About Me
I'm a Melbourne boy, hailing from St Kilda with one ex, one current wife and four kids. Love the outdoors and making new discoveries. I cook a lot at home (cheers from wife) and do some preserving, mostly jams, pickles and fruit liqueurs. This is the diary of a cooking journey.

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Friday, December 01, 2006
Chablis
Chardonnay is one of those grapes that has a variety of expressions and also takes on the characteristics of wherever it's grown. In Australia, with our for the most part warm climate, chardonnay gets exceptionally ripe and allied with our propensity for malolactic fermentation, produces wines with nuttiness and butterscotch flavours.

In the spiritual home of this grape, Burgundy in France, they produce wines of immense power and presence that have a peacocks tail, that is the flavours fan out in your mouth, exploding on every taste bud, but because it is generally cooler, there is always a good acid spine that gives great length. Chardonnay from Burgundy is always, at the top level, majestic.

If you go further north to the Champagne region, again chardonnay takes on a whole other personality, producing a wine that is stripped right down for fruit and with spine tingling acidity to which the vignerons add bubbles to make a wine like no other. That a wine can be so austere yet be the epitomy of generosity is the result of an amazing alchemy.

Between these two classic wine appellations is another region that is producing a unique expression of chardonnay and that place is Chablis. Here the fruit again takes on a different character. Being about halfway between Burgundy and Champagne means it has key characteristics of both regions, but there is one thing that distinguishes this area and makes its wines totally unique, and that is its geology.


Cool climate vineyards need exceptional conditions to succeed. Chablis lies 160 kilometres north of Beaune and is therefore nearer to Champagne than the rest of Burgundy. Geology is its secret: the outcrop of the rim of a great submerged basin of limestone. The far rim, across the English Channel in Dorset, gives its name, Kimmeridge, to this unique pudding of pre- historic oyster shells. Oysters and chablis, it seems, have been related since creation.
HUGH JOHNSON, World Atlas of Wine


What this bed of limestone appears to confer on Chablis wines is an intense minerality, coupled with the cooler climate, produces wines of singular apparent austerity, which on closer examination have a certain richness and flintiness that is straining to be unleashed. Wines from here are a marvelous expression of chardonnay and a bottle of Grand Cru wine can easily live for twenty years, gaining complexity and releasing more of the uniqueness of the chardonnay grape.

This weekend there is a free tasting of Chablis from the 2004 vintage which is considered to be a classic vintage for this region. It's at the Prince Wine Store and features wines from Raveneau, William Fevre, Denis Pommier, Billaud Simon and Defaix. Just to make it that little bit more enticing, there are also wines from the 2004 Burgundy vintage, featuring producers such as Gerard Raphet, Maurice Ecard, Nicolas Potel, and newcomer Thierry Beaumont.

Prince Wine Store, 177 Bank Street, South Melbourne, 12.00 till 2.00 p.m., Saturday, 2nd December
 
  posted at 8:12 am
  4 comments



4 Comments:
At 1:29 pm, Anonymous Tanna said...

Have a glass for me.

 
At 2:08 pm, Blogger neil said...

Hi tanna, that will probably be two or three or...

 
At 10:47 pm, Blogger Jeanne said...

Isn't it astonishing to taste chablis for the first time when you've grown up on New World chardonnays?? I could hardly believe it was the same grape! What astounds me is the number of people over here in the UK who profess to detest chardonnay but love chablis...

 
At 3:33 pm, Blogger neil said...

Hi jeanne, astonishing is right, it tastes more like a great reisling than anything else. I love the stuff.

 

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