A white wine from the north of Burgundy, France which is made entirely
from chardonnay grapes. Unlike many new world wines which are labelled as
chardonnay, an Appellation Chablis does not contain any
A Chablis is dry and medium to full bodied. Most Chablis is produced using
little or no oak. This makes it slightly lighter, more characterful and less
appealing to yuppies than other wines of similar composition. Descriptions of
a Chablis will often use the terms nutty and steely. A young Chablis is
acidic — it is best to select a wine that has been aged for at least five years.
Recent exceptional vintages for Burgundy include 1995 and 1996.
All good Chablis will be labelled Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée or AOC
(although AOC does not necessarily indicate a good Chablis). Like many French
wine producing regions, Burgundy includes further designations for vineyards
which were historically of very high quality. The mark Grand Cru is used on
the best vineyards, whilst Première Cru is used on vineyards which were merely
very good. However, these marks are not as reliable an indicator of quality as
the Bordeaux system.
The Petit Chablis Appellation is used for wines from outlying areas. These
tend to lack some of the character of a full Chablis, and may not age so
Recently, certain low quality North American wines have started labelling
themselves as 'Chablis'. These wines are to a Chablis as the watches sold on
London street corners are to a Rolex. It will be a shame if the name Chablis
becomes associated with diluted, over-oaked piss in a bottle rather than a
traditional French wine from the area around the town of Chablis. The ludicrous
phrase 'French Champagne' is torture enough.
Chablis goes well with non-oily fish such as salmon, tuna and
whitefish, and is also popular with oysters. The wine has enough of a punch
to stand up well with heavier sauces. Considerable success has also been had
serving Chablis with lighter Japanese food, although holding back on the
wasabi is advisable when attempting this.