Chablis produces a very particular style of wine - cool-climate, white and nervy; if this is not your thing, look elsewhere.
Within this generalisation, there are, of course, nuances and gradations, but what I took away from a tasting of Petits, Right-bankers and Left-bankers with a Grand Cru thrown in was this:
- the profile of a Chablis, whilst not completely immutable, is fairly set; white, crisp, mineral and so on
- the differences, then, are all about quality
- a Petit Chablis, however good, is liquid in a glass
- at the other hand extreme, Grands Crus have a transcending depth, texture and substance; they are complex, honeyed and nutty
- somewhere in the middle, the best Premiers Crus (despite the name, the second rank of wines) have an elegant purity and freshness
The lightest Chablis, Petit Chablis, is a refreshing aperitif; the fullest, most complex Grands Crus, aged to maturity, are succulent food wines that can easily overpower a light starter.
Being a classic wine that is difficult to produce, Chablis is not cheap - but as is so often the case, this means the value is better at the top end than the bottom.
The stand-out wines for me were:
Domaine Sainte Claire, 2013, Jean-Marc Brocard pure, elegant, well-structured and balanced. Good.
Chablis Premier Cru
Montmains 2012, Domaine Guy Robin old-vine richness with a full, leesy minerality. Very Good.
Chablis Grand Cru
Domaine Laroche, Reserve de l'Obedience, Les Blanchots 2009 complex, leesy and substantial; honeyed and nutty. Very Good Indeed.
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