What’s Chablis?

I can’t help but get excited to share a memorable wine. This 2006 Chablis Premier Cru was amazing on its own and even more delicious paired with mussels (and I don’t normally eat mussels). Wondering what Chablis is? Well…

First we must know that French wines are labeled by region rather than varietal, which is why they are often so intimidating to purchase. Chablis is a region in the most northern part of Bourgogne (Burgundy) where only Chardonnay grapes are permitted to grow.

If you just became uninterested because you consider yourself an “ABC-Anything but chard” wine consumer, wait…because a Chablis might convert you. I often explain that Chablis is a mellower, lighter body style of chardonnay for two reasons:

  1. Chablis is a cool climate region, which means the grapes ripen slowly allowing them to maintain their acidity. This is important because Chardonnay grapes can lose their acidity quickly if exposed to constant warm temperatures. When this happens the resulting wine is often what we refer to as “flabby”. Cooler temperatures are key to producing a brighter and lighter wine.
  2. This region typically avoids aging the wine in oak barrels, thus allowing the natural grape aromas and flavors to take center stage. Many ABC wine drinkers don’t like what they describe as “oaky chards”, but this style eliminates that characteristic. Many believe unoaked Chardonnays allow you to truly experience Chardonnay because there is little manipulation.

When selecting a Chablis, I recommend a bottle labeled Chablis Premier Cru, as was this one I tried.

Chablis is delicious paired with seafood and assorted cheeses.