Understanding the Wines of Chablis

Chablis is the northernmost region in Burgundy. It lies approximately 20 miles southeast of Champagne's southernmost point and has been nicknamed The Golden Gate, because anyone visiting Burgundy from Paris or Champagne must travel through Chablis first. Physically separated from the rest of Burgundy, Chablis sits almost by itself and has remained pretty independent from the rest of Burgundy.

Chablis is best known for its austere, bone-dry Chardonnays. However, there are differences in the wines made here, which vary from producer to producer. Classic Chablis has always been a wine of almost pale straw color with greenish-silver hues, delicate pear and green apple aromas, high minerality and razor-sharp malic acidity (although traditional Chablis is not put through malolactic fermentation). It typically needs a few years in the bottle to mellow out. Chablis is traditionally fermented in large neutral oak casks (known here as feuillettes) or stainless steel and bottled early to maintain its minerality and freshness.

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