If you like wine, then you must have heard, and most of you have even tasted a wonderful white wine called Chablis. You will often find this name on the labels of bottles in your wine store. And always in the menu of good wine bars. Chablis is one of the flagships of French white wine. And if you ask a sommelier around the world what comes to their mind with the phrase “fine white French wine”, most of them would say that they thought about Chablis. It turns out that the United States and Britain used to have Chablis wine forged more often than other still wines. Any white wine, when it was called Chablis, immediately added value. So for many Anglo-Saxon countries, Chablis is a synonym for good white wine. So what should every wine lover know about Chablis?
First of all, Chablis is a dry white wine from the French wine region of Chablis. The Chablis region is formally part of Burgundy. But if we look at the map, we will see that Chablis is somewhat torn away from the main part of Burgundy and even closer to Champagne. This is one of the most northern wine regions of France. The climate is cool. Every year, winemakers face difficulties in growing and grape harvesting. But then their risks are generously rewarded with fine high-quality wine.
Soils of Chablis
Chablis are usually very mineral wines. It’s all about local soils. Vineyards are planted here on the limestones of Kimmeridge and Portland (Jurassic in geology). Moreover, the best Chablis are made from grapes harvested from Cimmerian limestone. They are more elegant and mineral. Portland limestone vineyards produce more fruity wines. But the best terroir is white clay on the limestones of Kimmeridge. Previously, there was the sea and the organic remains of its inhabitants make these soils so special. They are famous for their exceptional properties for growing white grapes.
Indeed, Chablis is always white wines from the same variety – Chardonnay.
On the labels you may notice different interpretations of the name Chablis. So there are:
- Petit Chablis – translated from French as “little Chablis”. Imagine it as the younger brother of the great Chablis wine. Grapes are usually picked from the upper, cooler microclimate parcels. This wine is better to drink young. It is lighter and more acidic.
- Chablis – the most common typical wines of the region.
- Chablis Premier Cru – the best quality Chablis from certain designated areas (40 vineyards have this category).
- Chablis Grand Cru – Great Chablis, of the highest quality. This wine is given by the best vineyards of this region. There are only 8 such vineyards in the region.
Typically, after fermentation, the wine is aged in wooden barrels for 12-18 months on a lees. It balances the high acidity, adds complexity to the aromas and flavors of the wine, making it suitable for longer storage in a bottle.
How to recognize Chablis?
The wine has a pale slightly golden color. Chablis is distinguished by fresh, often mineral aromas, few fruits (apple, lemon, grapefruit, pear). The flavor is usually also mineral, with pronounced acidity. Oak aging adds vanilla and woody notes, brioche, pastries. But of course these are the general organoleptic characteristics of Chablis. Wine differs depending on the vineyards, the winemaking methods and the vintage.
You can store a bottle of Chablis 3-5 years, if it is a Grand cru, then longer (10-15 years). Serve Chablis at a temperature of 9-12 ° C.
Chablis is perfect for seafood, snails, white meat, asparagus, cheeses (goat or conte).