Chardonnay : Chablis Premier cru (1er) lesson 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 !

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