Exploring Chablis

While Chablis may be a small village of 2,500 people, its wines are known around the world for high quality and distinctive characteristics. The village itself is located at the northern end of Burgundy, 115 miles from Paris. Like other wines in Burgundy, there is a tier system to show the consumer the quality level of the wine they are buying, with Grand Cru being the highest level. This rating system is based upon the vineyard that the grapes come from, not who the producer is, or the prices that the wines have brought in past years. So don’t confuse this rating system with other regions of France, such as Bordeaux, which is completely different.

All wine produced in Chablis is Chardonnay. Don’t look for a creamy, buttery Chardonnay here, these are exactly the opposite. Chablis is almost always unoaked, but some are barrel aged, usually in neutral barrels. The oak is used primarily in the Grand Cru wines. Expect the wine to be light, crisp, and highly mineral in flavor. The term mineral is often tossed about loosely, but this is like licking a limestone or oyster shell. The wine is bone dry with high acid that makes your mouth pleasantly water. Green apple, pear, and lemony citrus are right up front on the palate. The finish sometimes comes forth with a bit of cheese rind. The cooler climate here is reflected in the wine.

One hundred million years ago, give or take a few years, Chablis was an ocean floor. This is extremely evident as the soil, which is primarily called kimmeridgean limestone, is composed of broken-down seashells of all types. Many of these shells have been pressed together by time and the elements to form shell clusters. Fossilized shells are everywhere, and many are in pristine condition.

kimmeridgean limestone

Preuses Grand Cru Vineyard in Chablis

Chablis is a fantastic place to visit for those looking for country peace and quiet. Don’t expect night life, partying, or a lot of shops or markets. But if you love great wine and want to visit a few world class wineries in a picturesque, peaceful, town, this is the place to do it.

2021 Turned out to be a brutal growing season in all of Burgundy. A staggering 80 % of all grapes were lost to rain, hail, and freezing conditions. This is bad news for all of us, as wineries will be forced to raise the price of the 2020 and 2019 that they still are in possession of to help compensate for the 2021 loss. So, buy Chablis at a lower price while you still can. You’ll be glad you did.

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