The Chablis region is the northern most region of Burgundy in France and the vines here grow on Marls and Kimmeridgian limestones which contain tiny fossilised oysters called exogyra virgula. These rocks and soils were created during the Upper Jurassic period some 150 million years ago, and form part of the Paris Basin which extends west to the channel ports and resurfaces in the White Cliffs of Dover and the chalky South Downs of Kent and Sussex in England. The vineyards of the region are broken into four classifications, Petit Chablis, Chablis, Premier Cru Chablis and Grand Cru Chablis. All seven Grands Crus vineyards are grouped together on a south-west-facing slope, on the right bank of the Serien. The seven Grand Cru are: Bougros, Les Preuses, Vaudesir, Grenouilles, Valmur, Les Clos and Blanchot.
La Moutonne is an unofficial eighth Grand Cru and is allowed to use the name on its label, however, the Institut National des Appellations d’Origine (INAO) does not recognise La Moutonne as a Grand Cru.
The biggest, richest and most complex Chablis are from these Grand Cru vineyards.
Les Clos is the largest and perhaps the most highly regarded. It has a reputation for producing the most powerful and rich Grand Cru Chablis, along with Vaudesir with its intensity and spice.
Grand Cru Chablis from these vineyards in particular is tightly bound and highly structured, they benefit from time in the cellar and often need 10 to 20 years to hit their peak. Blanchots is more delicate and Grenouilles considered more vibrant, Les Preuses is complex but often the least minerally. Valmur is fragrant while La Moutonne is more approachable. Bougros tends to be least regarded of the Grand Cru vineyards but can still produce exceptional wines.
All of the wines in Chablis are made with the Chardonnay grape and the region’s soils and terroir give the variety a unique character here, which expressed as intense acidity and minerality, tempered by the weight and power of the variety itself.
The wines are tightly wound in a crisp and flinty structure, which is wrapped around a powerful core of ripe fruit with typical aromas of white peach, bee’s wax, vanilla blossom, green pear and some zesty lemon peel and citrus notes.
The wines are flinty dry and the palate shows an incredible tension between powerful fruit and tightness from the super fine, mineral acidity. Chablis makes for incredible food wines especially with seafood, shellfish, chicken and many vegetarian dishes.