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 !

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 !!