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Chablis: A tasting guide to Bourgogne’s white gold

When you can’t visit France’s celebrated wine region, bring the French wine to you.

By BTYB Chablis Wines
Photo: BIVB Joel Gesvres/Chablis
Pouring a glass of Chablis is a sensory experience, from admiring its colour to inhaling its delicate, lightly floral perfume that's balanced with a touch of minerality, and savouring its crisp and pure flavour.
Petit Chablis is characterised by its floral aroma, citrus notes and mineral qualities. It's a lively, vibrant wine that reflects the terroir on the higher slopes of the region, resulting in a beautiful balance of white blossom aromas, such as hawthorn or acacia.
Both the Petit Chablis and the straight Chablis are excellent introductions to Chablis, says Andrea Pritzker MW, Official Bourgogne Wine Ambassador. "You can start with either Chablis or Petit Chablis," she says. "Both will offer lively acidity and delicate flavours of green apple, lemon zest. Petit Chablis may be more approachable, whilst Chablis will offer additional wet-stone, flinty intensity."
The distinct profile of Chablis is thanks to the mineral-rich soil – derived from ancient bedrock – in which the Chardonnay grapes grow in the Chablis region, the northern-most district of Bourgogne, France. While Chablis is the term for whites from the eponymous region, the wine region is also sub-divided into four appellations: Petit Chablis, Chablis, Chablis Premier Cru and Chablis Grand Cru.
The 2019 Jean-Marc Brocard Petit Chablis, from one of the largest estates in the region, is a fine expression of the fresh, citrus-y characteristics of the appellation, with notes of lime, grapefruit and passionfruit. The 2018 Domaine Jean Dauvissat Père & Fils Chablis, meanwhile, features notes of green apple, wet-stone and pear.
Chablis Premier Cru and Chablis Grand Cru, as their names suggest, are the jewels of the Chablis crown. Their characteristics range from sophisticated floral notes to mineral aromas of flint with hints of honey and almond.
When it comes to the world of Chablis, 2018 and 2019 are the vintages to know. "The 2019 vintage is an outstanding year offering a beautiful balance of crisp acidity, fruit intensity and complexity," says Pritzker. "The 2018 vintage is also an excellent year with more rounded acidity and a riper fruit profile."
As for pairing with food, Chablis is an easy match for a variety of seafood dishes thanks to its crisp, pure acidity.
"I love Chablis because it's Chardonnay, but not as you know it," says Pritzker. "It's fresh, lively and elegant with a backbone of mouth-watering acidity that is an irresistible match for pan-fried fish, freshly shucked oysters, salt and pepper squid or as an aperitif with canapés. It can be enjoyed at home with casual take-away, such as fish and chips or paired with fresh seafood as part of a fine-dining experience."
We may not be able to visit the region for ourselves, but the taste of the Chablis terroir can still be enjoyed here at home, glass by glass.
To explore the world of Chablis and learn more about its appellations, including the newly released 2019 Domaine Bernard Defaix Petit Chablis and La Chablisienne Chablis, visit Chablis Wines.
Brought to you by Chablis Wines.
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