Unstuffy learning: Learning to love Chardonnay : Chablis Premier cru (1er) (3/4)

Learning about wine is easy , what makes it hard is stuffiness and the lack of freely given information given to those that hold the wine knowledge. The key to unstuffy-ness

So to understand Chablis it is important to break it down into 4 stages for each of the categories. Posts 1 & 2 looked at Petit Chablis and Chablis whereas the 3 article in a series of 4 highlights Premier Cru Chablis. From the last 2 posts you can see that Petit Chablis is a wine that has high yield (produces lots of grapes), has no oak influence (not woody in character ) and is designed to be drunk young (0-2 1/2 years ))

Chablis , by contrast, has more minerality (remember pebbles in blog 2/4) with green apples and citrus


Chablis Premier Cru

The vineyards cover 750 hectares (750x international rugby fields ) scattered across 15 communes (areas of vines) on slopes with good sun, soil and drainage  There are 17 principal Premiers Crus but in total 89 vineyards can use the 17 crus

GrapeWizard Investment advice : Be CAREFUL when purchasing , some of the crus have doubled in area since the 1970s so quality varies and producer is key.

any questions please Emai the Wizard !

Styles also vary, with some maturing (ageing) and fermenting in stainless steel tanks for a purer, more mineral style

or in barrels 

The best examples or Premier Cru Chablis reach their maturity at eight to 10 years What ever your style or character of the Chablis look for characteristics in similar producers. Not all producers have white blossom as one of their characteristics ! What ever your preference look for those flavours

(Use Google!)

At the turn of the 21st century, there were 40 Premier cru vineyards.

As of 2009 the official list of the 17 climats  for Chablis Premier Cru included total of 89 vineyards, names of which could be used on the label.


Examples of where climate are used. Note the use of Vaucoupin, Vallions and Mont de Millieu. These climats are often inclusive. The 17 bigger classified climats, have names which the producers opt to use more often are bolded below:

Mont de Milieu – Vallée de Chigot
Montée de Tonnerre – Chapelot, Les Chapelots, Pied d’Aloup, Sous Pied d’Aloup, Côte de Bréchain
Fourchaume – Vaupulent, Vau Pulan, Les Vaupulans, La Fourchaume, Côte de Fontenay, Dine-Chien, L’Homme Mort, La Grande Côte, Bois Seguin, L’Ardillier, Vaulorent, Les Quatre Chemins, La Ferme Couverte, Les Couvertes
Vaillons – Sur les Vaillons, Chatains, Les Grands Chaumes, Les Chatains, Sécher, Beugnons, Les Beugnons, Les Lys, Champlain, Mélinots, Les Minos, Roncières, Les Epinottes
Montmains – Les Monts Mains, Forêts, Les Forêts, Butteaux, Les Bouts des Butteaux, Vaux Miolot, Le Milieu des Butteaux, Les Ecueillis, Vaugerlains
Côte de Léchet – Le Château
Beauroy – Sous Boroy, Vallée des Vaux, Benfer, Troësmes, Côte de Troësmes, Adroit de Vau Renard, Côte de Savant, Le Cotat-Château, Frouquelin, Le Verger
Vauligneau – Vau de Longue, Vau Girault, La Forêt, Sur la Forêt
Vaudevey – La Grande Chaume, Vaux Ragons, Vignes des Vaux Ragons
Vaucoupin – Adroit de Vaucopins
Vosgros – Adroit de Vosgros, Vaugiraut
Les Fourneaux – Morein, Côte des Près Girots, La Côte, Sur la Côte
Côte de Vaubarousse
Chaume de Talvat
Côte de Jouan
Les Beauregards – Hauts des Chambres du Roi, Côte de Cuissy, Les Corvées, Bec d’Oiseau, Vallée de Cuissy

In the 3rd of a series of 4 articles Chablis is  easily understood if taken through 4 styles. Petit Chablis, Chablis, Premier Cru Chablis & Grand Cru Chablis
  • Petit Chablis tend to have higher acidity and more tart, citrus-like flavours and normally last upto 2 years to champion the refreshing dry taste.
  • Chablis delivers citrus, pear, and more exaggerated mineral notes these normally last unto 4-5 years
  • Premier (1er) Cru Chablis
    Wines have slightly richer fruit (starfruit and lemon and flinty minerality.)
  • Grand Cru Chablis -There is just one slope  with 7 climats (i.e. officially designated vineyard plots). Grand cru Chablis vary widely in taste, depending on the climat and winemaking technique. Some producers opt to oak-age Chablis, which adds a savory unctuousness to Chablis that can be both oily and smoky. The fruit in the Grand Cru wines range from intense orange-rind, apricot and passion fruit to more savory aged flavors of bruised apple and peanut shell.

More of Chablis Grand Cru in the 4th Instalment of the series.

Chablis Premiers Crus are stylish, mineral wines less intense than the Grand Crus but finer and longer-lasting than basic Chablis.

2010 , 1990 ,
2012, 2005, 2002, 1996, ,1995,
1986,1985,1983, 2004,1994,1993,1982,1979
years in order of outstanding to years that are a little wanting .
If you want to try the best years work from the top. If you want to invest – work from the top and you cant go far wrong ! but do your research as well !
I can advise – free of charge !!!

Email me any questions    Email :TheGrapeWizard


Located near Auxerre in the department of Yonne, the Chablis vineyards lie along a little river aptly named the Serein (“serene”). Vines began to growth here during the Romanera. In the 12th century, the Cistercian monks from the abbey of Pontigny developed its cultivation. The AOC Chablis Premier Cru status was created in January 1938, thus confirming the excellent qualities of this dry white wine which, unlike the wines of some other regions, has held its leading place throughout its history thanks to the high quality of its raw material – the Chardonnay grape.

Characteristics of Chablis Premier Cru

White: pale gold in colour

To the nose :

  • Good aging potential (5 or sometimes up to 10 years). Each Climat is unique. do your research.
  • Most wines are well-built and long in the mouth (flavour follows after the palate .
  •  Mineral and tight in youth  or flowery and developing delicate and subtle aromas with age.

The nose is very fresh, lively and mineral with flint, green apple, lemon,

and field mushrooms

Notes of lime-flower, mint, and acacia occur frequently, as do aromas of liquorice and freshly-cut hay.


Age depens the colour and adds a note of spice to the bouquet. On the palate, these aromas retain their freshness for an extended period. Very dry and impeccably delicate, Chablis has a unique and readily recognisable personality.

Production surface area
Chablis : Area under production*:
1 hectare (ha) = 10,000 m²
3,367.28 ha. 3400 internationl rugby fields

Premier Cru : Area under production*:
1 hectare (ha) = 10,000 m²
783.19 ha. 783 international rugby fields

What gives Chablis that minerality !!

Premier Cru:  The main rock formation is Jurassic limestone (specifically, Kimmeridgian limestone)

Origins in Dorset. How beautiful is this !!!

laid down some 150 million years ago. The rock contains deposits of tiny fossilised oyster shells (here’s your minerality)  The most famous Climats are those on the right bank, surrounding the Grand Cru.

Please click the link below for a complete list of all Premier Cru Producers Click to view all Chablis 1er Cru producers

but if you want to look at 3 choices for fabulous Chablis Premier Cru  see below

2010 Chablis Butteaux, Raveneau £ 141.00 Crump Richmond Shaw

2012 Chablis, Fourchaume, 1er Cru, Héritage, Le Domaine d’Henri £43

Berry Bros, London

Cote de Lechet Chablis Premier Cru 2013 £22.49      12 Green Bottles

No one expects 2010 chablis Premier cru for £10. Unfortunately the issue with supply and demand is that price invariably increases as the demand becomes acute.

Look for 2010 premier cru and the smallest vineyard and you are going to pay a high price.

The secret is to look at the GrapeWizard’s Vintage chart and maybe look at the 2nd and third row – see a year and search for a producer. as a guide the following apply

use Wine Searcher

Petit chablis expect to pay £0-15

Chablis expect to pay up to £30 

Premier cru £30-70

Grand Cru £35-£200+

Anything outside this is overpriced or won’t be what you expect. Not worth the effort.  Just enjoy the research and remember your tastes. Its an experience that is supposed to be enjoyable !

Copenhagen : No Danish bacon no Danish Pastries but what an even better find – Copenhagen Distillery

This week was my birthday  and thank you so much for sending me loads of cards !!!! All 3 of them arrived just in time. For everyone else a point to note is 13/08

My better half treated me to a four day trip to Copenhagen and what better way to spend it than allow a bit of business to creep in!!!

Copenhagen lies to the North of Europe and is probably one of the few places where the capital city is detached from the mainland.


In fact if Denmark did Island 🌴 capitals they’d probably do the best in the world 🌎😜.  Only 2 hours on the plane from Heathrow it felt more like a commute to work than a mini holiday

 I was struck by the cleanliness of the airport , of the streets of the appearance and of the whole place. Danes are nothing but facidious.

The 4 day stay at the hotel

courtesy of http://www.greasemusical.dk

Very much corporate in style it was a shame there wasn’t more creature comforts – bijou and basic.  Still I wasn’t here to be Alex Polizzi.

But this was 2 minutes away ………

Nyhavn in Copenhagen, C or Shutterstock

As you can imagine Central Copenhagen is full of tourists and as such offers a varied choice of quality restaurants , however we found some fab places and i would highly recommend them  –  please click on the links below to find out more

A few that was visited were :

The Union Kitchen

In one of Copenhagen’s trendiest districts, Nyhavn, is Union Kitchen, where tattooed employees look like lead singers from rock bands , the colour scheme uber cool grey-on-grey, and the menu is homemade granola and toasted sourdough with cottage cheese, tomato, thyme and olive oil. FAB 5*

Atelier Sept

Atelier September  houses  a café, a boutique and a creative studio.

Chef and creator Frederik Bille serve natural food & artisan coffee, operating for breakfast & lunch as well as late afternoon. The back of the building is used as an artist studio for notable danish designers (Birgitte Due Madsen, Olga Bramsen, Stine Langvad and Jonas Trampedach.) Fab place to be for uber cool breakfasts.



Two former Noma sous-chefs have joined forces and opened the restaurant BROR, which focuses mainly on the Nordic cuisine. Samuel Nutter and Victor Wågman have previously worked at the world-renowned Michelin-star restaurant Noma in Copenhagen. Now they have opened restaurant BROR in the heart of the Danish capital.
The word “bror” means brother in Danish and symbolises care, honesty and respect, which are the exact values that makes the restaurant.

The food is simple but good and is made with ingredients from the Northern European region.

Other places definitely worth a visit

  • Torvehallerne (Frederiksborggade 21) bring the Italian market right to Copenhagen. Find yourself a treat among the numerous food stalls.
  • Papirøen, or Copenhagen Street Food as it bills itself (Trangravsvej 14) offers loads of exotic food choices. Everything from Cuban and Korean to Lebanese and Japanese is in sale here. Stuff your face !!!!

but having enjoed all the healthy food and it was great food

it was time to get down to business !!!

I scoured the capital for a gin producer (as Denmark is too cold to grow grapes ) and found the fabulous Copenhagen distillery just to the southeast of the town centre

2016-11-21 What is next for Copenhagen Distillery 1 ny


 the guy’s ethos is …..

“At Copenhagen Distillery we believe in simplicity and balance. We pay respect to tradition, but it’s through design, experimentation and radical thinking that we propel ourselves into new and uncharted territories. From the distillation and discovery of tantalizing new flavors, to the design of the bottle, the entire experience of enjoying one of our spirits should be a pleasure for both the palate and the eye.”

extract from the www.copenhagendistillery.dk

It is an ethos that can be clearly seen. (As can the height differential between me and the Lead Distiller (Lasse Oznek))



Small distilling tanks used for the production of all their products. This month sees the instillation of  Lasse’s baby. A German produced still (Complete with swans neck !)

Subscribe to the blog to receive updates of the Distilleries development mail the wizard !!

The guys


Sune and Henrik produce an amazing array of products




The distinct coffee liqueur is based on organic Mexican coffee beans. The coffee beans used are a mix of two different roasts: a very light roast that lends a higher acidity, and a medium dark roast that catches slightly bitter coffee notes. When combined the coffee distillates with cane sugar, green anise and a touch of grated organic lemon peel for a rich, bitter and slightly sweet experience.




Borrowing from the process used to develop single malt whiskey, the Oak Gin is rested in small sherry oak casks to allow the combination of juniper, orange peel, and pepper to develop a unique, smooth and balanced flavor.




 Copenhagen Dry Gin is a 100% honey spirit made from double distilled mead. It belongs to a very exclusive category of Single Botanical Gins, where juniper is the only botanical used.




Inspired by the classic, early 20th-century orange gin. Instead of mimicking the gin of the past, its built on the tradition by using a mix of both sweet and bitter oranges. Combined with sweet prune, spicy long pepper, cardamom and juniper for a rich body. Orange Gin is a unique spin on a classic spirit.




Indonesian Long Pepper

Indonesian Long Pepper Snaps is a fusion of the familiar and the exotic. It holds a powerful sweetness, sharp citrus tang and a spicy lingering aftertaste. It can be enjoyed straight, traditionally with a meal, or as a base for a startlingly unique cocktail experience.





A smooth and highly complex Snaps with all the aromas you associate with Christmas. A fine taste of oranges with tones of sweet prunes and cardamom.




Dill Anise Aquavit is an invigorating twist on this classic Scandinavian spirit. With dill as the primary flavor driver, complemented by notes of green anise and lemon peel, the Aquavit has a sharp citrus tang with a lingering aftertaste that is spicy and distinct.

This operation is all about craft and product. Not about brand.

Soon to be released into the UK. Stay tuned for details….

On top of every thing else of being Inventive, creative  uber cool and downright great guys they are now hosting a world first……


SPIRIKUM is the world’s first festival for lovers, makers and drinkers of Snaps and Aquavit.

At Spirikum, there will be spirit producers from all over Scandinavia and USA, who will bring samples of their Snaps and Aquavit.  5 of the best restaurants in Copenhagen making street food, and some of Copenhagen’s best brewers to come and serve their beers.

see the link for more info Spirikum

To sum up my time in Copenhagen it is a place of beauty, a place i didn’t expect

This week I have been very impressed with the experience of Denmark and Copenhagen. People are friendly the place is clean and the lifestyle is super healthy.  Bikes every where and microgreens on every plate. How is this destination not more popular. !!  It’s one of those places you glad you visited not one that was an effort to get to

As you would expect from Denmark 🇩🇰 two of the biggest exports to come from the Danes

are Danish bacon


and Danish pastries.


could i find anyone selling them . nope. How can this be. 🤓

this weeks Music pairing = uber cool 😎


Bellhound Choir


Unstuffy Learning: How to love Chardonnay – Chablis.(2/4)


Chablis vineyard

If you refer to my last post on Petit Chablis you’ll remember ( won’t you ) that Petit Chablis lies on the outskirts of Chablis itself. Not on the best sites, not on the best vistas and certainly not on the most expensive corner of your wallet 😜


Something to help you with !!

Chablis is probably one of the most pretentious topics for wine.

Don’t be put off by all the information, all the jargon its very easy


Chablis is a Chardonnay grape full of ………..

 with a healthy amount of minerality (think of licking these)


Then you have Chablis.

Wine is not a stuffy subject. WE make it that way!!!

Chablis is different from Petit Chablis in that it has minerality (when you were a boy at school you liked the pebbles  or licked your knife at lunch.(i never did and still don’t) For the ladies its the smell tarmac after a downpour on a warm summers day) It has green apples and citrus (limes and /or lemons) SEE ABOVE as its primary characteristic and it is very fresh and crisp


It has very little or no oak influence (contact with the barrels is very very minimal ) So much so it is made in stainless steel tanks (see below)


The Chablis  region is the northernmost wine district of the Burgundy region in France.


The cool climate produces wines with more acidity (refreshing mouth feel ) These wines often have a “flinty” note and sometimes “steely”. The grapevines around the town of Chablis make a dry white wine renowned for the clean aroma and taste directly in opposition to the rest of the white wines in the village,

There is an important process that is present in Chablis but for now it doesn’t really appear in Petit Chablis or Chablis.  Malolactic fermentation will be discussed in parts 3 and 4 of the series. Dont worry it wont be stuffy, pompous or hard to digest !!! But it does describe why Chablis Premier Cru and Chablis Grand Cru have their distinct characteristics

 3 Suggestions for Chablis-

please view thegrapewizard vintage chart for best years for Chablis then search the wonderful internet for a Chablis 2010

The ageing potential of Chablis is for the following from year of vintage

Petit chablis 0-2 1/2 years

Chablis 2-5 years

Chablis Premier Cru 4-8 years

Chablis Grand Cru 8-12 years

Obviously there are some exceptions but as a general rule these should be followed

2010 , 1990 ,
2012, 2005, 2002, 1996, ,1995,
1986,1985,1983, 2004,1994,1993,1982,1979
If you want to try the best years work from the top. If you want to invest – work from the top and you cant go far wrong !

One’s to buy now


Laroche Chablis Saint Martin 2010 £36 


Daniel-Etienne Defaix : Chablis Village “Vieilles Vignes” 2010 £20


Louis Jadot Chablis White Wine 75cl  £16.69


BEST Grape Wizard VINTAGES – Chablis
2010 , 1990 ,
2012, 2005, 2002, 1996, ,1995,
1986,1985,1983, 2004,1994,1993,1982,1979
In order of grape wizard scores (scores taken from wine critics and assesed by myself) to give the best vintages.

Click on the link below for all chablis  producers

Chablis Producers

If in doubt with any wine please click on this link The Grape Wizard. I can tell you anything you need to know. just ask.

One thing that you do need to know about is that in the next two blogs i will be highlighting Premier Cru and Grand Cru. Both these classification have, on the wine labels the area within Chablis. They all vary in flavour and characteristic but Chablis, from one area of the village,  will be consistent from one year to the next. In effect defining an area. I will of course describe this in more detail in later posts !!

If you examine all the points raised above you will be better informed and can make some wise choices. So use the Vintage Chart, use the characteristics when tasting and just experiment with just Chablis for a while. You will gain an understanding of minerality and will appreciate that Chardonnay isnt that bad after all……..


So what you need to know

Chablis is fresh crisp and citrussy with a good hint on minerality.

Pair it with tomatoes, Some Hams

Goes very well with clean white fish (Salmon Bass and Skate) and Shellfish


Music Pairing Bruce Hornsby and the Range




Unstuffy and Chilled !!



Wine and music – don’t laugh, it will enrich you !


A study has shown that people can get 15% more pleasure out of their wines by simultaneously drinking and listening to the right kind of music. (and that’s fabulous news )

Professor Spence of Oxford University discovered that the brain (yes yours, no matter how big or small ) and therefore taste, is influenced by ‘outside’ forces when eating and drinking.

So to make your wine taste better choose your background music wisely.

He found that humans want to match sensations to taste and said the following apply

Malbec works well with instruments like the organ

The Grape Wizard suggests the following Music for Malbec


Mike Oldfield


Prodigo Malbec Honest Grapes £27.20

 Sauvignon Blanc,works well with light white wines and is suitable to listen to harp music.

The Grape Wizard suggests the following Music for S.B


Anne Roos


Greywacke Wines Direct £15.95

  • Sweet wines, such as a Late Harvest Riesling, matches with music with an even rhythm, slow tempo and high pitch yet soft. Piano music is best.
  • Sour wines, like red Italians such as Barbera, correspond with music that has a syncopated rhythm, fast tempo and a high pitch. Brass instruments are good.
  • Fino Sherry and other salty wines are also good with brass instruments but prefer staccato.
  • Wines with fruity aromas such as Beaujolais matches with a high pitch, whereas wines with smokey (Margaux), dark chocolate (Nero d’Avola) or cedar (Bordeaux) match with a low pitch.
  • High tannin wines correspond with rock guitar of chunky, gritty strings and full bodied wines match with a symphonic orchestra.

The Grape Wizard suggests the following Music for high tannin wines


Foo Fighters


Nebbiolo Lea and Sandeman £12.75


Sound can also entirely change the taste and texture of the wine. For example, if you listen to powerful and heavy music, this will make the wine taste more powerful and heavy, or if you listen to mellow and soft music, the taste of the wine will correspond.

He also found ;

  • Wines with a strong orange aroma such as Sauternes, correspond with music that is bright, sharp and dynamic. A rhythm that is lively and fast. Think Bieber
  • Vanilla flavours, such as American-oaked Chardonnay match with music with a soft even rhythm and a slow tempo. Sting

Charles Spence explaining his theories at Google UK Sept 2015. Have a look !!


You can even match wine to musical genres…

See if you agree :

Rock n’ roll  is Cabernet Sauvignon = host of styles and quality,  but when its good its really good. Chuck berry is favourite



Inglenook Cab. Sauvignon 2009 £93

Jazz is Cabernet Franc. Roy Ayers



Ricitelli Cabernet Franc Great Wines Direct £27.60

Gamay and Electro just work.  Gamay is sharp, funky, fresh. It’s the aperitif to the main course  Bonobo



Moulin a vent Fraziers Wine Merchants £19.99

“Moscato is like pop music. Sweet as honey and straight forward. Ellie Goulding


I could talk this week about a different wine,  a different region or even a different grape variety but I think its important to have the bigger picture in front of you .

Enjoying wine is not just about trying the 20 point test that most individuals in the wine industry are programmed to learn characteristic by characteristic.

Available on request ( just seeing if you are reading this !!!)

What is important is to surround your self with the appreciation of wine (what ever the cost) and enrich the moment irrespective of value.

Expensive watches and expensive cars are trappings of perceived success and cannot be savoured over a good wine and good music (no they cant ! ) wine can enrich the moment……. but wine with music is a different kettle of fish


“a kettle of fish “

once you have this right your life is complete

Have the right mood and you appreciate the right music. Which is why we listen to relaxing melancholy music when we want to chill out and upbeat modern music when we want to exercise.

I was laughed at by my peers a few years ago for daring to suggest wine and music in the same sentence and yet here i am.

If you have looked at my blog over the last 10 weeks you would of noticed that at the end of every blog I add a music pairing , some cool , some on trend, some even out of fashion  but all recommendations can be enjoyed in the moment with the right wine.

But after all of this you know what I’m going to say. Either you believer this or you don’t.

If you look at the very notion of pairing wine with the Lunar Calendar and listening to suitably paired music and you agree with it and then put this in context with wine then………

Then you must have a Zen moment. Things are in sync. and the wine music pairing works.

Trust me I’m a dog !


Only you will know if only you will try

Go on be a devil !!!

Do you believe music can be paired with wine to enhance the experience ?

Please click on link ABOVE  to take part in the poll

As a treat here’s this week overall  music pairing in video format from a discovery this week – enjoy


Enjoy life, enjoy the moment but above all enjoy the wine !