When it comes to dry white wine, there is one for me that stands head and shoulders above the rest. Chablis is a classic white wine, excellent with chicken and fish it evokes sophistication with its smooth palate and purity of taste. It is also a great wine to drink alone, serve chilled and then sit and enjoy on a terrace on in a garden in the summer.
The Chablis region is found in Northern Burgundy in France. The wine is produced from the Chardonnay grape. This comes as a surprise to a lot of people because they associate Chardonnay with a mass produced cheap wine and don’t realise that the grape is actually used to produce both Chablis and Champagne. Because the region that produces Chablis is in Northern France the grapes do not ripen and become as sweet as they would if it were produced closer to the Mediterranean. This ensures that the Chardonnay grapes do not become as fruity as they can and therefore the taste for Chablis is created. It is this colder climate that gives the wine its acidity and its pure almost mineral taste – some people even think it has the hint of a metallic edge to its flavour.
Another key thing that sets Chablis apart from other white wines is that fact that it rarely has an oaky taste. This again sets it apart from other white wines made from the Chardonnay grape. They do tend to have an oaky flavour, indeed sometimes Chardonnay wines are rather too high on the oak factor for my liking. When it comes to Chablis some of these wines are completely unoaked, in fact they are matured in a steel tank – which could account for some people’s view that they tend to taste slightly metallic. Others receive a small amount of maturing in an oak barrel – but this time spent in the barrel is considerably shorter than other wines.
The Chablis region is about 160 kilometres north of a place called Beaune. Out of all the wine regions of France, it is only South of the Champagne region. This is interesting because Chablis is similar in taste to Champagne, Champagne just having the bubbles to make the difference count. There are several different types of Chablis on the market. The Grand Cru is the best of those available and it is made from vineyard which are all situated in the same area – just north of Beaune.
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Fiona Muller has been writing for over 20 years. She is a qualified journalist and has worked in food and drink writing for the last few years.For a range of white wines including Chablis take a look at laithwaites.co.uk
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