Day #2 Chablis

Finding Warmth in a cold cellar in Chablis

savary.chablis.n_v.resized[1]On a snowy and wet morning in Chablis we toured the cellars of four producers. Chablis is the name of a village and also the name of the famous wine district about 120 miles southeast of Paris. There are nine grand cru in Chablis so named because grapes from these single vineyards have consistently made the best wine in the region. There are very strict criteria to qualify for grand cru status. The wine must achieve a minimum alcohol content, the vines must not produce over a pre-set amount. In general the lower the yield the better the quality. Most importantly is for all grapes to come from the particular single vineyard named on the label.

One half step below grand cru are Chablis wines with premier cru status. The neighborhoods of premier cru are a little less exclusive. It is kind of like The Yellowstone Club in Big Sky vs. Spanish Peaks before they declared bankruptcy.

The most sought after wines in Chablis come from Domaine Raveneau. The estate’s annual production is about 3,000 cases and only one tenth are of grand cru status. Bernard Raveneau wowed our group by opening three grand cru wines from the 2010 vintage: Les Clos, Blanchots and Valmur. Now do not attempt to purchase Raveneau wines in Montana. My annual allocation is one case of Raveneau Butteaux, a Premier Cru and I keep two bottles for my own cellar.

However at the wine estate of Olivier Savary we were poured rare Chablis Rouge made from the Pinot Noir grape. French law forbids anything but Chardonnay to be used in the production of Chablis. For that reason the wine in question is simply labeled “Bourgogne” indicating the grapes could have come from anywhere in Burgundy although we know better.

The Savary Bourgogne has a beautiful brick red color, is balanced with laser like black cherry fruit and mouthwatering acidity. A whiff of mushroom and autumn leaves add to its subtle complexity. The grapes were grown near the village of Epineuil in red clay rather than limestone. Oh, and Olivier knows better than to cover up its expression of terroir with heavy handed oak.

Suggested retail: $22.95

Please contact your favorite wine retailer
150 cases imported to U.S.
15 cases available

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