Chablis is the northernmost region in Burgundy, and produces fresh, mineral styles of Chardonnay, which is the only grape varietal permitted in the region. The climate here is cool and semi-continental which can be tricky for grape growing with spring frosts and summer hail threatening yields every year.  A huge contributor to the Chablis style comes from its unique soil and terroir, which is rich in fossils, the best vines are grown atop Kimmeridgian limestone (same as the cliffs of Dover!), imparting an almost salty and flinty minerality to the wines. The best sites in Chablis tend to be mid slope and south facing to capture the maximum amount of sunshine.

Vinification is varied but most Chablis doesn’t tend to be heavily oak aged, making this a perfect Chardonnay for anyone who prefers to steer clear of buttery flavours.  Village AC level Chablis exhibits predominantly citrus and green fruit notes. There are 40 classified Premier Cru vineyards, the most well-known being Vaillons, Montée de Tonnerre, Montmains, and Fourchaume. These wines are typically grown with a better position to capture more sun, giving them riper fruit aromatics and gunflint.  There are only 7 Grand Cru vineyards in Chablis: Preuses, Bougros, Blanchot, Grenouilles, Vaudesir, Valmur, and Les Clos. Some producers do opt for a new oak when maturing their wines, especially the Grand Cru bottlings, but this is very winemaker dependent.  Located on the best sites, Grand Cru Chablis has the warmest aspect out of all the vineyards and will tend to be much more fruit expressive, sometimes even some tropical notes will appear. The oak ageing will also add to the body of Chablis, making it seem more viscous on the palate, but often this is balanced by the vibrant acidity and minerality of the grapes.  The best examples are Chablis can be extremely complex, integrating fruit, flint and smokiness perfectly.

Chardonnay Grapes on the vine

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