Kravitz still has a knack for finding good wines at great prices – Robert Parker, Parker on Wine, BusinessWeek, 8/20 & 27, 2007

Hand Picked Selections in Chablis

Is this the world's most famous wine? Hard to say. Just about everybody's heard of it but only a small minority of even wine drinkers have tasted it.

Chablis is a village north and a little east of the center of France, not far from Paris. It is a distinctly cool climate in which to grow wine. The soil is also distinctive, known as Kimmeridgian Clay. This is a chalky soil, formed in large part from the calcium deposits of sea creatures from the Jurassic era, when Chablis was part of an ocean. The same soil also appears in Champagne and is what makes the cliffs of Dover white.

Chardonnay is the only grape allowed in Chablis and it has a legendary affinity for this soil. Real Chablis is one of the world's most distinctive wines; dry, stony, flinty, highly mineral, with green apple flavors and none of the tropical fruit and butter that so many consumers associate with Chardonnay. Chablis can be legendarily long-lived. 

The region is divided into four quality categories. Petit (little) Chablis is a light, refreshing Chardonnay that can show some of the minerality but is closer in style to the more widely sold Macon. Chablis with just that name will rarely be very rich or powerful, but it should have more stoniness and intensity of flavor than the little brother.

Chablis 1er Cru is a big step up. While it should never be a "fat" wine, it should be and often is a wine of real power, sinewy and intense. Grand Cru Chablis still isn't fat, but is another huge step up into the world of great wine. The word ‘majestic' comes to mind. It can be awesome, like a remote emperor wielding absolute power. Truly great Grand Cru Chablis is one of the world's few dry white wines that demands long bottle age. Ten years is just the beginning; the best Grand Cru Chablis tend to peak at about 20 years.

There is a lot of controversy in Chablis over the question of oak ageing. Traditionalists use little or no oak; if they use it at all, it is older barrels that allow slow oxidation but add little oak flavors. These growers believe that this incredibly distinctive wine should be unsullied by other flavors. Many modern growers believe that the character of Chablis is so strong that oak (properly used) just enhances the flavors like salt or a seasoning enhances a fine dish.



Caves Duplessis