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Sunday 9 August 2015

Ceci n'est pas un Chablis

One of these wines is not a Chablis.
They both have the word Chablis on the label; they are both made from grapes grown around the northern French market town of that name.

But one is grown on crumbly, fossil-rich hillside slopes, while the other comes from denser, solid-chalk hilltops.

The latter of these ranks lower in Chablis' hierarchy - fossils, chalk and a sunnier aspect are all better for winemaking.

So the Petit Chablis - grown on hard rock hilltop - is not a actually a proper Chablis, but rather a  "junior Chablis".
Yet the Petit Chablis is slightly more expensive of the two, so we have a classic contest - is a more expensive but technically inferior Petit Chablis better than a Chablis proper? Is the price driven by label snobbery, is it simple quality-price ratio economics?

There was only one way to find out.

Union de Viticulteurs de Chablis, Petit Chablis, 2011 (£12.99, Majestic) pure, focused, vibrant and light; citrussy and mineral with a touch of leesiness.

Drink as an aperitif or match with light starters.


Philippe de Mery Chablis, 2012 (£11.99, Majestic) more complex and substantial, but less adept; a little clumsy next to the Petit Chablis.

Match with fish or chicken.
For me, the Petit  Chablis is demonstrably the better of the two - a  lesser wine, for sure, but much better executed.
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