What makes Chablis different from other Chardonnays? Chablis is known as Chardonnay in its purest essence. “The Sommelier’s Atlas,” describes Chardonnay from Chablis like this – “It has that distinctive acidity, that suggestion of minerality, that vaguely earthy note lurking under a mélange of citrus flavors.” It is the naturally high acidity in wines from Chablis that make it a perfect apéritif wine to pair with light fare like a marinated shrimp salad.
This month the French Winophiles are tasting, writing, and chatting about wines from Chablis. To join our conversation, tune into Twitter, Saturday, April 20, 2019, at 11:00 AM ET using the hashtag #winophiles. Read more about Chablis from my fellow Winophiles and links to their blog posts at the end of this post.
Getting to know Chablis
- Chablis is a cool climate wine growing region in the northernmost part of Burgundy.
- Chablis is also the name of a village in the center of the wine-growing region, on the banks of the Serein River located about halfway between Paris and Beaune.
- Chablis produces one single varietal: Chardonnay.
- The soils of Chablis are Marl (composed of clay and limestone with fossilized oyster shells) formed during the Kimmeridgian age, about 150 million years ago and Portlandian limestone containing less clay and no fossilized oyster shells, formed about 130 million years ago. It is these soils that attribute to the unique characteristics of Chardonnay from Chablis.
- There are 4 Chablis Appellations
Petit Chablis – Vineyards are on both side of the Serein River, on the higher slopes where the climate is colder and windier, or at the edge of the plateau. Soils are Portlandian limestone. (represents 18% of the total Chablis produced)
Chablis – Located along both sides of the Serein River, with varying sun exposure and slope. The soils are mainly Kimmeridgian limestone with the fossilized oyster shells. (represents 66% of the total Chablis produced)
Chablis Premier Cru – Produced along both sides of the Serein River. The most important climats are on the right bank surrounding the Grand Cru vineyards. The soils are mainly Kimmeridgian limestone with the fossilized oyster shells. (represents 15% of the total Chablis produced)
Chablis Grand Cru – These vineyards are located side by side on one continuous plot but divided into seven unique climats. The vineyards have south and southwest sun exposure and favorable slope for warmth and wind protection. The soils are Marl and Kimmeridgian limestone. (represents 1% of the total Chablis produced
- There are a total of 47 designated climats: 40 Premier Cru including; Fourchaume, Montée de Tonnerre, Vaillons, Montmains, and 7 Grand Cru; Bougros, Preuses, Vaudésir, Grenouilles, Valmur, Los Clos, Blanchots
- A majority of the wine made in Chablis is vinified in stainless steel. However, some producers use old and neutral wooden barrels as part of the fermentation and/or aging of the wines.
2017 Christophe et fils Petit Chablis
12% abv | $29.00 SRP | 100% Chardonnay
The grapes come from vineyards on the plateau of Portlandian limestone behind the Grand Cru slope and Premier Cru vineyards, on the right bank of the Serein River. The wine is fermented in stainless steel, underwent malolactic fermentation and is aged for 7-8 months before bottling.
Pale straw in color. Medium(-) body and medium(+) acidity. On the palate, fresh, crisp acidity with notes of citrus and minerals.
2015 Domaine de la Cornasse, Chablis
12.5% abv | $29.00 SRP | 100% Chardonnay
The vineyards are located near the Beauroy Premier Cru appellation. The Cornasse Chablis vineyards have a southern sun exposure above the Ru de Beine River. 50% of the grapes come from a Kimmeridgian hillside and the other 50% from a sunny plain. The grapes are hand harvested and aged on their lees for six months followed by 6-8 months in stainless steel before bottling.
Pale straw in color. Medium(-) in body and acidity. On the palate citrus and quince with an overall smooth mouthfeel.
Chablis with it’s pure, clean Chardonnay characterisitics, mineral notes, and overall elegance pairs well with a marinated shrimp salad. The simplicity and freshness of the salad are matched and nicely balanced for either of these Chablis wines. I especially enjoyed the salad with the Petit Chablis for its acidity and minerality when paired with the shrimp, and brininess of the capers.
Marinated Shrimp Salad
- 4 small scallions, white and light green part only, trimmed, peeled and cut into very thin rings
- 3 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
- 2 medium/large garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 1/3+ cup extra-virgin olive oil (extra for baking shrimp)
- 2 tablespoons coarse sea salt
- 2 lbs. (30-40) raw large shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 small lemon, zested
- 1 small handful Italian parsley, chopped
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees
- In a large, shallow bowl, combine scallions, capers, garlic, parsley, lemon juice, and olive oil.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the shrimp on the baking sheet. Drizzle with extra virgin olive, salt and pepper. Bake for 8-10 minutes or just until pink and firm. Immediately transfer warm shrimp to bowl with the marinade. Toss to combine.
- To serve, arrange shrimp on a salad plate and spoon some marinade over the shrimp.
More Chablis adventures from the French Winophiles ~
- Cam at Culinary Cam Brings Us “Cracked Crab, Cheesy Ravioli, and Chablis”
- Robin at Crushed Grape Chronicles writes about “Mont de Milieu Premier Cru Chablis from Simonnet-Febvre and Pochouse”
- Gwendolyn at Wine Predator Shares “Chablis is … Chardonnay? Comparing 2 from France, 1 from SoCal Paired with Seafood Lasagna”
- Liz at What’s in That Bottle Shares Chablis: the Secret Chardonnay
- Deanna at Asian Test Kitchen Writes about “Top Chablis Pairings with Japanese Food”
- Jennifer at Beyond the Cork Screw Has “French Companions: Chablis and Fromage Pavé”
- Payal at Keep the Peas writes about “Chablis: A Tale of Two Soils”
- Jane at Always Ravenous has “Pairing Chablis with Marinated Shrimp Salad”
- Jeff at Food Wine Click! shares “All the Best Food Pairings with Clos Beru Chablis”
- Jill at L’Occasion writes about “Metal Giants: Windfarms and the Chablis Landscape”
- Susannah at Avvinare writes “Celebrating France with Chablis and Toasting Notre Dame”
- David at Cooking Chat writes about “Sipping Chablis with Easter Dinner or Your Next Seafood Meal”
- Pinny at Chinese Food & Wine Pairings writes about “A Delicate Pair: Jean Claude Courtault Chablis and Sichuan Peppercorn-Cured Salmon”
- Nicole at Somm’s Table writes about Domaine Savary Chablis Vieilles Vignes with Scallops and Brussels Sprouts Two Ways”
- Kat at Bacchus Travel & Tours shares “The Delicate Face of Chardonnay: Chablis”
- Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm Brings Us “Chardonnay? White Burgundy? Chablis!”