Chardonnay? Chablis! The white grape grown all over the world, fell from grace in the UK partly due to an abundance of tropical fruit driven, over oaked styles.
Known as ‘cougar juice’ in some circles, the TV programme, Footballer’s Wives sealed Chardonnay’s fate and the ABC (anything but Chardonnay) anti-fashion began.
However, one of the most popular wines in the UK is Chablis.
A single varietal Chardonnay from northern Burgundy in France, it has four quality levels:
Chablis Grand Cru AC is from just 7 vineyards on one hillside across the river from the town of the same name. They include Les Clos and Vaudesir as well as ‘the 8th Grand Cru’ La Moutonne by Albert Bichot. Complex and elegant, Grand Cru can age for years, developing roundness and light spice, with flinty, mineral notes. Never cheap, Grand Cru is worth splashing out on for special suppers and is always a welcome present for wine lovers.
Chablis Premier Cru AC can come from 40 vineyards. The best known names are Vaillons and Fourchaume. Full and satisfying in the mouth, Premier Cru can often be good value and has enough body for food.
Chablis AC has a crisp, green fruit character and distinctive, mouth watering finish. Chablis is the perfect aperitif wine and is delicious with crisps and tapas. Independent merchants usually have interesting Chablis to explore. See excellent London shops Roberson and The Sampler for exciting ranges.
There is also Petit Chablis AC from lesser sites.
To read more about Burgundy see the region’s official wine website.
(photo – Susan NYC / Flickr Creative Commons)