“Chablis is chardonnay, but not every chardonnay is Chablis.” – Rosemary George
So many times you hear people say “I don’t like Chardonnay” or “ABC – Anything But Chardonnay.” Usually this is because when they think of Chardonnay, they think of creamy, unctuous wine that tastes more like a wood chip or buttered popcorn. Now, I am not a fan of this style of wine either, but I always say not to make a generalized blanket statement saying you don’t like an entire category. Why? Because not all Chardonnays are butter bombs.
Take Chablis. Located in the northern part of Burgundy, France, Chablis is a cool climate that consists of rich limestone soil, producing wines with more acidity and a “flinty” (or “steely” or “mineral”) note. Most Chablis is completely unoaked and vinified in stainless steel tanks. There are four classification levels: Petit Chablis, Chablis, Chablis Premier Cru and Chablis Grand Cru.
Due to the fresh, minerality of the wine, Chablis pairs with a variety of dishes, as we experienced at a wine lunch at Lucques in Los Angeles.
Domaine des Malandes Chablis 2010 – This straw colored wine is bright and fresh but has a richness to it because it ferments in stainless steel, sur lees. The wine was a perfect pairing with fresh burrata, and the richness of the wine balanced well with the acidity/sweetness of the pomegranate, persimmon and sweet onion.
William Fevre Chablis Premier Cru Vaulorent 2011 – With notes of lime zest and minerals, this wine is fat and rich due to 30% of the wine spending 4-6 months sur lees in French oak barrels.
Simonnet-Febvre Chablis Premier Cru Vaillons 2010 – An elegant wine with notes of lime, yellow fruit and floral. The wine is very pure with bright acidity.
The richness of the William Fevre Chablis matched well with the citrus elements of the dish but personally, I preferred the Simonnet-Febvre Chablis as the brightness and acidity balanced perfectly with the black rice and grilled fish.
Domaine Seguinot-Bordet Chablis Premier Cru Fourchaume 2010 – This delicate, elegant wine comes from 55 year old vines and is from the oldest family in Chablis (dating back to 1590).
La Chablisienne Chablis Grand Cru Les Preuses 2009 – This wine is aged in small barrels and tanks and spends 20 months sur less, resulting in a round, elegant wine with notes of vanilla.
The Domaine Seguinot-Bordet Chablis stole my heart and was a perfect pairing against the rich braised rabbit.
When the cheese plate was served, it was fun to go back and revisit each of the wines and try them with the various cheeses. But, by then I was just enjoying the beautiful Chablis.