Tasting Group: Chablis



By Kori ~ May 4th, 2010.

Since we live in Washington State and often drink wines from Washington State, we want to make sure that we continue to hone our knowledge of the entire world of wine and maintain well-rounded palates in order to make us even more objective when we evaluate wines from Washington State. Therefore, we are thoroughly enjoying our Wine Peeps Tasting Group which includes what we think is an excellent peer group of knowledgeable wine lovers to taste, share, and learn more about wine together. Unlike our monthly wine tasting dinners in which the guests rotate, this tasting group includes people who are committed to getting together once a month which we believe benefits all of us. In addition to trying varieties and regions that we do not taste frequently, the other main difference between this group and our wine tasting dinners is that each group member brings a bottle consistent with the month’s theme so no one knows all the wines in the blind tasting.

Last week, we met for the fourth time and explored Chablis. Chablis is the northernmost wine district in the Burgundy region of France. All Chablis is produced from the Chardonnay grape. Chablis is characterized by racy, green apple-like acidity, pronounced minerality, and much less oak than many New World Chardonnays and other white wines from Burgundy. Chablis can benefit from some bottle age and are some of the longest living examples of Chardonnay. There are four different levels of classification within Chablis. The top classification includes the Grand Cru vineyards, followed by the Premier Cru vineyards, then the generic AOC Chablis, and finally at the bottom end of the classification is Petit Chablis. Make no mistake; if a wine bottle (or box) says “Chablis” but does not come from the Chablis region of France, it is not really Chablis. Fortunately, in recent years, the practice of using place names as generic wine terms has decreased.

We tasted nine wines, and the consensus favorite was the 2006 Domaine William Fevre Chablis. It was the overwhelming favorite, receiving six out of seven first-place votes and one second-place vote. Interestingly, the consensus second-place wine was also from William Fevre, the 2006 William Fevre Chablis Premier Cru Fourchaume. We found this particularly interesting because given the same producer and the same vintage, a Premier Cru would be expected to be better than an AOC Chablis.

Historically, I have not been a big Chardonnay fan; however, I thoroughly enjoyed this Chablis tasting. The no or minimal oak and racy acidity in Chablis was a welcome change from so many flabby, overoaked New World Chardonnays. If you consider yourself an ABC (Anything But Chardonnay) wine drinker, I encourage you to give Chablis a try. It might just change your mind about the variety.

From 1st to last in the group consensus rankings:

2006 Domaine William Fevre Chablis (Chablis, Burgundy, France): Pale, greenish straw yellow. Very aromatic with apple and briney aromas on the nose; green apple, hint of vanilla, and steely flavors on the palate. Medium-bodied with racy acidity yet also smooth and a long finish. A quintessential Chablis. Would be great with food.
Quality: 4.5 stars (out of five)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Pete’s Wine Shop (Bellevue, Washington), $27.99; Available elsewhere, $22 to $38

2006 William Fevre Chablis Premier Cru Fourchaume (Fourchaume, Chablis, Burgundy, France): Pale, greenish yellow. A lot of minerality on both the nose and palate. Hints of green apple as well. Medium-bodied with crisp acidity and a long finish. Clean and fresh with good balance.
Quality: 4 stars (out of five)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Pete’s Wine Shop (Bellevue, Washington), $46.69; Available elsewhere, $34 to $66

2007 Domaine Servin Chablis Premiere Cuvee Les Pargues (Chablis, Burgundy, France): Pale, greenish yellow gold. Aromatic with minerality and flinty aromas and flavors. Citrus, particularly lime, come through on the palate as well. Medium-bodied with zingy, tart acidity and a long finish. Good balance.
Quality: 4 stars (out of five)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Fred Meyer (Seattle, Washington), $22.99; Available elsewhere, $19 to $25

2005 Olivier Leflaive Chablis Premier Cru Fourchaume (Fourchaume, Chablis, Burgundy, France): Pale, greenish yellow gold. Aromas of oak and butter on the nose; minerality and flinty flavors on the palate. Medium-bodied with lively acidity and a long finish. Very different from the others in the group, seemed more New World in style.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of five)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Available from various retailers, $39

2007 Domaine Vrignaud Chablis Premier Cru Fourchaume (Fourchaume, Chablis, Burgundy, France): Pale, greenish yellow. Gravel, dust, minerality, and a hint of apple on the nose; apple, pear, vanilla, citrus, smoke, and flint on the palate. Medium-bodied with crisp acidity and a long finish.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of five)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Garagiste (Seattle, Washington), $25.69

2008 Gerard Tremblay Chablis (Chablis, Burgundy, France): Pale, greenish straw yellow. Aromas of lemon and yeast lead to flavors of Granny Smith apple, lemon, and a hint of banana. Medium-bodied with crisp, almost tart, acidity and a long finish.
Quality: 3 stars (out of five)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: QFC-University Village (Seattle, Washington), $21.99; Available elsewhere, $17

2006 Olivier Leflaive Chablis Les Deux Rives (Chablis, Burgundy, France): Greenish, straw yellow, almost watery. Nose is a bit tight at first. Minerality and a hint of mint on the palate. Medium-bodied with crisp acidity and a long finish.
Quality: 3 stars (out of five)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Pete’s Wine Shop (Bellevue, Washington), $23.39; Available elsewhere, $17 to $26

2007 Domaine Louis Moreau Chablis (Chablis, Burgundy, France): Very pale, greenish yellow. Granny Smith apple and steely aromas and flavors. Medium-bodied with tart acidity and a long finish.
Quality: 3 stars (out of five)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Available from various retailers, $26

2006 Domaine Nathalie & Gilles Fevre Chablis (Chablis, Burgundy, France): Pale, greenish straw yellow. Apple, melon, and briney aromas and flavors. Medium-bodied with lively acidity and a long finish. Watery viscosity and a bit flabby.
Quality: 2.5 stars (out of five)
QPR: NR (not recommended)
Where to buy: QFC-University Village (Seattle, Washington), $25.99; Available elsewhere, $25


Filed under: Chardonnay, Five-Bangs For Your Buck Wines, French Wine, Tasting Group, White Wine, Wines NOT To Buy (1 & 2 Star), Wines Over $25, Wines Under $25

Reader's Comments

  1. Jared | May 4th, 2010 at 10:46 am

    Kori and the gang,
    Thanks for the tasting report on Chablis. I’ve grown extremely fond of chablis and they style of chardonnay produced there. I’m not in the camp that enjoys buttery/popcorny chardonnay so chablis has been a revelation for me. You guys certainly did a good job of covering your bases regarding producers and styles. Fevre makes a terrific $18 chablis called “Champs Royaux.” Also, seek out Daniel Dampt’s premier cu chablis from the Cote de Lechet area. It’s around $27 and fantastic. Of course if you get a chance to drink some Dauvissat, don’t pass that up. The Dauvissat 07 La Forest was downright filthy — in a good way!

  2. Kori | May 4th, 2010 at 9:16 pm

    Jared,
    I completely agree. Chablis was a revelation to me for the exact same reasons. Thanks so much for the additional recommendations. I look forward to checking them out. Cheers!

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