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Chablis

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Chablis is the name given to Chardonnay from the Chablis wine appellation, in France.

Chablis is also the name of the town that lies in the valley of the Serein river, that runs through the northern part of Burgundy, one of the world’s most loved wine regions. Burgundy is famous for Chablis (White Burgundy) and Pinot Noir (Red Burgundy).

The climate in Chablis is is very cool, resulting in bright, fresh wines with high acidity. Chablis and Petit Chablis are also known for displaying aromas and flavours such as green apple, lemon and flint.

Most village level Chablis wines are unoaked and some wine experts believe that Chablis is the purest expression of the varietal character of Chardonnay.

There are four appellations within Chablis, each appellation denotes a level of quality. In general, the best vineyards are planted on the slopes that have favourable south-facing aspects. The vineyards that face south,  receive more sunlight, which allows for greater flavour development in the grapes.

The four appellations are:

  1. Petit Chablis – usually grown on the flatter land and the higher slopes that mostly face north. These wines are quite austere.
  2. Chablis – also grown on the flatter land and north facing slopes but closer to the village of Chablis.
  3. Premier Cru Chablis – tend to be located on the slopes with a better aspect (to sunlight). These wines show riper fruit development and more concentrated fruit aromas and flavours (more citrus that green apple).
  4. Grand Cru Chablis  – The Grand Cru Chablis wines come from just one slope and within the 7 ‘climats’ (officially designated vineyard plots). These vineyards have good exposure to the sun, being south facing. Grand Cru Chablis are sometimes aged in oak, which adds a rounder texture and subtle flavours.

The biggest challenge in growing grapes in Chablis is frost, this is often managed through the use of sprinklers and heaters.

Chablis is a magnificent and much-loved wine. Truly a ‘must try’ for Chardonnay drinkers everywhere!

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