Chablis: One Name, a Million Gems
By AdFeatures | Monday, April 30, 2012, 09:45
Chablis is one of the safest bets for your bottle of white, a giant in every British winery.
However, the road to wine stardom is never a straightforward one: not only does Chablis have to face fierce competition in the French wine market, but in Burgundy, where it’s produced, the vineyards also have to stand adverse climate conditions during severe continental winters.
Reaching the final stages of what could be seen as a process of natural selection, most of the available Chablis bottles are some of the most intriguing offers on the market for those who love dry and fruity wines, with zesty hints of citrus and a lively essence.
But lines need to be drawn in order to discover and purely appreciate this wine, as Chablis is an encompassing label which includes several options able to suit different tastes.
Located in the northernmost tip of the Burgundy region, the Chablis vineyards consist almost entirely of Chardonnay grapes, whose products are divided into different classifications which vary along with the kinds of soil and slope: from top to bottom of the range the names used are Grand Cru, Petit Cru, Chablis and Petit Chablis.
The grapes from the South-West facing slopes are the cream of the crop and fall into the Premier Cru appellation, as they enjoy the most hours of sun, while vineyards on the hills facing southeast produce Premier Cru wines, of standards almost as high.
Even within the Grand Cru category, which covers only 3 percent of the total Chablis production, there are a total of seven different climates, with products ranging from fruity Bougros to smooth Valmur and citrusy Vaudésir.
Among the Premier Crus, a couple excellent choices are Brocard’s Vaulorent, with a dense and strong essence, and William Fièvre’s Vaillons, one of the few Chablis with hints of oak.
But the incredible versatility of this wine also lies in the quality of the most affordable appellations, with Chablis and Petit Chablis offering luscious bottles such as the crispy Domain Baillard or the all-rounder Sylvain Mosnier.
Therefore Chablis has to be treated as a world of its own within the French whites: in order to capture its real essence you’ll certainly need more than a few tastings.