Your Ticket to First-Class Chardonnay: Chablis

 


Despite having been a center of viticulture since the Roman era, it could be argued that the wines of Chablis have never had such cachet among wine geeks as they do right now. As more and more wine lovers have the chance to try older vintages of these steely, austere, and mineral-driven Chardonnays from Burgundy’s northwestern corner, more of them are realizing what treasures these wines can become given time in the bottle. The ability of Chablis to hang onto its freshness and vibrant, acidic zing for decades also plays right into our current idea of fashionable wine styles, as we turn away from the big, luxurious (and sometimes burly) styles of oaked Chardonnay that dominated the critical wine landscape for the last decade.

Interestingly, for those of us in North America, Chablis is one of those rare wine types to which one is just as likely to be exposed via older vintages, rather than through new releases. That’s because in the U.S. and Canada we see such little of the region’s new releases by volume. Of its production of forty million bottles annually, North America sees only six percent. The majority is gobbled up by the France, the UK, and western and northern Europe.

If you’re not yet familiar with Chablis’ steely charms, here’s a short tasting tour of some of what it has to offer the wine lover who is in search of Chardonnay on the vibrant, long-lived side.

Photo credit: Tomas Clancy

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