming from a family that has been in the Chablis region for more than 250 years,William Fèvre’s father was already a great wine-maker after World War II.His son William founded the Domaine de la Maladière and announced his first harvest in 1959.
For many years, William Fèvre (who to this day enjoys a very good reputation as a defenderof historically renowned terroirs), has worked each plot keenly and skilfully so as to makewine whose personality reflects the authenticity of the soils from which they spring.In 1998, the venerable Henriot family from Champagne succeeded him. To continue thesefocused efforts, the Domaine was taken up with the constant desire to make indisputablygenuine and fine wines, and above all with bringing along a very personal expertise inChardonnay. All the efforts have but one goal – to finely express the most subtle variationsin the greatest Chablis crus.