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Chablis

Chablis is the "Golden Gate" of Burgundy. Just two hours from Paris, it is one of the most northern wine-producing areas in all of France. Chardonnay is the only grape allowed here, and it thrives in the limestone soil to create distinctive white wines unmatched anywhere else in the world. This is Chardonnay that speaks for itself, with little to no oak aging, displaying dry mineral, apple and pear flavors and hints of flint in the aroma.

Fans attribute the mineral quality of Chablis wines to the soil in which they’re grown. Millions of years ago, Chablis lay under the ocean, and the soil today retains deposits of tiny fossilized seashells – it’s nice to imagine this is why Chablis pairs so well with oysters and other shellfish.

Wines from Chablis are classified like other Burgundy wines. The region produces a small amount of Grand Cru Chablis, rare and typically very expensive. Just below the Grand Crus are the excellent and much more affordable Premier Cru Chablis. Forty vineyards, including the especially prestigious Vaillons, Montmain, Fourchaume and Vaulorent sites, have been accorded Premier Cru status. The tier immediately below Premier Cru Chablis includes the crisp and flavorful Chardonnays simply labeled as Chablis. Other Chardonnay wines, labeled Petit Chablis, are grown in vineyards surrounding the official Chablis appellation, in more clay-based and less minerally soil.

Be aware that not every wine labeled "Chablis" hails from Burgundy. Wine producers in the United States and elsewhere have long used the name to label generic white wine, much to the chagrin of French winemakers. A 2006 international trade agreement prohibits new wines made anywhere but Chablis from carrying the name, though brands producing "Chablis" at the time of the agreement may continue to use the name.

Pronunciation

[Shah-BLEE]

Recommended food pairings

Shellfish, white fishes, chicken, green salad, mild cheeses

Serving temperature

50-52°

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