This cool, northerly outpost of Burgundy is renowned for its fine, mineral-rich white wines made exclusively from the Chardonnay grape.
The heartland of Chablis, which centres around the small market town from which the appellation takes its name, sits on limestone overlaid with fossil-laden Kimmeridgian clays imbuing its wines with a mouthwatering vein of texture. The finest vineyards, including its 40 Premiers Crus and seven Grands Crus, have their roots in these soils on hillside slopes.
The classic expression of Chablis is unadulterated, precise Chardonnay. Unlike the Chardonnays of the Côte d’Or, Chablis is typically unoaked and when barrels are employed, it is to bring roundness and texture not oak flavour.
In youth, the wines often sport a green tinge with zesty citrus and apple flavours combining with a creamy note derived from the malolactic conversion, which is imperative in such a cool climate to make the acidity more balanced. The finest Chablis ages magnificently with its natural acid backbone providing the structure to go the long haul.
The wines remain under-appreciated and often offer superb value in comparison to the whites of the Côte d’Or. Raveneau and Dauvissat are two of the region’s most famous names, commanding prices reflective of their status.