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Good and great from Chablis, from petit to grand cru

“No thanks, not Chardonnay, but yes please, a glass of chablis”

The wine producers in Chablis love the Swedes and the Swedes love Chablis. So it is. Eight percent of the production in Chablis is gobbled up in a Swedish home, in the sailboat, on the beach or on a picnic. Although the wine producer himself may have a moderate interest in geography, Sweden has, thanks to its annual consumption of 1.6 million bottles of chablis, is stuck on the map. We come in fourth place after England, USA and Japan. Chablis is never unfashionable. Chablis is perhaps never fashionable either but it is an obvious feature of the dietary circle.

Chablis as a sub-district is also very easy to understand. A single district and a single grape variety, simply divided into four groups:

  • petit chablis,
  • chablis,
  • chablis premier cru, and
  • chablis grand cru

From inexpensive and good to more expensive and incredibly delicious. Chablis, of course, belongs to Burgundy but with its mineral crunchiness it is a good distance away from, for example, Côte de Beaune and very much further from, for example, Chile. If one is allowed to generalize a little. A person may dislike Chardonnay from some parts of the world but love the wines of Chablis.

Tasting chablis

Tasting chablis, copyright SO Johansson

Sopexa’s master class with Chablis as a theme was a well-executed exercise. Everyone who regularly attends lectures knows the difference between when you continually sneak a peek on your mobile and when you keep watching. Michel Jamai’s presentation of Chablis was a perfect mix of basic knowledge, preparation, pace and a proper element of personal reflection. We tasted ten wines with no more red thread than the differences from petit chablis up to grand cru. Impressions are of course highly personal, but it was easy to get stuck for some of the wines.

First out was the well-known workhorse La Chablisienne with a Chablisienne Petit Chablis 2017. Easy-going, fresh but rather sprawling and with immature green tones, nettles and a taste that did not give an immediate connection to the district.

The next petit chablis, Domaine Guy Robin Petit Chablis, was a positive surprise. A wonderfully rich nose with some weight and depth. A nice body and powerful feeling for a petit chablis. Unfortunately without a Swedish importer.

Tasting chablis

Tasting chablis, copyright SO Johansson

Domaine Daniel Séguinot et Filles is also not represented. They showed a fine Domaine Séguinot & Filles Chablis 2016. Carefully elegant nose, young, energetic and with a style of steel tank. Pleasantly soft with clear provenance and a long, comfortable acidity. Really gorgeous.

Thankfully there is an importer for William Fèvre Premier Cru Beauroy 2015. A nose of rain on limestone soil, sharp mineral tones and full mouth-feeling. Nice body, high acidity and wonderful length. Quite shy in the beginning, but I venture a guess that it will be a lot better in some years.

The wine Domaine Sébastien Dampt Premier Cru Beugnons 2014 was equally delicious. South-east facing slope, cement egg and 10-12 months on the lees. Will certainly win a lot on more ageing but it is a delicious wine already. A solid body, rich, round and with minerality in heaps. Unfortunately, I cannot find the wine at Systembolaget, nor on the importer’s poor website either. Had the order button been reasonably easy to find I would have clicked on it.

Tasting chablis

Tasting chablis, copyright SO Johansson

Instead I go on to Louis Moreau Grand Cru Valmur 2015. At the importer’s website, SpringWine, it takes thirty seconds to find the producer and the price, but unfortunately the tasted bottle was not available. Should you stumble upon a bottle, you have a most pleasant experience to look forward to. Intense, massive nose with crackling minerality and lots of details. Elegant but solid mouthfeel, rich and amazingly delicious, but it does ask for additional ageing.

There is a lot of Chablis at Systembolaget. Obviously, there is a lot missing too, but through online merchants, such as Caviste, some exciting things can be found and ordering via the importers’ or online wine merchants’ website is, sometimes, very simple. In addition, the top wines from the district are surprisingly cheap compared to the rest of Burgundy. As usual, most of the wines are sold a little bit too young, but buy a couple of bottles extra next time. Put in the cellar, forget about it and enjoy the results in a few years.

Please visit chablis-wines.com for more information.

Sven-Olof Johansson is a wine enthusiast in Stockholm with a long history of wine tasting experiences.

This post is also available in: Swedish

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