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A sign engraved with grapes and leaves reading 'Ville de Chablis'.
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Chablis

Chablis has a lot to offer; it is a beautiful region, producing some extraordinary and highly unique wines. It is a semi-continental region angled off to the north west of Burgundy (with the village of Chablis at its centre). This northerly location is the reason for the lean, dry, acidic nature of Chablis wine. You might also hear it described as ‘nervy’, ‘fresh’, or ‘energetic’, or even with ‘gun-flint minerality’. It grows on rock formed 150 million years ago and which is rich in tiny oyster shells, from back when it was covered in ocean and made up the sea floor. So to say Chablis ‘tastes of the sea’ is not merely a figure of speech… The fact they have less sun and more frost than other regions is also why it can be so difficult to make a great Chablis

White Wines

There are four tiers of appellations to be aware of when shopping for Chablis:

  • Petit Chablis – the ‘entry level’ or ‘village’ Chablis, with fewer or no oyster shells in the soils, but affordable and very refreshing.
  • Chablis – about two thirds of the region produces this level – and as is often advised with Burgundy wines, beware because the quality will vary substantially.
  • Premier Cru Chablis – what sets these wines apart mostly is the amount of sun they get, and the particular soil from certain plots. About 40 of these plots produce this level of Chablis.
  • Grand Cru Chablis – only 7 plots (known as climats) can boast this exalted type of Chablis, mostly from the eastern bank of the Serein river (some of the Premiers Crus share similar positioning). You’ll be guaranteed an absolute cornucopia of flavors and aromas – umami, peach, apple, pineapple, nuttiness, stone fruits, depending on the plot and the producer.

Chablis is aromatically highly complex and very adaptable with food. Good matches include oysters and shellfish, as well as fish, grilled or in sauce. The more mineral versions (left bank) go well with quality poultry or veal. The more open and round variations (right bank) are locally drunk with the traditional dishes like andouillettes (tripe sausages) and of course, the Burgundian specialty par excellence, escargots (snails).

Red Wines

There are no red Chablis wines, only white.

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