What Is Chablis?
For novice wine lovers, understanding French wines and regions can be a daunting task. While France is home to many wine regions, we are showcasing Chablis, a well-known historical region located in northern Burgundy.
You probably already know that “AOC” (Appellation d’origine controllée) is an official certification used to identify the region of origin. The Chablis appellation is classified according to the type of soils and the location of the vineyards, which are greatly influenced by the topography. If Pinot Noir is the king of Burgundy, then Chardonnay is its queen. To be able to use the Chablis appellation, wines must come from the region, be dry and only use Chardonnay grapes. As the Bourgogne Wine Board says: “Chablis offers an exceptional expression of the varietal with wines that are fresh, balanced, mineral and appreciated for their purity of taste.”
The Serein River runs through the town of Chablis and separates the surrounding hills. In the Chablis appellation pyramid, at the very top is the Chablis Grand Cru. Vineyards are grouped on the southwestern slopes of the hills, facing the town, and benefit from the most sun exposure. As a result, they produce the most consistent quality wines.
On the southeastern slopes, Chablis Premier Cru vineyards are a bit more scattered. They also receive a great amount of sun and produce exceptional wines. The soils for both Grand Cru and Premier Cru appellations are composed of Kimmeridge clay, which is made up of layers of limestone and clay that contain oyster shells. These wines are refined and have great ageing potential.
The last appellation is Petit Chablis. Its main difference is due to different types of soil. Vineyards are planted on the Portlandian soils, which contain more limestone and are not so rich in clay and fossils. Petit Chablis vineyards are located on the plateaux at the top of the hills. Planted on the outskirts of the town of Chablis, these vines receive less sun and are more exposed to the wind. The wines produced are fresher, lighter and very accessible for everyday drinking.
Opimian producer Lamblin Fils offers a medal-winning Chablis, as well as a mixed case of Chablis Premier Cru. They also produce Saint-Bris, an appellation located 13km south of Chablis, which has its own style, using Sauvignon Blanc grapes. Try their wines and experience the Chablis terroir in your palate.
“Sip Chablis and feel the freshness, purity, minerality. Your palate will detect all the finesse and elegance of its fruity and floral aromas.” —Michel Lamblin, Lamblin Fils