Artisan Cheeses By Wine Type: Chablis
Chablis wines come only from the Chablis section of Burgundy, France, in the north of Burgundy. Chablis is a white wine, made from the Chardonnay grape, but there is more to a Chablis than that.
Chablis are grown in a very flinty soil - visitors to the area are often surprised by the rocky quality of this landscape. It is this "Kimmeridgian" limestone that gives Chablis its distinct flavor.
Chablis was first "wined" back in the 500s - a monestary was built there, and invading Romans brought along wine whereever they went. When Charlemagne set up a base here, it was very important that wine be offered to visiting guests. By the 1400s Chablis was a well known region, but it shortly fell to war and fighting in the 1600s. Just as it recovered from these, it was hit by the phylloxera troubles that hit just about every other region of the continent. It was set aside as a Appellation d'origine around 1937 - 1938.
Chablis has been going through a planting bloom in the last century. In 1955 there were only 1,360 acres planted with vines. In modern times, that number is closer to 12,000 acres. The four appellations in Chablis are based on the type of land the vines are grown on. There are:
- Chablis Grand Cru: the north bank of the Serein river
- Chablis Premier Cru: south- and west-facing hills
- Chablis: north- and east-facing hills
- Petit Chablis: flat ground
There are only seven Grand Cru vineyards:
There are around 40 Premier Crus, with some smaller vineyards falling under the name of a larger group. For example, Chapelot, Pied d'Aloue, and Cote de Brechain all fall under the name 'Montee de Tonnerre'.
A Premier Chablis should be aged for around 10 years, and served around 52?F (11?C). Chablis go well with seafood (especially oysters) and light poultry. Chablis are typically light, crisp, fruity, and floral. They have a bit of a steely edge to their flavor.