Chardonnay : Chablis Grand Cru Lesson 4/4

The pinnacle of the Chablis application is that of the Grand Crus. Just one hillside NorthEast of Paris show 7 plots of land on the hillside highlighting Chardonnay in all its glory.


Chablis Grand Crus (105 Hectares or 105 Rugby fields )



In recent years Chablis has endured a mixed love affair with its consumers. The 80’s and 90’s in Australia and USA put paid to the fact that over oaked whites was the way ahead. Little did those two countries realise that the image of that time was to stay until this very day. Most consumers still think there is a link between those days of big oak and the present day. As a result chardonnay is perceived as the least liked grape. Some of the best white wines are chardonnays as they offer diversity balance and elegance.  Chardonnay cannot be ignored !

So in the last of 4 parts. Chablis Grand Cru is explained.

Chablis Grand Cru

The Chablis Grand Cru appellation comprises seven Climats(or areas) :

Blanchot, Bougros, Les Clos, Grenouilles, Preuses, Valmur, and Vaudésir.

It is mainly produced in the village of Chablis, but also at Fyé and Poinchy.


A greenish-gold appearance and with age changes to a light yellow. Can keep for 10 to 15 years, One the nose, the mineral aromas of flint


are intense. They nonetheless give way to linden




a hint of honey


and almonds.


The Fairy Ring or mousseron mushroom aroma


is a typical touch.

On the palate, the balance is perfect between liveliness and body, encapsulating the charm of an inimitable and authentic wine. The jewel in the crown of Chablis is a wine rich in nuances that finds expression through each individual area.


Chablis Grand Cru can be found in the commune of Chablis and on the right bank of the Serein, the little river which runs through the region to the northeast of the village, and is at an elevation of between 100 and 250 meters. Enjoying an excellent sunny location, the Chablis Grand Cru appellation is unique. It is spread over seven Climats, whose names feature on the labels, each with a distinct character as the Chardonnay demonstrates its wonderful variations:

Blanchot, Bougros, Les Clos, Grenouilles, Preuses, Valmur and Vaudésir.


The terroirs, formed in the Upper Jurassic era, (150 million years ago), are composed of limestone and marl with tiny oyster fossils. Chablis Grand Cru is one of the rare French AOC wines to make reference to its geology, notably the Kimmeridgian age. The origins of which are in the Dorset villige of Kimmeridge

Map a9 copy

In Burgundy each Grand Cru vineyard has its own appellation. In Chablis Grand Cru there is only one vineyard but 7 plots

The total production surface area is 105.79 Ha

Area in production*:
1 hectare (ha) = 10,000 m² or 1 HA is 1x Internationally sized rugby field

Total area = 105.79 ha.
Blanchot: 12.39 ha.               12 x Rugby fields
Bougros: 15.79 ha.                15 x Rugby fields
Les Clos: 28.39 ha.                28 x Rugby fields
Grenouilles: 9.38 ha.           9 x Rugby fields
Preuses: 11.43 ha.                11 x  Rugby fields
Valmur: 11.04 ha.                  11 x Rugby fields
VaudĂ©sir: 14.49 ha.               14 x Rugby fields 


Characteristics : Delicate and floral white flowers with little or no oak (especially Benoit Droin) SE Grand Cru location with a steep slope on white soil. Its setting makes it well positioned for good air flow and the sun is lost mid afternoon making it a cooler site than the other 6. This makes the wine have more finesse rather than power  Typical characteristics is White flowers


some producers don’t use wood (Benoit Droin) and some producers use Blanchot as the only Cru to mature in Oak (although very small in numbers )


 Lower on the slope and therefore more at risk of frost.  NW location of the Grand Crus. The character is Big soft and round. Only Fevre’s Cote de Bougerots shows minerality

 of chablis . as the rest are too low on the slope and can be unpredictable.

Les Clos

arguably the finest of the 7 areas. Situated on the right of the vineyard. Those vines at the bottom of the Les Clos plot are situated in deeper earth than this at the top of Les Clos. This results in fatter wines. Firm and austere racy minerality elegant

Les grenouilles.

Situated next to the road that runs at the base of the grand crus part of the steep slope of grenouilles plateaus out. This is where there is deeper soil. It is this deep soil that wines are richer and heavier as opposed to the mineral wines on the slope

Les Preuses

Sits above bougros on a gentle slope  and deeper topsoil, has fractured rock formation so has good drainage . Wines are not that aromatic but do age well .. Preuses is not an area different from all the others  it sits in the shadow of Vaudesir (especially the producer Dauvissat) Some areas retain heat better than other whilst the rest is on a lower slope and as a result is at risk of Frost



space between grenouilles and les Clos . The climate is important here. It beciomes very hot in the summer and very cold in the winter . This is because it sits in a valley and the cool air cannot dissapate. The reult is less aroma but with more body


The valley is enclosed with little air circulation  so intense summer heat   but it is more elegant and more floral than others. It is regard as second best (behind Les Clos.) Always retaining there minerality and the intense richness of fruit

2010 , 1990 ,
2012, 2005, 2002, 1996, ,1995,
1986,1985,1983, 2004,1994,1993,1982,1979

10791Pinson 2010 ,Chardonnay ÂŁ45 each Berry Bros


2012 Chanson, ÂŁ50 each Millesima


(label representative of producer)

Ravenau 1990 Chablis Grand Crus $1350 Rare wine Company

Every wine critic has there favourite plot not down to exclusivity or price or demand from consumers. But from the mere fact that each plot has different characteristics it is for the consumer to choose. Go for what you like and let people know what you want. Don’t stand on ceremony don’t feel like you are acting like a fool. Passionate people want to help you they don’t want to ridicule you. Embrace people’s desire to make you learn. Without it you won’t enjoy it as much. Go for it. !!!

Any questions please email me. contact thegrapewizard !

See list below for producers in Chablis

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