Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Chardonnay In Chablis

Chablis is a region in France’s Burgundy wine region. Chablis wine is made with the Chardonnay grape. In America we call that "white wine." Or, at least, some of us do.

The biggest hurdle most introductory wine drinkers have to clear is understanding all the nuances, like the fact that French wine is labeled by region, not grape. Chablis is Chardonnay, you just sound a lot more continental when ordering it their way.

On a recent Twitter gathering of Chablis lovers, some wine writers were invited to join in the fun with samples provided. I was there. The four samples were all consistently good examples of what Chardonnay, er, Chablis can offer. I don't know if you can really go wrong by simply ordering "Chablis," with no other information given. If you have had trouble in that area, I'd love to know about it. My thoughts on the wines follow comments from some of the other participants.

One Twitter Taster branded Chablis as, "Wonderful elegant white wines from France," which the Chablis people must be happy with. Another posted that "most people in the "ABC Club" usually find their way out by way of #Chablis," referring to the blinkered "Anything But Chardonnay" crowd. What’s good about it and why? "Nowhere else produces Chardonnay like Chablis: vines grow on prehistoric sea, w/ saline geology."

The cool climate in this northern neck of the Bourgogne woods also has a lot to with it. The Chardonnay comes out leaner, steelier, flintier than a big, ripe California Chardonnay.  As one Tweeter put it, "#Chablis is the essence of terroir."

Chablis, owing to its fresh acidity and flinty flavor profile, is a great wine to have with brunch. Have it with breakfast if you want, I’m not going to judge. It pairs great with eggs and croissants, in addition to the usual shellfish and sushi. Try it with guacamole and chips. Your football Sunday will never be the same.

Chablis, Albert Bichot, Domaine Long-Depaquit 2014

Utilizing grapes from four estate vineyards in Burgundy, this Chardonnay clocks in at a super-low 12.5% abv.  The nose shows its minerals well, in a shower of wet rocks, lemons and tropical fruit. The flinty palate fits perfectly with any type of seafood, but bring me some oysters Rockefeller.