Chablis The wines used to routinely be described as displaying notes of “gunflint” and minerally, smoky tones.
The soils consist of Jurassic marl or Kimmeridge clay or Portland stone (also known as limestone). The Kimmeridge terroir gets its name from a site in Great Britain near Dorset. Chablis has been devastated by frosts from time to time. Vineyards were severely impacted some 50 years ago by major late frosts and vineyard owners have worked to implement frost protection systems.
You’ll find “Petit Chablis” from time to time…this comes from vineyards on the plateaus of the region. We’ve periodically found some of these to be quite good. The law allows a higher yield in these vineyards.
“Simple” Chablis covers something close to 4400 hectares of land, with about two-thirds being carpeted with vines. This means more vineyards might be planted in the future. Yields are also high, producers being able to have 60 hectoliters per hectare.
The top wines come from Premier Cru and Grand Cru sites.
There are about 79 climats producing Premier Cru Chablis. This proved too confusing for consumers, so they’ve consolidated the number of cru sites to a more reasonable number. The best known are Monte de Tonnerre, Fourchaume, Vaillons, Cte de Lchet, Mont de Milieu, Fort and Butteaux. When young these display quiet notes of acacia, hints of iodine and green apple. If you can wait for these to blossom, good ones develop more toasty, almost hazelnut-like notes. Most producers will tell you to give their premier cru wines about 5 years in the bottle for the wines to blossom.