France - Chablis
The Chablis region is the northernmost wine district of Burgundy, lying about 10 miles east of Auxerre in the Yonne, situated roughly halfway between the Côte d’Or and Paris. Of France’s wine-growing areas, only Champagne and Alsace have a more northerly location. Chablis is closer to the southern Aube district of Champagne than the rest of Burgundy.
The region extends 9 miles by 12 miles across along the Serein river. The soil is Kimmeridge clay with outcrops of the same chalk layer that extends from Sancerre up to the White Cliffs of Dover. The Grand Crus, the best vineyards in the area, all lie on a single, small slope, facing southwest and located just north of the town of Chablis
In Chablis the Chardonnay grape reaches heights of finesse and cleanness rarely, if ever, achieved elsewhere in the world – or even Burgundy. The cool climate of this region produces wines with more crispness, fruit less dominant and flavours less upfront than Chardonnay wines grown in warmer climates – to the south in Burgundy or beyond.
Chablis is noted for its non-use of oak; or when it is used, it should remain hardly noticed in the background. Many Grand Cru and Premier Cru wines may receive some maturation in oak barrels, but typically the time in barrel and the proportion of new barrels is much smaller than for white wines of Côte de Beaune.