Best of Burgundy: celebrating the timeless appeal of a classic Chablis

VINE TIME: The picturesque town of Chablis is found in the Burgundy region of France

This week, local wine retailer Paul Adams of Fine Wines of Mayfield, who also has a new shop located in Royal Victoria Place, raises a glass to a French favourite…

‘Chablis is a wine that takes you on a journey through the limestone and flint of its terroir’ somebody once said.

One of the great wine appellations, Chablis is part of the Burgundy region and sits slightly separate to the rest of Burgundy. Situated 70 miles to the north and west of the main part of Burgundy which itself stretches south for 100 miles south from Dijon.

It produces only white wine from the Chardonnay grape and has four broad quality levels: Petit Chablis, Chablis, Premier Cru and Grand Cru. Each of these levels is defined by the exact area the vines are grown all of which lie immediately surrounding the pretty town of Chablis itself:

Terroir – Kimmeridgian Limestone is the hallmark of Chablis terroir, this ancient, marine-derived soil is rich in marine fossils and oyster shells, giving Chablis their unique mineral chalky notes. Cool Climate: Chablis is located in a relatively cool climate. The northern Burgundy location results in wines with high acidity and a crisp, refreshing quality.

Petit Chablis – the entry-level wine was added to the Chablis appellation in 1944 in response to the high demand for Chablis wines seen in the previous decade. They broadly make up the outer edges of the region sitting adjacent to the other appellations and whilst the Petit Chablis may not have the Prestige of Premier Cru or Grand Cru, it offers a more accessible and affordable way to experience the flavours and characteristics of the Chablis terroir. Petit Chablis makes up 19 per cent of the production of the whole Chablis region.

Chablis – makes up 66 per cent of the Chablis production with hundreds of producers offering a range of qualities and prices giving a vast amount of choice and a range of prices. Food pairing is recommended with seafood especially oysters, poultry and creamy sauces. The core of the appellation itself it is a well-respected name in the wine world.

Premier Cru – known for their increased complexity and depth compared to Chablis AOC. They exhibit a wider range of flavours and aromas, often including more pronounced mineral, citrus, and floral notes. Many Chablis Premier Cru wines have the potential to age and evolve gracefully in the bottle. They can develop richer textures and more intricate nuances with time.

Grand Cru – divided into climats (terrroir): Blanchot, Les Clos, Grenouilles, Valmur, Vaudésir, Preuses, and Bougros and located in the heart of the Chablis region, mainly on a single hillside overlooking the town of Chablis. The unique terroir of the Grand Cru vineyards, coupled with the ideal microclimates and exposures, results in wines with exceptional complexity and character. They have exceptional ageing potential.

We have a great range of Chablis in our shop in Royal Victoria Place and we have a special offer on the William Fevre Chablis which is on taste so come in and try it this weekend.

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